Double podium for Action Express Racing at Road America

Burt Frisselle: “Christian and I really threw the team a curve-ball and Elton (Sawyer) and Ian (Watt) really hit it out the park.”

Elkhart Lake, Wis. – Action Express Racing continued to show strength in GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competition with a double-podium result as the two-car team finished second and third in the Sports Car 250 on Saturday.

The No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi scored their fourth podium finish in the last five races with a run to second place, while the sister No. 9 Corvette DP of Burt and Brian Frisselle broke a string of bad luck to score the duo’s first podium of the season.

Second place Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa, third place Burt Frisselle, Brian Frisselle
Second place Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa, third place Burt Frisselle, Brian Frisselle

Photo by: General Motors

The strong team result was all the more impressive after the Road America race didn’t get off to the start that the team had been looking for. An early flat-spotted tire for the No. 5 forced Fittipaldi in for an early and off-strategy pit stop, with a second stop for fuel seeing the car not taking on the full allotment of Sunoco race fuel. The sister No. 9 also had to pit early for a new set of Continental Tires after also flat spotting early in Burt Frisselle’s stint.

But the team made quick adaption to employ a different pit strategy and strong pit stop execution to give the drivers the chance to make up ground and be in a strong position at the finish. A final 12 lap run of green flag running saw both Action Express Racing Corvette DP machines hold off the charges of multiple competitors to come home second and third.

The race provided a healthy harvest of championship points as the team sharpens the focus on a run for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship in the final three rounds of the season, starting with next Saturday’s Kansas 250 as GRAND-AM stages its inaugural event at Kansas Speedway.

Christian Fittipaldi (No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP - 2nd place): "It was definitely a strong points day for us. Unfortunately I flat-spotted one of the tires and had to come in a little bit early. But when the whole thing cycled through again we were okay on fuel. I am really happy for the points and for the team. I am also very happy for the No. 9 guys. They have been working so hard all season and they really deserved this podium before this race, but unfortunately it only happened today. Brian drove extremely well in the end of the race. Now I am ready to move onto Kansas and continue doing what we are doing."

Joao Barbosa (No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP - 2nd place): "It is just a great day for Action Express Racing with second and third place. We had a rough start with a couple of problems in the beginning. We had to make an earlier pit stop than we had planned but it payed off at the end when we were the first ones to stop before the yellow came out. It was just a great result. We didn't have the fastest car but we just kept executing with excellent pit stops and this a great result for us."

Burt Frisselle (No. 9 Action Express Corvette DP - 3rd place): "We have been knocking on this door for a while. We felt like we should have been up there at Mid-Ohio, and then again at the Glen. So it was great to have the luck go the opposite way for us today! I felt at the beginning like I just ruined the race by flat-spotting a tire. But then I saw Christian did the exact same thing and came down the pit in front of me so I felt terrible because both cars hurt their luck with a tire. And then the luck really came our way. Christian and I really threw the team a curve-ball and (engineers) Elton (Sawyer) and Ian (Watt) really hit it out the park. They got Brian and Joao the track position and the rest is history."

Brian Frisselle (No. 9 Action Express Corvette DP - 3rd place): "I am just so happy we finally got this. Burt has been driving great all year and I feel like I have been driving well all year. This whole team deserved this podium, especially the guys in the No. 9 car, Elton, really just everyone involved really deserved it. We have all been working so hard for it and it feels good. We finally got a good break this time, it was really nice to get that good break at the end and we capitalized on it.

The end was really tough. My car went through some major balance changes and I was just sliding like crazy at the end and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hold off the No. 99 car because he was quick. I felt I gave him enough room, I'll have to talk to him about it. I respect him a lot and I want to make sure I race him cleanly, but you have to make it hard at the end. You can't make it easy and I tried not to."

Gary Nelson, Team Manager: "We got out of sync with the rest of the field and when that happens you spend a lot of time in the back not being noticed. But the whole time we were in the back we were gaining ground. We were able to have a quick pit stop and put in just enough gas to get to the end. Then the others hadn't stopped when the yellow came out. So the only car that stayed out was the No. 8 car that beat us and everyone else pitted and the rest is history. We made it to the end and got two on the podium."

Bob Johnson, Team Owner: "You just never know. We keep doing what we do best which is working as a great team together. Everyone did a phenomenal job, these guys up top called a phenomenal race. Everything went very well and I couldn't be more pleased."

Next race: Kansas Speedway 250 Saturday, August 17 LIVE Fox Sports 2 8:00 PM ET.

Action Express Racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Joao Barbosa , Burt Frisselle , Brian Frisselle
Teams Action Express Racing
Article type Race report
Tags barbosa, chevrolet, corvette dp, fittipaldi, frisselle, grandam, road america