Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson became the seventh different winners this year in the Rolex Sports Car Series, as Negri held off SunTrust Racing's Max Angelelli to win the Supercar Life 250 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Angelelli...
Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson became the seventh different winners this year in the Rolex Sports Car Series, as Negri held off SunTrust Racing's Max Angelelli to win the Supercar Life 250 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Angelelli passed two cars on the final lap to move from fourth to second, but he was unable to reel in Negri, whose Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley crossed the finish line less than half a second ahead of Angelelli's Pontiac Riley.
"I was extremely aggressive, spinning the rears and locking up the fronts," said Negri, referring to the restart with two laps remaining that set up his duel with Angelelli. "I applied everything I ever learned on a go-kart and it worked and I am happy for it."
"I could have gotten closer to him," said Angelelli, who is known to be aggressive in braking zones. "But I would have had to push him out (of the way). And that would have been unfair. So I parked myself behind him."
Negri took the lead for the first time on Lap 61 and led the final 45 laps of the 105-lap race - the first professional event at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, which featured large swaths of dirt in places where grass will eventually take hold. Dust clouds caused by this dirt and the narrow width of the racing surface contributed to three caution periods for a total of 23 laps.
The Alex Job Racing Porsche Riley shared by Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand ended up third, followed by the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley driven by Joao Barbosa and J.C. France and the Gainsco Racing Pontiac Riley of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty.
"The car was the best it's been all year," said Auberlen. "On restarts, we had a tough time with the rubber pickup on the tires. It was really bad for us. But the SunTrust car seemed to be really good with that."
Rounding out the top-10 were the AIM Autosport Ford Riley, the second Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley, the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Riley, the Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley and the second Brumos Racing Porsche Riley.
With its ninth-place finish, Ganassi Racing, whose primary race car was destroyed on Thursday in a savage wreck during practice, clinched the Daytona Prototype team championship. And with a 38-point lead over Gurney and Fogarty in the drivers' championship and only 35 points available in the next and final race in Utah, Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas have all but clinched the drivers' championship - though a technicality will require Rojas to drive 30 minutes in the final event for the two to share the title. Pruett and Rojas, who drove a spare car in the race, have six wins this year, but have finished fifth, 13th, sixth, and ninth in the last four events, keeping the Gainsco squad alive in the championship hunt.
Pruett, who was extremely sore from the wreck, was happy to clinch his second Daytona Prototype drivers' standings. "I'm a little sore right this second, but I just can't say enough about the whole Ganassi team, Lexus, Telmex, and, of course, Memo. Just a fantastic job to rally back from what started off as a horrific weekend. To do what we've done all season long, it's just awesome. That's the heart and soul of Ganassi. It's all the guys, it's a team effort. It's everybody pulling together. It's late nights. It's the desire to become champions.
"I'm beat up and I'm sore. I feel like somebody's been punching me in the ribcage, but my wife's been hearing taking care of me and now I'm really looking forward to a couple weeks off to enjoy it."
Andy Lally and Tim George Jr. took the GT class win in the No. 67 Racer's Group Porsche. The Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R of Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis finished second, followed by the Matt Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R of Ryan Phinny and Diego Alessi, who started last in the 42- car field. Liddell now trails Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards, who finished 10th in the Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R, by five points in the GT class drivers' championship. SpeedSource Racing drivers Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay entered the race six points behind Collins and Edwards in the championship standings, but a 16th place finish leaves them 12 points behind the Banner Racing tandem.
The fourteenth and final round of the Rolex Series will take place Saturday, September 20 at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.