Rolex Roundup -- May 12, 2005 News, Notes & Quotes from the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 12, 2005) -- One of the hallmarks of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class has been ...
Rolex Roundup -- May 12, 2005
News, Notes & Quotes from the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 12, 2005) -- One of the hallmarks of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class has been its ability to produce close and exciting competition. Looking at statistics through the first four rounds of the 14-race 2005 schedule, it appears that the competition has gotten even tougher.
Through the Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 25 different drivers have held the overall lead in Rolex Series events. Among those drivers, nine have led for the first time in their Daytona Prototype careers, and a different driver has led the first lap in each of the first four races.
Of the 1,002 laps completed thus far, Daytona Prototype co-points leader Max Angelelli--who shares the points lead and the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley with co-driver and car owner Wayne Taylor--has led 218 laps. In addition, no driver has led more laps at one time thus far in 2005 than NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series star Tony Stewart, who led 73 consecutive laps behind the wheel of the No. 20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford for Howard-Boss Motorsports in February's Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The competition has been equally tough among the engine manufacturers and chassis constructors. Since February's historic Rolex 24 At Daytona, eight different engine and chassis combinations have led races. Engines that have headed the field include Pontiac, Lexus, Porsche and BMW, while Riley, Crawford, Doran and Fabcar chassis have all led in 2005 as well.
Two of the season's first four races have produced margins of victory that rank inside the top-three in series history. Scott Pruett--who shares the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley with co-driver Luis Diaz--beat Angelelli to the stripe to win the Ferrari Maserati 400 at California Speedway by a Rolex Series-record 0.096 seconds. In the Grand Prix of Miami one race earlier, Angelelli found himself on the winning end of another nail-biter, as he held off a charging Butch Leitzinger--who had taken over to drive the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow/ Howard Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford from co-driver Elliott Forbes-Robinson for the second half of the race--by just 1.198 seconds to get the victory. The Miami race now ranks third on the Rolex Series list of closest finishes.
JIM TRUEMAN/BOB AKIN AWARDS UPDATE
Since the inception of the Jim Trueman and Bob Akin Awards at the Grand Prix of Miami in March, many sportsman drivers in the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype and GT classes have shown their desire to be the first recipients.
The chase for Jim Trueman Award for sportsman drivers in the Daytona Prototype category has been hotly-contested throughout the season. With a pair of top-five finishes in the first four races alongside co-driver Nic Jonsson, No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley owner/driver Tracy Krohn currently leads the standings by six points (855-849) over Darius Grala, who co-drives the No. 3 PAP-Parts/OZEKE BMW Riley with Shane Lewis for Southard Motorsports. No. 15 CB Motorsports Lexus Riley driver Hugo Guenette is third with 821 points, followed by No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar driver JC France with 806 points. Completing the top five is Doug Goad in the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Pontiac Crawford with 734 points.
Sitting atop the standings for the Bob Akin Award in the GT class is No. 41 Team Sahlen Porsche GT3 Cup driver Will Nonnamaker, who has 1,177 points after three races in the program. Michael Levitas, the TPC Racing owner and co-driver of the No. 36 Ajilon Consulting/TPC Superchargers Porsche GT3 Cup, is currently second in the standings with 1,031 points.
Marc Bunting, who is currently tied for second in the Rolex Series GT driver standings with No. 65 Auto Gallery/TRG Porsche GT3 Cup co-driver Andy Lally, is currently third in the Bob Akin Award standings with 995 points. No. 81 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup driver Mae Van Wijk is fourth with 863 points, followed by Joe Nonnamaker--who shares the No. 41 with his son, Will--with 821 points.
FRISSELLES VISIT DINAN FACTORY
The inaugural Rolex Series event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca provided No. 8 Rx.com/Synergy Racing BMW Doran co-drivers Burt and Brian Frisselle with an opportunity to also pay a visit to the Dinan factory--which is responsible for preparing their powerful BMW engines--in nearby Morgan Hill, Calif.
Both drivers were highly impressed with the Dinan facility, which was founded in 1979 and is considered among North America's premier BMW turners. In the Morgan Hill facility, Dinan develops, manufactures and markets a comprehensive line of high performance products and systems, including the BMW M5-based 5.0-liter powerplant used by the Frisselles and other Rolex Series Daytona Prototype teams.
"Racing has been a part of our R&D program almost from the very start," said founder and president Steve Dinan. "It's in our blood, and what we learn at the races ends up in our products. We are proud of the high standard that we set for anything that has our name on it."
The facility employs nearly 60 people and houses the company's shipping, fabrication and testing operations. It includes engine and chassis dynos, as well as several CAD-CAM machines for design and prototyping of new performance upgrade pieces. The drivers toured the entire facility and got the opportunity to operate the engine dyno with one of their race engines, running it up to top speed as the monitor produced extensive data.
"It was great to see where they prepare our engine and meet some of the people that work to improve it day-in and day-out," said Burt Frisselle. "We owe those guys some 'thank yous' for sure, because they do a fantastic job. This engine has a lot of grunt, but it is also very driveable, with loads of power and torque all over in the rev range."
FINLAY MOTORSPORTS CONSOLIDATES UNDER SINGLE NAME
With several exciting announcements about the future of the team upcoming, Finlay/Ten Motorsports has decided to consolidate its operations under the single name of Finlay Motorsports.
"We're working on some big things that will take this team to a new level and we want to make sure that there is no possibility of confusion in the minds of our sponsors and fans," said team owner Rob Finlay. "I'm proud to be a part of this tremendous group of people, and I want my name out front to demonstrate my commitment to the future of this team."
Since the beginning of the 2005 Rolex Series season, the team has campaigned the No. 19 Air Force Reserve/Make-A-Wish Foundation/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley co-driven by Memo Gidley and Michael McDowell under the Ten Motorsports banner. The No. 60 Make-A-Wish/Commercial Defeasance BMW M3 co-driven by Finlay and McDowell in the Grand-Am Cup Series raced under the Finlay Motorsports name. Now, both cars will race under the Finlay Motorsports banner. The change will be reflected in all aspects of the team's image materials, including signage on the cars, team uniforms and pit equipment among other things.
The team is having a new BMW M3 built by Fall-Line Motorsports to replace the car that was severely damaged in a Turn 11 accident during the Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on April 30. Finlay was driving the car when it came to rest on its roof after contact with another car forced his BMW hard into the tire barrier at the entrance to pit road. He avoided injury in the incident.
GT POINTS LEADER KEEPS BUSY BETWEEN RACES
No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup driver Craig Stanton--who took over the lead in the 2005 Rolex Series GT driver standings with his fourth-consecutive top-four finish in the Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca--has made good use of his time between the Road & Track 250 on May 1 and the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant on May 21.
Stanton has been active in serving as a coach for several drivers, including his Synergy Racing teammate Mae Van Wijk, who drives the team's No. 81 Porsche GT3 Cup. He has also stepped-up his already grueling physical fitness routine, and has set his sights on a midsummer 24-hour marathon mountain bike race in California. Stanton and a teammate will each be responsible for 12 hours on the bike. He is also training for two different 100-mile road-bike races.
BMW TEAM PTG CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF SUCCESS
BMW Team PTG, which won the 2004 Rolex Series GT team championship and has four cars competing in the 2005 championship, is celebrating its 10th year of racing the venerable BMW M3. The team's web site, www.ptgracing.com, has been updated to include a "History" section detailing every year of competition since the BMW M3 program began in 1995. Autograph cards from each year are available on the site, giving fans the opportunity to see a much younger Bill Auberlen in 1996 when he first joined the BMW program. The web site also details the changes that have been made over the years to BMW of America's most successful race car.
There is a special section of the site for BMW Car Club of America members that provides information on various special events with BMW Team PTG at every Rolex Series race. The team will celebrate its 10th anniversary on July 17 at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, W.Va., just a few miles from the team's shop in Winchester, Va. The one-day celebration will include shop tours and a country barbeque in addition to other special events.