Utah: SAMAX/Doncaster Racing race report

SAMAX/ Doncaster Racing finished the 2006 season fourth in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT championship, bolstered by a fourth-place class finish in the nine-hour season finale at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday night. Rob Bell, Dave Lacey and...

SAMAX/ Doncaster Racing finished the 2006 season fourth in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT championship, bolstered by a fourth-place class finish in the nine-hour season finale at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday night. Rob Bell, Dave Lacey and Greg Wilkins raced as high as second in class during the final 4.5 hours of the race, but settled for fourth in the final half-hour.

Lacey started the second half of the race in fourth place and gained one position before pitting for a driver change at the end of hour six. Wilkins returned to the track fourth, spun off track in blinding light conditions, but was able to move up to second with consistent driving and a smart fuel strategy. Bell took the wheel for the final 80 minutes, moved from fourth to second, then battled to hold the position in the dark. He slipped a wheel off track and dropped back to finish fourth.

Rob Bell: "At the beginning of the race, if you said we'd come fourth in a nine-hour race, we'd have taken it, for sure. The car ran well -- we didn't have the pace of some of the other cars, but the team did a really good job, the strategy was spot-on and getting in the last stint, I felt pretty confident. I got up to second and then I was battling for a good 10 laps, but it got dark and I didn't have an answer for the 72 car. Eventually, I made a mistake and he got through and we finished fourth. It's a good result, but I'm a little disappointed."

Dave Lacey: "It's a tremendous result for where we were. There are huge variations in the track temperature here between the night-time and the daytime, and even during the day, there are 20-degree fluctuations in temperature. We chased the setup a little bit and finally landed on a good spot and we had a great race car for today. Robert did a great job this evening in the dark -- he's never driven in the dark in a race, so for a first time, I think he did just a fantastic job. We didn't have enough to get a podium result, but we got fourth, which is absolutely terrific. We're thrilled."

Greg Wilkins: "It's been a great season and it's a nice way to finish it off. The team did an awesome job all season and it's just nice to be able to bring it home with a little excitement. We had some fans here [guests of Barrick Gold Corporation] for the race and they were really excited, so I think it motivated everybody to push it just a little bit harder. We made a couple of small mistakes, particularly during the dark when we couldn't see. In the transition [from day to night] with the sun in our eyes, I spun the car and I just couldn't see where I was going. But on balance, we ran a really good race and we earned a good result."

-credit: samax

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Rob Bell , Dave Lacey , Greg Wilkins