Baas and White Battle Back at VIR ALTON, Va., April 29 - Ian Baas and Mark White's 14th-place finish in the Rolex Series GT race certainly doesn't convey the complete picture of the pair's experiences at VIRginia International Raceway ...
Baas and White Battle Back at VIR
ALTON, Va., April 29 - Ian Baas and Mark White's 14th-place finish in the Rolex Series GT race certainly doesn't convey the complete picture of the pair's experiences at VIRginia International Raceway Saturday.
Baas put the At Speed Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup car sixth on the grid in qualifying with a 1:55.711 (101.736 miles per hour), much to the delight of the team's sponsor, Celette, and Baas's marketing partner, APR. He got off to a great start initially but then the car's left-rear tire deflated, causing it to spin off course in the high-speed Turn 10 on lap one.
The Noblesville, Ind.-based driver didn't hit anything and was able to regroup, but not before the rest of the field went by him. The car had some left-rear bodywork damage from flying rubber, and the rear swaybar was cracked. It went a lap down on lap three due to the incident and subsequent pit stop.
Baas was forced to start all over from the rear, but the Noblesville, Ind.-based driver was determined to show the crowd assembled around the 3.27-mile road course what the team could do. Despite the swaybar problem he set the entry's fastest lap of the race on lap four when he was timed in 1:57.113 for an average speed of 100.518 mph.
Although he was in the back of the field and the car was a handful, Baas consistently ran laps that were among the five-fastest throughout the early going of the two-and-a-half-hour race. He brought the car from 25th on lap six to 13th on lap 22, bettering his position by 12 spots in only 16 laps.
He settled into a nice pace at that point, sandwiched between the car that would eventually finish seventh, the Stevenson Motorsports Corvette of Tommy Riggins and Vic Rice, and one of the top-running Mustangs, the Blackforest Motorsports No. 15 of Tom Nastasi and Alex Tagliani.
Baas ran in 13th place for 11 laps until he pitted on lap 32 to let White take over. The car dropped to 19th due to the pit stop and more trouble on lap 40, when White was hit in the rear and lost part of the car's back bumper on the front straightaway.
White had a close call when Daniel DiLeo spun, but he continued to do the best he could despite the rear swaybar. He spent most of his stint in a battle with two TRG Porsches and finished between them in 14th place, three laps down to the winning Porsche of Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner.
At the checkered Ross Smith and DiLeo's Porsche was about 1 second ahead of White, while a similar Porsche driven by Jim Lowe and Jim Pace was 4 seconds behind it.
Baas will miss the next Rolex Series race because he'll be competing in the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah that weekend, May 17-19. His next Rolex Series race will be over the Memorial Day holiday at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. He'll do double-duty that weekend, as the Touring Car series is also appearing on that card.