Defending GAINSCO Grand Prix Winner JÃ¶rg Bergmeister Returns to Phoenix as Points Leader DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 9, 2006) -- Still looking for his first 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve...
Defending GAINSCO Grand Prix Winner Jörg Bergmeister Returns to Phoenix as Points Leader
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 9, 2006) -- Still looking for his first 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve race victory, Daytona Prototype points leader Jörg Bergmeister returns to the site of his most recent Rolex Series triumph and will lead a strong field into Saturday's GAINSCO Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway (SPEED, May 14, 3:00 p.m. ET).
Bergmeister and his 17-year-old co-driver, Colin Braun, co-drove the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley to its second podium result of the season with a third-place run in last weekend's Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. That performance enabled Bergmeister to climb back atop the Daytona Prototype championship standings, giving the German a slim, two-point lead over No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford co-drivers Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller (208-206).
In the 2005 Rolex Series visit to Phoenix International Raceway, Bergmeister combined with Christian Fittipaldi to claim the victory, and Bergmeister is undoubtedly hoping for a repeat performance this weekend to strengthen his position in the point standings. It would be an historic victory should Bergmeister and Braun pull it off, as it would make Braun the youngest overall winner by more than three years. Phoenix-born Michael McDowell currently holds the distinction after his victory in the 2005 Rolex Series season finale at Mexico City at the age of 20 years, 10 months and 15 days.
Likewise, Fittipaldi returns this weekend to defend his title, sharing the No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve/Cheever Racing Porsche Crawford with an as-yet-unnamed co-driver, as Fittipaldi's regular co-driver, Eddie Cheever, will not participate in the GAINSCO Grand Prix due to his commitments at the Indianapolis 500. Fittipaldi and the No. 39 team are looking to build on a previous best result of second, which was achieved in the Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami in March when Fittipaldi shared the car with Porsche factory pilot Lucas Luhr.
McDowell will also be in action this weekend at his home track, once again co-driving the No. 19 Playboy/Uniden Racing Ford Crawford with Guy Cosmo. McDowell has already picked up a victory this season, becoming the first-ever Daytona Prototype qualifying race winner at Virginia International Raceway last month, and he and Cosmo--who continues to fill-in for the injured Memo Gidley--have been on a hot streak of late with fourth-place finishes in the VIR 400 and the Road & Track 250. McDowell stands just three points out of the Daytona Prototype points lead with 205 points.
If the No. 76, No. 39 or No. 19 teams are to celebrate in victory circle this weekend, they will likely have to face down a stiff challenge from a No. 23 team that is adding a new member this weekend. As Long and Rockenfeller have other commitments during Friday's Daytona Prototype qualifying race, German driver Marcel Tiemann has been tabbed by Alex Job Racing to qualify the No. 23 Porsche Crawford.
Tiemann will be tasked with trying to keep the No. 23 team's five-race streak of front-row qualifying performances alive. For the first time in the five races the team has contested (it did not compete in the Mexico City 250), Long and Rockenfeller did not finish on the podium in last weekend's Road & Track 250 owing to a mechanical failure. As a result of their 24th-place Daytona Prototype class finish, Long and Rockenfeller went from a 21-point advantage to a two-point deficit in the championship standings. The duo will return to Phoenix on Saturday looking for their third feature race victory of the season and to reclaim the points lead.
Another driver tandem looking for their third victories of the season this weekend are Luis Diaz and 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion Scott Pruett in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley. The duo won earlier this year in the Mexico City 250 and the Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long beach, and battled to a 10th-place result in last weekend's Road & Track 250. A third win would certainly help them improve from their current position of fifth in the Daytona Prototype championship standings.
Defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli and the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team are in the midst of their first hot streak of the 2006 season. Angelelli and Jan Magnussen co-drove the No. 10 machine to its first victory of the season in the Road & Track 250, two weeks after Angelelli and Wayne Taylor finished second in the VIR 400. As a result, Angelelli has moved back into the top 10 in the Daytona Prototype point standings and heads to Phoenix--where he will once again team with Magnussen--looking to continue its run of success.
Finishing second to the No. 10 team last weekend were Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley. Gurney and Fogarty head to the Valley of the Sun this weekend hoping that performance was just the tip of the iceberg and would love nothing more than to earn their first career Rolex Series victories in the GAINSCO Grand Prix.
Two Daytona Prototype drivers will have the opportunity to sleep in their own beds for this weekend's GAINSCO Grand Prix activities. Phoenix resident Darren Law will share the No. 58 Red Bull Porsche Fabcar with David Donohue with Brumos Racing, while Scottsdale-based owner/driver Adrian Fernandez will once again co-drive the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley with Mario Haberfeld.
Bolstering a solid Daytona Prototype field will be Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel in the No. 89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Casino Pontiac Riley for Pacific Coast Motorsports, 2003 Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller and Harrison Brix co-driving the No. 77 Kodak/Amp'd Mobile/Sirius Ford Doran for Feeds The Need/Doran Racing, Tracy Krohn and Nic Jönsson sharing the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Riley, Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri in the No. 60 Flight Options Nett App Lexus Riley for Michael Shank Racing, Hurley Haywood and JC France sharing the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar, Randy Ruhlman and Chris Bingham in the No. 40 Preformed Line Products/Coyote Closures Pontiac Riley with Derhaag Motorsports, Tim Hubman and Shawn Bayliff co-driving the No. 33 Great Eastern Securities/M-L Lifestyles BMW Picchio for ADi Motorsports, Doug Goad and Larry Oberto in the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford, Burt and Brian Frisselle in the No. 8 GlycoMax Porsche Doran with Synergy Racing, Brian Tuttle and Jonathan Cochet for Tuttle Team Racing in either the team's No. 7 Pontiac Riley or No. 0 BMW Riley, Mike Borkowski and Antoine Bessette in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing/Mears Motor Coach Lexus Riley, Rob Finlay and Michael Valiante in the No. 5 Make A Wish/Z-Line Designs/Finlay Motorsports Ford Crawford with Essex Racing, Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger in the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford for Howard-Boss Motorsports, and Shane Lewis and a co-driver to be named in the No. 3 Southard Motorsports BMW Riley.
Leading a 16-car GT field into the GAINSCO Grand Prix are points co-leaders Marc Bunting and Andy Lally, who share the No. 65 TRG/F1 Air Pontiac GTO.R with RJ Valentine. Bunting and Lally lead the points on the strength of class podium results in four of their five feature races, including a victory in the VIR 400 last month and a second-place outing in the Road & Track 250 last weekend.
Bunting and Lally will be joined in the field by their No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R teammates, Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins. Edwards co-drove the No. 64 machine with Magnussen to the GT victory in the last Rolex Series visit to Phoenix International Raceway last September. Collins and Edwards are currently tied for fifth in the GT championship standings.
Standing between the No. 64 and No. 65 drivers in the point standings are No. 72 NEC Porsche GT3 co-drivers Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler with Tafel Racing. Liddell and Henzler gave the Tafel operation its first-ever Rolex Series class victory in the Road & Track 250, moving the duo just four points behind Bunting and Lally, 215-211, heading into the GAINSCO Grand Prix.
The Grand-Am Cup Series also returns to action this weekend with the Avondale Mazda Twin 200s. Borcheller, who drives the No. 2 Feeds The Need Racing Ford Mustang GT in addition to his Daytona Prototype responsibilities, leads the Grand Sport (GS) championship standings heading into Saturday afternoon's GS-class race, while No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS co-drivers Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran--who have earned class victories in each of their last two Grand-Am Cup starts--lead the way into the ST event later on Saturday afternoon.
The GAINSCO Grand Prix will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by SPEED beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 14. The Avondale Twin 200s will also be televised by SPEED on tape delay beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 14, just prior to the GAINSCO Grand Prix telecast. Live coverage of all activities, including audio webcasts in English and Spanish and live timing & scoring data is available via the official web site of the Grand American Road Racing Association, www.grandamerican.com.
GAINSCO Grand Prix/Avondale Mazda Twin 200s Weekend Fast Facts
WHO: Grand American Road Racing Association
WHAT: Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve
Grand-Am Cup Series
WHERE: Phoenix International Raceway; Phoenix, Ariz.
WHEN: Rolex Series GAINSCO Grand Prix (250.66 miles/166 laps/2 ¾ hour time limit) Saturday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. PT
Grand-Am Cup Avondale Mazda Twin 200s Saturday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m. PT (Grand Sport class) and 4:00 p.m. PT (Street Tuner class)
TV: GAINSCO Grand Prix, SPEED, Tape Delay, Sunday, May 14 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Avondale Twin 200s, SPEED, Tape Delay, Sunday May 14 at 1:00 p.m. ET
2005 RACE WINNERS:
Christian Fittipaldi & Jörg Bergmeister, No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley (Daytona Prototype)
Paul Edwards & Jan Magnussen, No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R (GT)
Grand-Am Cup Series:
Justin Marks & Bill Auberlen, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 (Grand Sport)
Sylvain Tremblay & David Haskell; No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 (Street Tuner)
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets for both races can be purchased at the official website of Phoenix International Raceway, www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com or by calling 602-252-2227 or 866-408-7223.
<pre> EVENT SCHEDULE:
Thursday, May 11 1:00 p.m. -- 1:30 p.m. Rolex Series GT Practice 1:30 p.m. -- 2:30 p.m. Rolex Series Practice (Daytona Prototypes & GT) 2:30 p.m. -- 3:00 p.m. Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Practice 3:15 p.m. -- 3:45 p.m. Grand-Am Cup Grand Sport (GS) Practice 4:00 p.m. -- 4:30 p.m. Grand-Am Cup Street Tuner (ST) Practice 6:00 p.m. -- 6:15 p.m. Grand-Am Cup GS Qualifying 6:30 p.m. -- 6:45 p.m. Grand-Am Cup ST Qualifying 7:00 p.m. -- 8:00 p.m. Rolex Series Practice
Friday, May 12 1:00 p.m. -- 2:00 p.m. Rolex Series Practice 2:15 p.m. -- 2:45 p.m. Grand-Am Cup GS Practice 3:00 p.m. -- 3:30 p.m. Grand-Am Cup ST Practice 4:00 p.m. -- 5:00 p.m. Driver Autograph Session 7:00 p.m. -- 7:30 p.m. Rolex Series GT Qualifying Race 7:45 p.m. -- 8:15 p.m. Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Qualifying Race
Saturday, May 13 1:00 p.m. START -- Grand-Am Cup GS Avondale Mazda Twin 200 (200 miles/133 laps/two-hour time limit) 3:15 p.m. -- 3:45 p.m. Rolex Series Final Practice 4:00 p.m. START -- Grand-Am Cup ST Avondale Mazda Twin 200 (200 miles/133 laps/two-hour time limit 7:00 p.m. START -- Rolex Series GAINSCO Grand Prix (250 miles/166 laps/two-hour and 45-minute time limit)