Ohio Teams Anxious For Mid-Ohio Homecoming DUBLIN, Ohio (August 3, 2004) - The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series rolls into Mid-Ohio, bringing with it several teams headquartered in the Buckeye State, for the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing...
Ohio Teams Anxious For Mid-Ohio Homecoming
DUBLIN, Ohio (August 3, 2004) - The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series rolls into Mid-Ohio, bringing with it several teams headquartered in the Buckeye State, for the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic, August 6-8.
Tackling the 13-turn, 2.25-mile course will be five teams from Ohio, which include Michael Shank Racing, Southard Motorsports, Doran Lista Racing, Orison-Planet Earth Motorsports and Honda of America Racing Team. Of the five, four of those teams are currently in the top-ten in their respective division's point standings.
One team that is particularly excited about the Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic is Michael Shank Racing. The team, which is currently fourth in the Daytona Prototypes point standings, has had an impressive run this season, especially when one considers that it is their first year racing the Daytona Prototypes. Shank expects the team's success to continue at their "home track" since they have thoroughly prepared and will be racing in front of a familiar crowd.
"Mid-Ohio is a fantastic track, and since we had the chance to test here earlier in the summer, we are looking for a good result here," Shank said. "It's so special to be able to actually go home each night during the race, and to race in front of so many friends and family is really a special opportunity, so we can't wait to go racing."
Not only is the Reynoldsburg native energized about competing at Mid-Ohio, but his young driver Burt Frisselle is also very eager to race.
"This is one of the most fun tracks I have ever raced on," said Frisselle. "I raced here last year with Skip Barber, and I had a grin inside my helmet the whole time, so it is going to be even more fun in this car, with all our Lexus horsepower down that backstretch, its going to be a blast."
Hot on the heels of Michael Shank Racing is Doran-Lista Racing from Lebanon, near Cincinnati. The team has accumulated two second place finishes this year in Daytona Prototype racing and is looking to breakthrough for their first win of the season.
"We have been very close to winning several races this year but for one reason or another we haven't won yet. We feel we're overdue," said team owner Kevin Doran. "It would be nice to get back on the top step of the podium at Mid-Ohio. We want to win and the sooner the better!"
Much like his fellow competitors from the Buckeye State, Doran really enjoys racing at Mid-Ohio.
"It's always great to race close to home. I think everyone acknowledges that Mid-Ohio is one of the best road courses in the United States. We always enjoy going there. The drivers like the course because it's a true road course and it's very challenging."
Another Ohio based team currently in the top ten in the point standings, is the Honda of America Racing Team, which is competing in the series GT division. Pete Halsmer, driver of the team's Acura NSX, believes that while racing at home is enjoyable for the team, the stakes are raised when competing in front of a home crowd.
"It does add some pressure, but I like to look at it like an opportunity to help the team show what we all can do - it really is a team sport, even though some of the activities are very individually visible."
Southard Motorsports is an additional team looking to showcase their talents during the weekend. While the team has struggled somewhat this season, their goal for the Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic is simple - they want to have a nice clean race with a solid finish. Team owner Steve Southard, who will be entering two cars in competition, is aware that a good run at Mid-Ohio is important to making the rest of the season a success.
"Coming to Mid-Ohio as a home track, there will be a lot of pressure," said Southard. "More this time than in the past, since we have a new car and we want to do well with potential sponsors and friends attending."
While some teams are looking for their best finish of the season, Orison-Planet Earth Motorsports has the potential to secure an impressive milestone during the weekend. The team is celebrating its twentieth year in racing and is extremely excited about returning to Mid-Ohio.
"We are looking for our 50th professional win and our 150th podium," said Wayne Nonnamaker, driver of the number 41 Porsche GT3 Cup car. "If we could get that done at Mid-Ohio, it would really be great."
For tickets or more information on the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic, contact Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at 1-800-MID-OHIO or www.midohio.com.