Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
GRAND-AM Cooldown Lap: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Alex Gurney took advantage of a rare miscue by Scott Pruett, beating him out of the pits on their final stops on Lap 80 after Pruett slightly overshot his pit. Gurney then held off the Daytona Prototype championship leader for the final 28 circuits, winning by 0.431 seconds.
Gurney and Jon Fogarty broke a 10-race winless streak in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley of the season, dating back to last year’s event at New Jersey Motorsports Park when Gurney passed Pruett heading to the white flag. Gurney and Fogarty also won the most recent Rolex Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2009, their second DP championship season.
I couldn’t get it ‘whoaed’ up in time.
Ricky Taylor captured his fourth consecutive pole position in the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet/Dallara and combined with Max Angelelli to lead a race-high 57 laps. Angelelli took third from Starworks Motorsport driver Ryan Dalziel in the closing laps for the second consecutive event.
Leh Keen and Andrew Davis captured their second GT victory of the season in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche GT3 Cup, taking the lead in the championship in the process.
Bill Lester and Jordan Taylor entered the event with a four-point lead. Taylor lost a lap on a pit stop when the team attempted to fix the brake lights on the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Keen and Davis now lead the championship by 10 points (222-212).
SpeedSource took the remaining GT podium positions. Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato took second in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8, followed by Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 70 Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8.
Ryan Dalziel drove nearly the entire event. After starting Starworks Motorsport’s No. 2 Porsche/Riley, he turned that car over to Alex Popow and then relieved Mike Forest in the team’s No. 8 Ford/Riley. Dalziel ran as high as second in the closing laps and finished fourth.
James Davison led seven laps in the No. 23 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Dallara, and was a contender until flat-spotting a tire and damaging the suspension.
After qualifying on the front row for the second consecutive week, Wayne Nonnamaker was in contention for a podium finish with John Edwards in the No. 42 Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8 before a cut oil line led to a spin and a long time off course for repairs.
Raphael Matos led a lap in his first race with Turner Motorsport. He finished eighth, keeping Paul Dalla Lana third in the championship.
While the Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet/Coyote struggled throughout the weekend with mechanical problems and fell several laps down in the early going, Antonio Garcia ran the fastest lap of the race late in the event, 1:21.030 (99.430 mph).
“We were struggling earlier this season, and this is a great culmination of our work. Our car came in really good at the end of the race. I spent most of my race trying to chase down Scott. Then we had our stop and they had their problem. I was really hooked up at the end of the race, and I had clear sailing at the end. This is a great place for us to win. Both being California boys, this is as good as it gets.” – Alex Gurney, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley
“It feels real good to be here (in first place), and now we’re going to do everything we can to stay here.” – Jon Fogarty, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley
“I couldn’t get it ‘whoaed’ up in time. I was on and off the brakes again and again, but it just wouldn’t stop in time. Both Alex and I were giving it 110 percent at the end. We were both running strong. It was one of those races that we both wanted to win.” – Scott Pruett, No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley
“That was the best view of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that I’ve had, running in the lead for the longest time. I didn’t mind the view in the rear-view mirror, either. The guys did an awesome job to have the car running perfectly. We’ve got a strong car.” – Andrew Davis, No. 59 Brumos Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
“We lost our brake lights and had to pit. When they couldn’t fix them, I drove the rest of the race turning on my rain light every time I hit the brakes to let the people know I was braking.” Jordan Taylor, No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro
“It’s good to be back in the car. It went real good, considering what a tough week we’ve had. The guys did a tremendous job getting the car together. I had a lot of trouble with handling early in the race, but the car started coming to me later on, which was nice and we were catching everybody. We were right where we needed to be.” Patrick Dempsey, No. 40 Visit Florida/Modspace Mazda RX-8
The Next Race:
Round 9 of the 2011 Rolex Series will be the American Red Cross 250 on Sunday, July 23, at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.Y. The two-hour, 45-minute event will mark the Rolex Series’ fourth visit to the 2.25-mile, 12.-turn circuit.
By: Grand-Am Rolex Series