Damaged Pacific Mobile/Biosign car fourth in New Jersey Late-race contact thwarts podium finish Millville, NJ (July 18, 2010) -- AIM Autosport's Pacific Mobile/Biosign Ford Riley car finished fourth today at New Jersey Motorsports Park after a...
Damaged Pacific Mobile/Biosign car fourth in New Jersey
Late-race contact thwarts podium finish
Millville, NJ (July 18, 2010) -- AIM Autosport's Pacific Mobile/Biosign Ford Riley car finished fourth today at New Jersey Motorsports Park after a few moments of mayhem minutes from the finish left driver Burt Frisselle driving a damaged and smoking car to the checkered flag. The fourth-place finish gained precious points for both the drivers and the team in their respective championships.
After qualifying third yesterday, Burt's co-driver, Mark Wilkins, started the 2h 45m race by holding on to his third-place starting position through the opening laps before falling to fourth.
When the first of three full-course cautions interrupted the race on lap 13, the team gambled on getting a caution in the 30-45 minute range and Mark stayed on the track to assume the lead while most of the field pitted for service. He held the lead until the 45-minute mark when he pitted to complete a mandatory pit stop. Diving into the pits, he handed the car over to Burt while the crew changed tires and added fuel.
After rejoining in tenth, Burt saved fuel in order to shorten his next pit stop, yet managed to advance four places over 25 laps and, as the race neared the midpoint, the Pacific Mobile/Biosign car was up to sixth place.
Yellow flags signaled the second caution of the race with one hour remaining. Rapid work by the crew got Burt out fourth and then he claimed third on the restart following a feisty jostle with Michael Valiante.
Having held third for over 50 minutes, and with the time limit looming close, the team seemed set for its third podium finish of the year when oil on the track sent cars spinning off the circuit. A GT car making its way back onto the the track drove directly into Burt's path as he sped through the slippery turn at more than 100 mph. The jarring impact sent the GT car spinning and left Burt with a damaged and misaligned car, but it held together long enough to make it to the checkered flag.
Despite missing a podium finish, both Burt and Mark were thrilled with the team's performance.
"We were in great shape when Mark handed over the car," Burt said. "I had a great restart to take third after the second caution and we were headed for a podium finish until I had big contact with a GT car that came on to the track in front of me. It's great that the car could still finish with so much damage.
"The team put together a great car and we're overdue for a win."
"It's a good result for the team," said Mark. "Burt had some bad luck at the end after driving a heck of a stint to get to third and then he did really well to finish fourth.
"The crew did a great job as always and they gave us an awesome car so we could race with the front runners."
"Fourth isn't what we deserved," said chief engineer and AIM Autosport principal, Ian Willis. "The guys drove well and we had a good car but a bit of bad luck took us from third to sixth. Then a bit of good fortune got us to the finish in fourth despite having enough damage to take us out of the race."
Burt and Mark currently lie third in the driver standings while AIM Autosport gained two places to hold sixth in the team standings.
The next race in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 is the Crown Royal 200 at the Glen.
-source: aim autosport