Mid-Ohio pre-race notes

BATTLE FOR GRAND AMERICAN ROLEX SPORTS CAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP HEATS UP AT MID-OHIO DUBLIN, Ohio (June 21, 2006) -- Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will light up the June night as the stars and cars of Grand American Road Racing's Rolex Sports Car...

BATTLE FOR GRAND AMERICAN ROLEX SPORTS CAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP HEATS UP AT MID-OHIO

DUBLIN, Ohio (June 21, 2006) -- Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will light up the June night as the stars and cars of Grand American Road Racing's Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, do battle on the 2.25-mile, 13-turn circuit during the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank, June 23-25.

The eleventh stop on the sixteen race tour, the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank will see twenty-eight Daytona Prototypes leading a field of nearly 50 cars to the green flag at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, for a 250-mile, 2 hour and 45 minute race. Holding to sports car tradition, the Daytona Prototype and GT classes will race together while competing for both class honors and the overall victory. Each car will feature two drivers, and driver changes during pits stops always factor into the action and strategy at each race.

Predicting an overall race winner in Rolex Series competition is a difficult task, as evidenced by the fact that five different driver/car combinations have won in eight races this season. Leading the pack are the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, who have earned a series-leading three victories so far this season. Hot on their tail are the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford teammates Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller, who took Rounds 3 and 5.

Individual victors this season have been IRL IndyCar Series champions Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon who teamed with NASCAR standout Casey Mears to win the season-opener, Jan Magnussen and defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli at Laguna Seca and finally Jorg Bergmeister and co-pilot Boris Said who won the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen earlier this month in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley.

"The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series always offers plentiful battles at the front of the field and close finishes in virtually every race," said TrueSports, Incorporated President Michelle Trueman Gajoch. "We're excited to welcome close to fifty cars back to Mid-Ohio for an exhilarating race at dusk."

The record for most different winners in a single season is seven, established last year, and several teams that have not yet won in 2006 have come close with podium finishes and could add to the list at the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank.

Butch Leitzinger, who won the 2005 EMCO Gears Classic with then-co-driver Elliott Forbes-Robinson, returns to defend his title with new co-driver Andy Wallace in the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford for Howard-Boss Motorsports. Kelly Collins, a winner in GT action last year, returns as co-driver of the No. 64 TRG/iRise Pontiac GTO.R with Paul Edwards.

"Mid-Ohio is a very frantic track," Butch Leitzinger commented. "There's never a moment to rest on the circuit. If you make a mistake in one corner, you are penalized for the next one or two corners as well. Mid Ohio is a circuit that rewards experience, which I suppose is a reason that I've done well there. I have raced and tested at Mid Ohio for over fifteen years."

In addition to the Rolex Sports Car Series race on Saturday evening, the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank will offer plenty of racing action. The Grand Am Cup Series will field 75 cars at Mid-Ohio, showcasing the latest in international and American-made high performance sports cars, coupes and sedans straight from the dealer showroom floor with only minimal racing and safety modifications. The SCCA Pro Racing Sirius Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Series presented by Hankook features identical 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miatas. And members of the BMW Car Club of America will pilot their BMWs around Mid-Ohio in races on Saturday and Sunday.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a permanent road racing circuit with two primary configurations: a 2.4-mile, 15-turn, and a 2.25-mile, 13-turn circuit in Lexington, Ohio. Located 60 miles north of Columbus and 75 miles south of Cleveland near Mansfield, the track has been called the most competitive in the U.S. and annually hosts a diversity of locally, regionally and nationally sanctioned racing events for amateur, club and professional riders and drivers. The EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank will be the second event on Mid-Ohio's eight-race 2006 schedule. Still to come are the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days (July 28-30), Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire (August 4-6), Vintage Grand-Prix at Mid-Ohio (August 18-20), National Auto Sport Association Championships (September 15-17), AMA Road Race Grand Championships & AMA Motocross Manufacturers Cup (September 22-24) and the AMA Superbike Shootout (September 30-October 1). Tickets for all events are available by calling 1-800-MID-OHIO or visiting www.midohio.com.

Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, TrueSports, Incorporated is a privately held motorsports entertainment enterprise. The company owns and operates Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School, and promotes a wide variety of motor racing, driver instruction, corporate, and family entertainment events throughout the year.

-moscc

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Jan Magnussen , Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Kelly Collins , Luis Diaz , Jörg Bergmeister , Max Angelelli , Patrick Long , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing