Point leader Doran-Lista Racing returns to the Glen with a score to settle LEBANON, Ohio, July 31 - It'll be different this time. Doran-Lista Racing has been enjoying a stellar year this season so far with only one exception: Watkins...
Point leader Doran-Lista Racing returns to the Glen with a score to settle
LEBANON, Ohio, July 31 - It'll be different this time.
Doran-Lista Racing has been enjoying a stellar year this season so far with only one exception: Watkins Glen.
The Lebanon, Ohio-based team has led the point standings in the premier class, Sports Racing Prototype, of the Grand American Road Racing Association's Rolex Series since February when it won the most prestigious sports car endurance race in North America, the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway.
It was flawless at the Miami Grand Prix and the Rolex 400 at California Speedway too, winning both. Second-place finishes were recorded at Phoenix and at the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona.
The team was fourth in its first visit to the Glen in upstate New York this year. Some teams would be ecstatic with such a great finish, but when the Doran-Lista team developed some teething problems with its new five-liter Judd engine and spent a great deal of time in the pits, the team members left feeling that they hadn't been able to show everyone their best.
Usually teams have to wait an entire year to try again, but this season there are two races at the Glen on the Grand-Am Rolex Series schedule, the second coming Aug. 8-9. That gives the Doran-Lista team another chance to improve on its earlier visit to the Glen and show those in attendance why it's leading the point standings.
The trouble-maker in the first race at the Glen this year turned out to be an engine-mapping problem. Finding a solution was elusive that day, but after team manager Kevin Doran and his staff and the engine preparer, Judd, went over the data after the race, the problem was solved with a few computer keystrokes.
In the one race between the two Watkins Glen events there was no sign of the problem and the team continued to develop the engine, consistent with its practice of always being on the cutting edge. After winning the pole for the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona in early July and leading part of the race, the team finished a strong second in that event, which like this return trip to the Glen also preceded a NASCAR Winston Cup race.
The Aug. 8-9 race at the Glen, the Bully Hill Vineyards 250, is a 250-mile/2.5-hour event, much shorter than the six-hour enduro held here in June. It will be broadcast on SPEED Channel at 1 p.m. ET Aug. 11, and then rebroadcast that same night at 8 p.m. ET and again at 1 a.m. ET Aug. 12.
Didier Theys, who leads the SRP driver point standings by 13 points over Chris Dyson and 15 points over James Weaver, will be joined behind the wheel of the Doran-Lista Dallara Judd #27 by Fredy Lienhard Jr. at the Glen. Lienhard Jr. is sixth in the points, just behind fellow teammate Mauro Baldi, while his father, Fredy Lienhard Sr., is 13th.
The Doran-Lista team is nine points ahead of the Dyson #16 team in the overall team point standings, 199 to 190, with Intersport Racing third with 94 points.
The Bully Hill Vineyards 250 is slated to be run on the Glen's short course rather than its long course. Both Theys and Lienhard Jr. prefer the long course, but they both love the Glen so they aren't complaining.
The race is also much shorter than the enduros that are the hallmark of this type of racing. Lienhard Jr., a rookie, says that translates into more pressure on everyone.
"For sure, a sprint race forgives fewer mistakes," he said. "If you want to win, there's no margin for error. Losing two seconds could mean losing the lead. You could end up at the finish line with only a few seconds between the top two cars, and then you think how easy you could have made up those seconds somewhere on the course. In a sprint race, there's just no room for error."
After the race at the Glen only three more events will remain: the VIR Six-Hour at Virginia Int'l Raceway in Alton, Va., Aug. 29-Sept. 1; the Mont-Tremblant 1000K at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada on Sept. 13-15; and the Grand-Am Finale back at Daytona Beach, Fla. Nov. 8-10.
For more information on the Grand Am Rolex Series, see www.grand-am.com. For more information on the team, see www.doranracing.com; www.lista.com and www.restartcommunications.com.