DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 9, 2004) -- The 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series reached the halfway point in the 12-race season with last week's Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche at Daytona International Speedway, and several...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 9, 2004) -- The 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series reached the halfway point in the 12-race season with last week's Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche at Daytona International Speedway, and several notable trends have emerged.
Bolstered by the explosive growth of the Daytona Prototype class, the 2004 Rolex Series has averaged 42 starters per race through the first six events and is on pace to set an all-time high in that category. The previous best season was in 2001 when the Rolex Series averaged 40 starters per event. The series has also seen a 150 percent increase in field size from the average of 28 starters last year.
More teams are also finishing the races in 2004, as there has been an average of 32 cars running at the finish through last week's race. That represents an increase of 200 percent over last year's average of 16 finishers per race, and also tops the 2001 previous best average of 30 cars running at the finish of each event. Rolex Series fans have also been treated to more laps of racing the first half of '04, as the races have averaged 200 laps, nine more than the 191-lap average from 2002, the previous high.
Not only has the Rolex Series seen growth in quantity, but the quality of the racing in 2004 is also improved based on a few key statistics. On average--endurance and sprint events included--there have been four cars on the lead lap at the end of each race this season, which puts the series on pace to establish another all-time high. Last year, there was an average of three cars on the lead lap which tied the record established in the inaugural Rolex Series season of 2000.
The 2004 series has seen an average of five leaders per race, topping the previous best of four established in 2001 and equaled in 2003. Also, not including the Rolex 24 At Daytona, where the No. 54 Kodak-Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran quartet of Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber, Christian Fittipaldi and Andy Pilgrim won by three laps, the 2004 average margin of victory has been eight seconds, which is 11 seconds closer than the 2003 average and trails only the seven-second average margin of victory from 2001.
HOWARD-BOSS MOTORSPORTS AND MICHAEL BAUGHMAN RACING TOP SUNTRUST AWARD WINNERS
Through the halfway point in the season, the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford of Milka Duno, Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers and the No. 46 Michael Baughman Racing Chevrolet Corvette of Gary St. Armour and Mike Yeakle are the only two-time winners of the "SunTrust Improve Your Position Award." To be eligible for the $500-per-race contingency award, cars must display a SunTrust logo decal, and SunTrust offers the award to all three Rolex Sports Car Series classes.
Duno and Wallace earned their first SunTrust award after charging from 15th on the starting grid to take the overall victory in the Grand Prix of Miami, the same event in which St. Armour and Yeakle took their first of two consecutive awards by going from 12th on the Super Grand Sport (SGS) grid to finish eighth in class. St. Armour and Yeakle made it two-in-a-row in the Food City 250 at Phoenix, when they improved from 11th on the SGS grid to finish fifth in class. Duno became the first Daytona Prototype two-time winner of the award last week in the Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche, when she and co-driver Lammers improved from a 13th place starting position to finish sixth. Other winners in the Daytona Prototype category this year were the No. 27 Doran-Lista Racing Lexus Doran (Rolex 24 At Daytona), the No. 5 Essex Racing Ford Multimatic (Phoenix), the No. 81 Rx.com/G&W Motorsports BMW Doran (6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant) and the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley (Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen).
GT winners have been the No. 73 Red Bull BE Racing Ferrari 360 Modena (Rolex 24 At Daytona), the No. 33 Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Maserati GT (Miami), the No. 66 The Racer's Group Porsche GT3 RS (Phoenix), the No. 77 G&W Motorsports Porsche GT3 RS (Mont-Tremblant), the No. 44 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 RS (Watkins Glen) and the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 (Paul Revere 250).
In addition to the No. 46, other SGS award winners have been the No. 16 AASCO Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup (Rolex 24 At Daytona), the No. 41 ORISON-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup (Mont-Tremblant), the No. 42 ORISON-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup (Watkins Glen) and the No. 37 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup (Paul Revere 250). There will also be a special bonus award of $1,000 presented along with a trophy at the year-end Rolex Series banquet for the team from each class that has accumulated the most overall advanced laps over the entire season.
AUBERLEN LEADS GT AXCIOM GRAND TOURING CHALLENGE; NONNAMAKER CLEANS UP
GT co-points leader Bill Auberlen leads the Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge through the halfway point of the 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series, while SGS driver Wayne Nonnamaker earned a $5,000 windfall from Acxiom for his class victory in last week's Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche. In its second year, the Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge offers $1,000 awards to the fastest qualifier and race winner in the GT division and a $1,500 bonus if the same car wins the pole and the race.
In SGS, Acxiom gives $750 to each pole and race winner, and $1,000 if the same car does both. In both classes, if the polesitter fails to win the race, the bonus rolls over to the next race. Auberlen and his former co-driver in the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3, Boris Said, earned consecutive pole, race and bonus awards from Round 2 at Miami through Round 5 at Watkins Glen, and Auberlen collected another race-winner bonus with new co-driver, Justin Marks, for winning the Paul Revere 250 last week. As a result, Auberlen and the No. 21 have won $15,000 from Acxiom thus far.
Other GT winners of the Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge were the No. 74 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup which was the Rolex 24 At Daytona fastest GT qualifier, the Rolex 24 At Daytona class-winning No. 44 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 RS team and the No. 67 The Racer's Group Porsche GT3 RS team that qualified on the class pole for the Paul Revere 250. In SGS, the rollover bonus went unclaimed through the first five races until Wayne Nonnamaker took his class polesitting No. 41 ORISON-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup to SGS victory in the Paul Revere 250. Nonnamaker was rewarded for his efforts by a $750 fastest qualifier bonus, the $750 race winner bonus, the regular $1,000 bonus for winning from the pole, and $5,000 for becoming the first driver to win from the class pole in 2004. Nonnamaker's total take from Acxiom was $9,000.
Other SGS teams to receive the fast qualifier bonus were the No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup (poles at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mont-Tremblant), the No. 71 Doncaster Racing Porsche GT3 Cup (Miami), the No. 16 AASCO Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup (Phoenix) and the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup (Watkins Glen). Teams to earn the SGS race winner bonus are the No. 91 team (Rolex 24 At Daytona). the No. 16 team (Miami), the No. 36 team (Phoenix and Mont-Tremblant) and the No. 38 team (Watkins Glen). Acxiom is also the title sponsor of the GT division of the Rolex Sports Car Series.
DUNO PLAYS CENTRAL ROLE IN NEW PONTIAC LAUNCH
General Motors' Pontiac division has announced that Venezuela native Milka Duno, driver of the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford has signed to appear in Pontiac's largest Hispanic marketing campaign to promote the launch of the new Pontiac G6 sports sedan. The agreement calls for Duno--the first Hispanic woman in history to earn an overall victory in a major North American sports car race--to appear in culturally-relevant broadcast, print, web and promotional advertising in support of the new midsize car. The advertising campaign is slated to launch this fall. "The G6 is Pontiac's most significant new car launch to date," said Pontiac-GMC General Manager Jim Bunnell. "Milka's style, sophistication and control are a perfect portrayal of the new attitude, fresh design direction and renewed performance spirit displayed by the G6."
BY THE NUMBERS
Through the first half of the 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series season, No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley driver Max Angelelli has driven the most laps of any driver in the series, logging 656 laps of seat time. Second on the list is No. 54 Kodak-Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran driver Terry Borcheller with a total of 613 circuits, followed by CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford pilot Andy Wallace with 580 laps completed. No. 41 ORISON-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup driver Wayne Nonnamaker--who drove every lap en route to the SGS class victory at the Paul Revere 250--is fourth on the overall list of laps driven with 554, and Nonnamaker's fellow SGS competitor, class co-points leader Andy Lally of the No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup team, is fifth with 527 laps driven. Nonnamaker has established himself as an "ironman" of sorts, as he also leads Grand-Am Cup drivers in laps driven with 308 in the No. 43 TheRaceSite.com Racing Porsche 996. Nonnamaker is followed by Spencer Pumpelly in the Race Prep Motorsports Porsche 996 with 297 laps and Lally in the No. 3 Team Lexus IS300 with 254 laps completed.
MAX, MEET MAX
Race fans have long been known to be among the most passionate of any sports fans in the world. Many have entire wardrobes dedicated to their favorite drivers and their sponsors, and you seemingly can't drive more than a mile without seeing a car number decal on the window or bumper of a car or truck. However, Roger and Laura Ness of Chicago found a unique way to pay tribute to their favorite driver, No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-pilot Max Papis. The Nesses mutually agreed to name their firstborn son after Papis, who recently met his namesake--now two-and-a-half years old--at a CompUSA Grand Opening in Chicago. "I'm always impressed by the impact that you can have on a kid being a race car driver," said Papis. "It was really special to see Max and his family (including Max Ness' 10-month-old brother, Daniel) at the CompUSA opening in Chicago. This passion for the sport is what makes me dedicate those extra five minutes to all my race fans. I want to give back all the motivation and support they gave me at the race track or at other events."
SOUTHARDS TO HOST GOLF TOURNEY; PROCEEDS TO BE DONATED TO CAMP BOGGY CREEK
Daytona Prototype owner/driver Steve Southard and his wife, Martha, will host a couples golf tournament at Wedgewood Golf & Country Club in Powell, Ohio on Friday, July 16 which will feature a car theme. The tournament, open to members of the Wedgewood Country Club, will also feature a raffle for tickets to the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic on August 7 and the No. 10 Southard Motorsports BMW Fabcar will be on display. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to the designated charity of Grand American, Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, Fla. Camp Boggy Creek is part of actor and racer Paul Newman's Association of Hole In The Wall Camps.