SCC: Fontana: Ten, Finlay Motorsports preview

CHARLOTTE, NC -- March 31, 2005 -- This week Ten Motorsports and Finlay Motorsports return to California Speedway where only six months ago the teams formally announced their entry in 2005 in both the Grand American Rolex and Cup Series. Memo...

CHARLOTTE, NC -- March 31, 2005 -- This week Ten Motorsports and Finlay Motorsports return to California Speedway where only six months ago the teams formally announced their entry in 2005 in both the Grand American Rolex and Cup Series.

Memo Gidley, who co-drives the No. 19 Riley-BMW regularly, will miss the start this weekend due to a prior commitment to drive the United States Air Force Reserve Ford Focus in the SPEED World Challenge. The United States Air Force Reserve is also a primary sponsor of the Ten Daytona Prototype.

Joining Michael McDowell for the Grand American 400 in Fontana will be Michael Valiante, who was one of four drivers during the team's debut at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Gidley and McDowell climbing

At Homestead, in just the second race of the season Gidley and McDowell proved that the No. 19 Riley-BMW Daytona Prototype is a contender. Prior to a pit incident that dropped the team down a lap from the leaders, the two drivers were a mainstay in the top five for half of the race. McDowell continued to motor through the field to secure the team's first top-ten finish of the season.

The Grand American 400 marks the third Rolex Series race this season that takes place on a track with high-banks. The team's first start of the year on Daytona's notoriously steep banks flushed out issues concerning the geometry of the car's gearbox and suspension.

McDowell commented on the team's improvement of its Daytona Prototype: "At Daytona, we encountered an issue transferring power from the gear box to the wheels that resulted in a litany of burned CV joints. Steve and Rick Cameron have resolved the issue by switching to a different gearbox, as proved by our efforts at Homestead."

Finlay Cup team atop series standings following scoring error

The Finlay Motorsports BMW M3, driven by McDowell and team owner Rob Finlay was involved in a scoring snafu during the Miller Grand-Am Cup 200. Grand American officials discovered that several cars were a lap down from the leaders, including Finlay's M3 that was determined to have finished fourth. The end result is that Finlay and McDowell stand alone atop the points standings, a distinction previously shared with the No. 55 Multimatic Mustang.

McDowell and Finlay's confidence is growing as the duo looks to capitalize on the well-prepared and powered M3 on the fast yet technically difficult road course at California Speedway. Said Finlay: "Obviously we're upset to not have taken second in Santa Domingo due to the scoring issue, but we're pleased to be in first in the standings and I think we're in a good position to increase our lead this weekend."

Grand American 400 and California 200 schedule of events

The Rolex and Cup Series will share the track this weekend with Grand American sanctioned Ferrari Historics and Ferrari Challenge Series. The Rolex Series practice sessions take place on Friday at 10:30 am and 2:00 pm, and again on Saturday at 9:20 am. Qualifying for the Rolex series is on Saturday at 2:10 pm. The final practice for the Rolex Series is at 9:15 am on Saturday, before the Daytona Prototypes and GT class take the track for the start of the Grand American 400 at 1:00 pm on Sunday.

The Cup Series will practice at 1:00 pm and 4:50 pm on Friday and the GS class will qualify at 10:55 am on Saturday. The California 200 goes green at 2:45 pm on Saturday.

-tm/fm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Memo Gidley , Michael Valiante , Michael McDowell