AIM Autosport ...
AIM Autosport #61 is P6 at VIR
Friselle and Wilkins drive to season's second best result and another top ten.
Alton, VA - April 27, 2008: The day started with wet conditions but both Mark and Brian felt the car was strong on the rains and they would end the session P2. There was a chance of rain for race time so the drivers of the Exchange Traded Gold #61 Ford Riley were confident they had the car to run in any condition today.
The track was dry by race time with overcast skies. Brian would take the green and settle into third place and a lead group of three started to pull away from the field. Brian was within striking distance of the leader.
A full course caution on lap eight had the team call Brian in for a timed fuel stop on lap eleven. The #61 would exit the pits P8 and by lap fifteen, was back up to P4. Brian sat in a group of DP cars caught in slower traffic presenting few opportunities to pass but he was running faster times than the DP cars ahead. Brian was sitting P2 when another full course caution came out. The team pitted for tires, fuel and a driver change.
To this point in the race, Brian had the fastest lap.
With Mark at the controls, the #61 came out P6 in good position and ahead of some of the main series rivals. He was closing on the cars in front and set a fast lap of 1:15:501 on lap 36. Mark kept a consistent pace and moved to P3 through traffic and eventually P2. Pit strategies played into the hands of the #61 and Mark would go P1 before coming in for a splash-and-dash to get them to the end of the race.
Back on track P4, Mark then encountered a back marker. Coming up on some GT traffic, and under braking, Mark hit the rear of the back marker and officials called in a stop and go penalty for the contact. Unfortunately it would turn into a drive through and a stop-and-go when there was some miscommunication about where Mark should stop to serve the penalty. He would re-enter the track P7.
The day's third full course caution bunched up the field but there would be lapped cars and GT traffic to deal with on the restart. Mark would make it up to P6 but was running out of laps. He would continue to make his way through traffic and close the gap to the car ahead.
In the end, the AIM Autosport Exchange Traded Gold #61 Ford Riley would cross the checkers P6.
“After the stop-and-go I got a bit frustrated” commented Mark. “It was pretty annoying to be blocked by lapped traffic, hitting me through the turns. The penalty hurt us in that regard.” He continued to say “:The car was great though. A bit loose and hard to handle at the end, but we are happy to bring the car home for some much needed points.”
Brian Frisselle commented, "The Ford Riley was very fast again and both Mark and I turned some very quick laps. But sometimes traffic, especially lapped, cars can be tough to deal with and we got caught in a situation that cost us some track positions. We are on the edge of getting a good result. It is just a matter of time."
AIM Autosport principal Ian Willis summed up the days results. “Even though it was our second highest series finish the whole team is diasappointed with the end result. Everybody on the team did a fabulous job and we know that a podium is in our future......we just can't wait.”
The team has a couple of weeks to regroup before heading to the next round of the Rolex Grand Am Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California May 16-18