AIM Autosport records another top ten finishTeam now sits 10th overall in series championship The Exchange Traded Gold ...
AIM Autosport records another top ten finishTeam now sits 10th overall in series championship
The Exchange Traded Gold #61 Ford Riley was quick once again and both drivers, Brian Frisselle and Mark Wilkins, put in a strong performance to guide the car to its second P6 finish on the season. It was a tight battle among the Daytona Prototype cars throughout the race and on this track, where it can be difficult to pass, the team made up positions following pit stops and cautions. A dusty track on a late race restart had everyone scrambling into the first turn and Mark had to fight to keep the car on track but he held on and again, fought back to regain positions.
Team strategy would have Brian Frisselle pit on lap one to cover the mandatory stop and he then put in some early fast laps that kept the car in good position. The #61 Ford Riley would then go to P2 as the rest of the field came in for their first round of pit stops. Brian would then go P1 when the leader had to come in for their mandatory stop.
"We had to make some adjustments early on" noted Brian. "Contact on the opening lap broke off one of the front dive planes which upset the handling a bit but we were able to adjust the front a rear bars to compensate and the car settled in nicely."
The team elected to pit on the next full course caution for fuel, tires and a driver change. A problem with the air jacks caused a momentary delay and Mark Wilkins would re-enter the track P15 and over the next twenty-five laps, he would make up positions.
After two more full course cautions, the #61 Ford Riley was sitting P10 and the team would make up another four positions in the pits when Mark came in for a splash of fuel and two front tires.
"We had to adjust our strategy when the race had a long run under the green which we did not expect" noted team manager Ian Willis. "We had a good second stop with Mark and gaining positions in the pits which made up for our earlier problems."
Yet another caution - one of eight on the day - bunched up the field and the a after restart, Mark made up two more positions to P4. He reported on the radio that "The car is good and that we just need to get some heat in the new tires." This would come into play on a later restart when the lead pack went deep into corner one and with everyone locking up, Mark went a bit wide and got into the dirty part of the track. "I had nowhere to go except the outside and we picked up a lot of junk on the tires and we lost a couple of positions" Mark reported.
Through the final ten laps a combination of hard racing and lapped traffic stopped Mark from mounting a good charge but he did move back to P6 where the Exchange Traded Gold #61 Ford Riley ended the day.
Willis commented after the race, "We keep knocking on the door and the team keeps getting stronger. This matches our best result so far this season and we are sitting on three top ten finishes. The six hour race at The Glen next month will be a real test of how close we are to scoring that podium everyone on the team is hoping for."