Pacific Coast enjoys lead laps but bad luck blunts season closer Ventura, California (September 04, 2006) -- Saturday's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season-finale, Round 14's 'Discount Tire Chaser' hosted at Miller Motorsports Park, ...
Pacific Coast enjoys lead laps but bad luck blunts season closer
Ventura, California (September 04, 2006) -- Saturday's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season-finale, Round 14's 'Discount Tire Chaser' hosted at Miller Motorsports Park, turned out to be a microcosm of Pacific Coast Motorsports' rookie year in the Daytona Prototype class campaigning the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley.
Once again the team demonstrated front-running pace, assuming the lead of the nine hour race around the stunning new 4.486-mile layout just outside Salt Lake City, only to see bad luck thwart their efforts and restrict their potential.
A familiar story for the Ventura-based outfit throughout the season, this time round it was a broken steering block which put paid to the hopes of Alex Figge, Ryan Dalziel and David Empringham, the trio suffering similar mechanical frustrations at the start of the season in the Rolex 24 at Daytona back in January. Saturday's race ended with the #89 Pontiac Riley seven laps down on the leaders, a 13th place classified finish scant reward for what had looked like being a promising weekend for the team.
Friday's qualifying session saw Ryan Dalziel pilot the car to a seventh place grid slot and the Scottish ace picked the pace up further to start the race and climb as high as second just 16 laps into the endurance event. He remained at the sharp end of the race, including a routine fuel stop on lap 28, before taking the lead three laps later. Tragically the team's early promise was compromised just four tours later as Dalziel pitted with steering problems.
While Figge took over and got going again on lap 38 the damage had already been done as precious laps were surrendered to the lead pack. The remainder of the race saw all three drivers enjoy competitive stints but another costly stop nearly six hours into the race on lap 125 dropped them back even further. Having posted back-to-back top-ten finishes in the previous two races, including a fifth place run at Infineon Raceway the week before, Saturday's season-finale closed with a 13th place finish seven laps down on the race winning #60 Lexus Riley.
Pacific Coast Motorsports ends the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series 12th overall in the Daytona Prototype Team Standings with the highlight of the season the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley's second place podium finish in Round 7's 'GAINSCO Grand Prix' at the Phoenix International Raceway back in May.
Reflecting on another competitive but troubled outing for the #89 Pontiac Riley, Tyler Tadevic, PCM Team Director commented:
"For sure we had a car to win the race but what unfolded basically typifies the kind of season we've had with the #89 car, a lot of promise combined with bad luck. We were in the lead by a long way when the steering block on the right side broke. The frustrating thing is that once we sorted out all the problems the car ran flawlessly but we'd lost so much time on the leaders there was little we could do other than bring it home to the finish.
"It was an extremely disappointing way to end the season not least as I think we were better than the competition today but like I said, that's been the way of our first year in Grand-Am, super fast but without the results we had hoped at the flag."
Pacific Coast Motorsports announced at the weekend that in addition to returning to Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series competition in 2007 they will also field a two car Champ Car World Series team next season with Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel set for a return to open-wheel competition where they forged their reputations, as did the team winning the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship.