Mid-Ohio: Orbit Racing race report

Orbit Racing showed its strength in the Rolex Sports Car Series race in Lexington, Ohio, but a late-race hit put the team's No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS out of the race. The Saturday night race was held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car...

Orbit Racing showed its strength in the Rolex Sports Car Series race in Lexington, Ohio, but a late-race hit put the team's No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS out of the race. The Saturday night race was held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a favorite of Orbit drivers Joe and Jay Policastro of Latrobe, Pa., and Mike Fitzgerald of Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Jay Policastro qualified a fast second in the GT class, splitting the usually dominant pair of BMW M3s with his lap of one minute 27.250 seconds on the 2.25-mile road course. He forfeited his grid position when the team had to change the car's engine before the race, forcing him to start from the pit lane, 12th in class. He moved up to sixth, but lost a lap because of his position relative to the safety car during the first caution period, 15 minutes after the start of the two-hour 45-minute race. Joe Policastro drove the second stint, starting at 1h3. He moved up to fourth in class, then settled back to fifth.

Pit strategy allowed the team to regain the lap lost earlier in the race and Fitzgerald took over for the final stint, starting at 1h36. The airjack failed on the car, so he had to pit twice for tires, as the crew used manual jacks. Despite the extra stop, the team's strategy paid off, positioning Fitzgerald to move into a class podium position as the lead cars had to pit again for fuel. However, his charge abruptly ended just before the two-hour mark, when he was hit by a prototype car and stopped on track. The team finished ninth in class.

The Orbit crew will log long hours this week to repair the car in time for the next Rolex Series race, on Aug. 13, at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Mike Fitzgerald:

"The car was fantastic! We got a lap back on three cars and I was just going through traffic, catching the field. At that pace, in three laps, I would have been second or third. I got hit behind the right tire and it just crushed the right corner of the car, and that was it. If we had started where we qualified, on the GT pole, we would have been a lap up on the whole GT field ..."

Jay Policastro:

"We had to start from pit lane, but it turned out to be all right because it was a better motor. It was quite a lot of fun - I just cruised up through the field! Mike could have made it to the end [without another fuel stop] and third was very attainable, maybe even second. It could have ended up as a great result. But we'll get to Watkins Glen and give 'er hell!"

Joe Policastro:

"We lost a lap on the first yellow, but we regained it and came back again. They [the other GT cars] all pitted on the wrong yellow. We stayed out and pitted on the next one, and that gave us enough fuel to get to the end. We all had great stints and could have had a really good finish, but things happened that were out of our control."

-or/sp-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jay Policastro