NASCAR REGULARS, TIGHT DAYTONA PROTOTYPE POINT RACE HIGHLIGHT GRAND-AM'S MONTREAL 200 Carl Edwards, Marcos Ambrose, Brendan Gaughan Set For Series Debuts DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2009) - Fans at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve have witnessed...
NASCAR REGULARS, TIGHT DAYTONA PROTOTYPE POINT RACE HIGHLIGHT GRAND-AM'S
Carl Edwards, Marcos Ambrose, Brendan Gaughan Set For Series Debuts
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2009) - Fans at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve have witnessed close finishes both times the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 has raced on the 2.709-mile circuit.
Saturday's Montreal 200 brings a tight Daytona Prototype point battle to Montreal with only three races remaining in the 2009 season, while three NASCAR regulars will be making their Rolex Series debuts (SPEED live, 2 p.m. ET). Defending champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas enter the event with a four-point lead (248-244) over Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, while former Montreal winners Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle are third with 234 points.
Pruett and Rojas have won two races this season in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, while Gurney and Fogarty lead the series with three victories in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose will co-drive Doran Racing's No. 77 Aflac/iRacing/Australian Wines Ford Dallara. NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Brendan Gaughan will join Andy Lally in TRG's No. 66 South Point Casino Porsche GT3.
Frisselle started the winning car in last year's event, with co-driver Mark Wilkins going from fourth to first on the final lap to win in the closest finish in Rolex Series history, .064 seconds. This weekend, his brother Burt Frisselle will co-drive with Wilkins in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley.
"To cross the line in fourth place (to start the last lap), I never could have anticipated the events that unfolded on that last lap," said Wilkins, who gave the team its first of two 2008 victories in the Montreal 200. "That's the most memorable experience I ever had. It was huge for the team. To do that in front of the absolutely amazing Montreal fans was great. I'm sure we made some new fans that day. We'll be awaiting another amazing finish this year, but it's going to be tough."
AIM Autosport, the lone Canadian-based team in the series, has added a second Daytona Prototype, the No. 51 Tower Events Ford Riley for Jean-Francois Dumoulin of Trois-Rivières and John Farano of Toronto. Wilkins, Dumoulin and Farano are among five Canadians entered in the Daytona Prototype class.
Michael Valiante of Vancouver has been consistently among the fastest Daytona Prototype drivers in Rolex Series practice this season, with a best finish of second at Virginia International Raceway in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley co-driven by John Pew.
Mike Forest of Edmonton co-drives the Beyer Racing No. 13 Lennox/Brach's Chevrolet Riley, which led the recent races at Daytona and Watkins Glen International with co-driver Ricky Taylor at the wheel.
Brian Frisselle changed teams this season, joining Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara. Two years ago, Angelelli held off Marc Goossens to win the Montreal 200 by .461 seconds, the ninth-closest finish in series history.
Keen, Werner Hold 31-Point Lead in GT Standings
Leh Keen and Dirk Werner, drivers of the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3, take a 31-point lead in the Acxiom GT class to the event. They have scored eight straight top-five finishes to Montreal, including four victories. Last year, Werner ran out of fuel on the final circuit, giving the victory to Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R.
Kelly Collins is second in the standings (279-248), with regular co-driver Paul Edwards expected to return in the No. 07 Drinkin' Mate Pontiac GXP.R after missing the most recent race at Watkins Glen International due to a injuries sustained in a mountain biking accident.
Montreal native Sylvain Tremblay finished second last year, and is currently third in the point standings in the No. 70 SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX.8 co-driven by Nick Ham.
Other Canadians expected to race in the GT class are Dave Lacey of Toronto, who will co-drive the No. 48 Miller Barrett Racing Porsche GT3 with Bryce Miller, and Chris Green of Montreal in the No. 21 Battery Tender/MCM Pontiac GTO.R.
Practice for the Montreal 200 begins at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28, with qualifying set for 5 p.m. Live scoring and race notes will be provided on www.grand-am.com, with regular updates also available on www.twitter.com/RolexSeries.