Mid-Ohio: Synergy Racing race report

Synergy Racing Scores Another Top-Six Finish, Extends Points Lead LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 27, 2005) -- Synergy Racing extended its lead in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT point standings following a sixth-place finish by the No. 80 Porsche GT3...

Synergy Racing Scores Another Top-Six Finish, Extends Points Lead

LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 27, 2005) -- Synergy Racing extended its lead in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT point standings following a sixth-place finish by the No. 80 Porsche GT3 Cup of Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) and David Murry (Atlanta, Ga.) in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Stanton was able to pick up his 10th-straight, top-six finish through careful management of the No. 80 Porsche when it was stricken with overheating problems during the second half the race.

"We developed an overheating problem during my stint," explained Stanton. "I had to short shift for nearly the entire second half of the race. I was trying to take it easy and not let the engine rev up too much. My goal was to run consistent 1:34 laps, and I was pretty much able to do that lap after lap to get us another top-six finish."

Early in the race, Murry had the Synergy Racing No. 80 Porsche as high as third in the GT class after making an impressive pass on Ron Fellows during a restart.

"Synergy gave me a great green flag call on the radio, and I was able to get a run to pass Ron on the outside of the carousel," remarked Murry of his pass for third. "We got bunched up on another restart, but I was running fine in third place until I got caught up behind a slow GT car at the same time the Daytona Prototype leaders came up on us. I tried to get around the slower car, but I got boxed in by the (fourth-place) No. 36."

The traffic dropped Murry to fifth before he brought the No. 80 Porsche into the pits to hand off to Stanton for the final stint.

"The car ran fine for me, but Craig started having problems about 15 minutes in," noted Murry. "We couldn't have done any better than third anyway. We can't run with the GTOs and BMWs. They are one to two seconds faster a lap. Hopefully we'll get a break in the rules soon, because all the Porsches are running within three-tenths of a second of each other, but the BMW was two seconds faster than me today."

Stanton extended his lead in the driver point standings to 18 points over Murry, who moved back into second place, and 21 points over BMW driver Joey Hand, who slipped to third. Synergy Racing also gained ground in the team point standings with a 12-point lead over TRG.

Rx.com Drivers Score Best Finish of Season

Burt and Brian Frisselle (Aventura, Fla.) finished seventh overall in the EMCO Gears Classic, the brothers' best finish of the season in their Synergy Racing Rx.com No. 8 BMW Doran. Brian started the race from ninth on the grid and was forced to pit twice early in the race after contact from another car damaged his Rx.com machine. After the Synergy crew inspected his car and got him back on track, he rejoined the pack in 41st position overall.

Brian, who powered to the lead at Watkins Glen earlier this month after starting from 13th, had a similarly strong run towards the front on Saturday, as he was able to turn the car over to his older brother Burt in 11th place.

"It is a decent result considering everything that happened," said Brian. "It shows, though, that we consistently have a good race car. Gary Grossenbacher is a huge help as far as making progress through the weekend so we can be fast on race day. I hated that we had to come into the pits after that Porsche hit me twice, but at least we were able to keep racing and come back to make it to the finish."

Making the most of a yellow caution period, Burt rejoined in 14th, and likewise made a move to the front, climbing into top-five contention. A full course caution late in the race gathered the field for an eight-minute dash to the checkered flag, but Burt was unable to make up and more ground as he had to back off in the closing laps to ensure that he had the fuel to finish.

"It is frustrating that seventh is our best finish this season, because we have been so quick that we feel like we should have had some stronger finishes," said Burt. "But at least we were able to overcome some bad luck early in the race and get to the finish. Brian did a great job, and I think this race showed again that we have a really strong package on race day. We just need to keep being there at the finish like we did today, and just get a little bit of luck our way."

Van Wijk's Race Cut Short When Caught Up in DP Accident Mae Van Wijk (Houston, Texas) started the EMCO Gears Classic on Saturday evening determined to prove her commitment to racing and continuing advancement as a driver. However, the 22-year-old had her race cut short when she became entangled in a collision between two Daytona Prototypes on lap 15. A spin by the No. 2 Daytona Prototype in a bad spot on the track ended up causing a chain reaction of accidents that Van Wijk's No. 81 Porsche sponsored by autobysite.com and pipeservicestt.com was caught up in.

In a blind spot on the track just over a crest, the spinning No. 2 car could not be seen by the No. 6 Daytona Prototype, which also went into a spin as it tried to avoid it. The pair got into each other shortly before Van Wijk came over the top of the hill to see the cars and realize she had no time or space to avoid them.

"It all happened so quickly," recalled Van Wijk. "I came over the crest and the Prototypes were in the blind spot. I didn't have any traffic directly in front of me, so I didn't have any warning of someone else swerving, and I never saw a yellow flag. I was only on the gas a fraction of a second and then suddenly there they were. There was no space. I wish I could have avoided it somehow. I ended up hitting the (No. 6) Mears car full on."

Van Wijk was not the only GT car to get wrapped up in the accident. The No. 23 Pontiac also sustained damage after cresting the hill to find the entanglement.

"Physically I'm fine, but mentally and emotionally it's been a rough weekend," remarked Van Wijk, who was involved in an accident during testing at Mid-Ohio on Thursday. "This is very frustrating and heartbreaking. This is the second time in one weekend something has gone wrong. I'm not very proud of the first mistake (on Thursday), but to get caught up in this today is really frustrating."

However, Van Wijk's determination is unwavering. "All this frustration just adds fuel to the fire and makes me want to work harder to be a better driver, prove myself, and move past this weekend. I'm in this with all my heart and all I have," she said.

EMCO Gears Classic on SPEED Channel Sunday The EMCO Gears Classic from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will air tape-delayed on SPEED Channel Sunday at noon EDT.

-synergy racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ron Fellows , David Murry , Joey Hand , Craig Stanton , Mae Van Wijk , Brian Frisselle