Banner Pontiac GXP.R Fourth At Laguna Seca Racers Edge GXP.R Fifth Edwards drove the No. 07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R to a fourth place finish today in round five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special ...
Banner Pontiac GXP.R Fourth At Laguna Seca
Racers Edge GXP.R Fifth
Edwards drove the No. 07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R to a fourth place finish today in round five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve U.S. Sports Car Invitational GT race run at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. James Gue and Drew Staveley finished fifth in the No. 30 GXP.R and the No. 06 of Tim Lewis Jr. and Leighton Reese came in 10th.
It took only five laps for Paul Edwards to make his way from his fourth place qualifying position to lead the GT race this afternoon. The Californian took over the front spot and was running comfortable at the front, when the team brought him in on lap 25 for his 45-minute compulsory pit stop. Kelly Collins jumped behind the wheel on lap 43 and also was able to drive to the front. With only three laps remaining, Collins was forced to pit for a splash of fuel and surrendered the lead to finish the race in fourth.
"We played it safe to finish in fourth," Collins said. "The car bobbled into turn-five and Lally passed me so I had to pit that lap. The yellow then came out and I think that saved them. Could we have coasted to the finish the last two laps, maybe if we had four less cylinders. The car was good and Paul was able to get us up in the lead early. It was fun today racing at the front. We are looking forward to Lime Rock."
The Racers Edge Motorsports team scored their best finish of the year with a fifth place run. James Gue started the car and ran in the top five most of his stint. He turned over to new comer Drew Staveley and he returned the No. 30 GXP.R to the fray and turned faster race laps than he did in practice.
"My stint was unadventurous," Gue said. "We fixed the balance problem that we had in qualifying and I was able to drive toward the front. The team had excellent pit strategy and we were well positioned for a top finish. Drew did a great job, he really turned it up in the race, running times as fast as the leaders."
The No. 06 Banner GXP.R was started by owner/driver Leighton Reese. Reese ran consistently in the top five, keeping close proximity to teammate Collins during his entire stint. On lap 43 the Minnesota resident pitted and turned the wheel over to Tim Lewis Jr. Lewis had to be pulled back to avoid the No. 07 team car and when he exited he just nudged the tires that came off his car that were sitting on pit lane. This resulted in a 60-second stop-and-go penalty sending them down a lap.
"Leighton did a great job at the start," Lewis said. "The guys had to pull me back so I could leave the pits as we got our pit stop done a little quicker than the 07. I just nicked the tires and that cost us with a penalty. The car was great my whole run, very neutral and great handling. The brake pedal started to get a little long towards the end, but was still drivable. We could have won today, the team was right on with our strategy. We have nine-days until our chance at redemption."
The GT race from Laguna Seca will be televised, tape delayed, on May 26 on the SPEED Channel starting at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
Round six for the Rolex GT Series will be run next weekend at Lime Rock Park with the race going off on Monday, May 28.
-credit: gm racing