Watkins Glen: GM Racing preview

Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Ready For Six Hours At The Glen Banner Looking For Number Two In GT Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT teams are gearing up for the second distance race of the season, the Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen and round six of...

Pontiac Grand-Am Teams Ready For Six Hours At The Glen
Banner Looking For Number Two In GT

Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT teams are gearing up for the second distance race of the season, the Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen and round six of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve to be run on Saturday, June 9.

The historic Watkins Glen International raceway, featuring a 3.4-mile layout and 11-turns, is home to the third longest race on the Rolex Series schedule. The six-hour race will see the GT and DP cars running together for the first time since Mexico City in March.

In DP, Pontiac has maintained a perfect pole qualifying streak for 2007. The top starting position has been dominated by Pontiac power, three teams, and four drivers. Colin Braun in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley took the pole in Mexico City and at Virginia International Raceway. Jan Magnussen in the No. 10 SunTrust entry had the top spot at Homestead. Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the GAINSCO Pontiac have two point starts to their credit, one at the Rolex 24 and the second at Laguna Seca.

Gurney and Fogarty would like to get their second win on the season, the first coming at Mexico City. The California duo have been at the head of the field all season, consistently qualifying first or second in every race so far.

"I'm really excited to go racing again at Watkins Glen, another one of the classic road courses on the Grand-Am schedule," Gurney said. "Our car and Pontiac engine package has been so good lately that I just cannot wait to get to the race track! We finished second last year and I think we're in a great position to go one better this year. With this race being a six-hour event, we're just going to focus on being smart in traffic and hopefully have an intact car for the last hour. We're a little behind in points, but our goal is definitely to win this championship."

The No. 10 SunTrust Wayne Taylor Racing team will welcome a new driver to the fold at The Glen. Frenchman Jonathan Cochet will share driving duties with seasoned veteran Max Angelelli. Cochet brings a wealth of open-wheel experience as well as some DP driving miles to the SunTrust camp for this weekend's race.

"I have experience in Grand-Am Daytona Prototypes with SAMAX and Tuttle over the last two-years," Cochet said. "It is a great opportunity for me to drive with one of the top, if not thee top team in the series. This will be my first visit to the famous Watkins Glen circuit, but I am familiar with the Pontiac engine and Riley chassis and with Max knowing the track he will probably handle most of the setup, all I have to do is learn the track and get up to speed. I am used to the longer races, as I run 1,000-kilometer races in Europe, so I am looking forward to more seat time in the DP car."

The Krohn Racing team is the defending six-hour winners from last year. Colin Braun could not participate in the win last year as cigarette marketing contracts with the track precluded the 17-year old from driving. Now 18, and with Pontiac power and teammate Max Papis, the youngster believes they have a great chance to defend.

"Last year, we won the six-hour, but I couldn't drive." Braun said. "We have been strong all season. The team was tough there last year and took the win with me on the pit box instead of in the car. Everyone is working hard, we tested last week at Mid-Ohio, so we have kept the development curve strong. Our car does really well on used tires, so we will be ready for the long green runs at the Glen. Having the GT cars back will be good for us, we are strong in traffic. In qualifying we will want to start up front so we can get a rhythm going before catching GT traffic."

The No. 91 Riley-Mathews Motorsports Pontiac Riley driven by Jim Mathews and Marc Goosens is looking to be a factor in the race this weekend. The duo have improved with every race outing are gunning for a top finish.

"My first race at The Glen was the six-hour last year," Goosens said. "Then I raced in the Nextel Cup event on the short track. Like any other track you need to find the compromise between a good car under braking, low and high speed corners and the right straight line speed. But, going through the turns up the hill is important for the straight line speed up to the chicane. It is quite a challenge going flat uphill through the esses, but also the downhill is rather technical from a driver's standpoint and that's what I like."

Andy Pilgrim will join Tim Lewis Jr. and Leighton Reese in the No. 06 Pontiac GXP.R. at The Glen. All three drivers are coming off of a win last week with Reese and Lewis Jr. victorious at Lime Rock and Pilgrim a winner at Charlotte in the Cadillac CTSV World Challenge car.

"We are going into the Glen on a high note winning the last race," Reese said. "The team is building momentum and is really coming together. It took a few races for the guys to click, but I think we have it going in the right direction. Watkins Glen is a longer track, longer race and I am optimistic about our chances. Andy Pilgrim will be there to help out, so we will have three guys in action in the 06. We haven't raced with the DPs in a couple of races and the weather may be an issue as well. We will be loaded for bear and looking for win number two."

Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins currently sit third in the GT driver point standings. The pair has been fast all year and have led significant laps in the last two events at Lime Rock and Laguna Seca. They will bring their poise and No. 07 Banner Pontiac GXP.R to The Glen looking for their first win on the season.

"We led a lot of laps at Lime Rock," Collins said. "I am looking forward to The Glen. The DP cars will be a factor in our race. It will be survival of the fittest. A lot of the outcome can be determined by the DPs with traffic and strategy. I think the car will be great, we may lose a little up the back straight to the Bus Stop turn, but the rest of the track will be really good for the GXP.R. I hope we can finish what we had started at Lime Rock."

The green flag will drop on the Six Hours of The Glen on Saturday, June 9 at 11:00 a.m. The race will be televised on SPEED Channel in two segments. The first will start at 11:00 a.m. EDT the second segment will rejoin the action at 2:30 p.m. and go to the finish.

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jonathan Cochet , Alex Gurney , Paul Edwards , Jan Magnussen , Max Papis , Jon Fogarty , Andy Pilgrim , Wayne Taylor , Colin Braun , Kelly Collins , Leighton Reese , Max Angelelli , Tim Lewis
Teams Krohn Racing , Wayne Taylor Racing