Doran-Lista WINS Sahlen's 200 at the Glen Friday Night WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Aug. 13 - Team owner Kevin Doran's slick move to have Jan Magnussen duck into the pits for slick Goodyears late in the race coupled with some slick driving by both ...
Doran-Lista WINS Sahlen's 200 at the Glen Friday Night
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Aug. 13 - Team owner Kevin Doran's slick move to have Jan Magnussen duck into the pits for slick Goodyears late in the race coupled with some slick driving by both Magnussen and Didier Theys earned the Doran-Lista team the victory in Friday night's Sahlen's 200 Rolex series race at Watkins Glen International.
The Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus #27 was in fifth or sixth place for most of the race, which was televised on SPEED Friday night. Magnussen had just passed Cort Wagner for fourth when a full-course yellow waved for an errant Porsche in the esses with 23 minutes left in the two-hour race.
Magnussen had been dashing through as many puddles as he could find on the course to cool his rain tires at the time, and Doran used that opportunity to bring his car into the pits for slicks.
It proved to be the winning move. The timing of the pit stop was such that Magnussen didn't lose much track position, as he restarted in sixth place when the green flag waved again with just 12 minutes remaining. He took fifth from the Red Bull FABCAR Porsche #58 at the top of the hill on lap 64. Everyone on the team's hearts skipped a beat when another yellow came out an instant later. It didn't last long, however, and Magnussen passed the Rx.com/G&W DORAN JE4 BMW #81, the CompUSA Riley Lexus #01 and the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac #54 all on the same lap to vault into second place. He took the lead from Max Angelelli in the SunTrust Riley Pontiac #10 in turn 11 on lap 67 with just six minutes left, much to the delight of everyone associated with the Lebanon, Ohio-based team.
Two other teams opted to also pit for slicks late in the race. One of those cars, another DORAN JE4 Lexus fielded by Michael Shank Racing, went on to finish second. The SunTrust team rounded out the podium finishers. The Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac was fourth. The CompUSA Riley Lexus of Max Papis and Scott Pruett finished fifth followed by the fourth DORAN JE4 in the field, the Rx.com/G&W Motorsports entry, in sixth.
Theys drove the first stint of the race, making the team's first pit stop for rain tires, fuel and Magnussen to get in on lap 34 under a full-course caution for a multi-car accident in turn 11. The track conditions were like ice at the time. Theys did a 180-spin at the pit entrance but didn't hit anything, successfully dodging a bullet for the eventual winning effort.
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Didier Theys: "We learned the hard way last year when we stayed a little too long on the rain tires. We discussed it before the race; we know that this track gets dry very fast, even with the humidity. That's how we decided on the last yellow to go with slicks, even if it was hard for Jan on the first few laps, because the line was still kind of wet. But I think it was the best strategy of the day.
"Our car had a little bit of understeer when I was driving. It was raining hard everywhere when I came in. I did a 180 spin at the entrance to the pits. I put the clutch in but I couldn't hold it. The track was like ice.
"Watkins Glen has a place in my heart. When I came here in 1985, I won my first race here in the United States in Super Vees. I won the six-hour race twice.
"Everybody did a perfect job today."
Jan Magnussen: "I wanted slicks, but we knew there was a chance for a yellow. We talked about it for three seconds, and decided it was probably a good idea. I won't say it was great driving at the end because it's easier to beat everybody when you have slicks and they're on wets. But we won the race on the right decision at the right time.
"We have a good car and a good team. I was confident that we'd be fast in the rain or the dry. I used up the rain tires pretty bad.
"It was understeering in the wet a little, but the car was good. I played with the traction control to see if I could make it better."
Kevin Doran: "We out-foxed them on tire strategy. When the yellow waved, I said 'Jan, pit, pit pit!' We just barely got in on that lap, but that gave us good track position on the restart.
"Last year we didn't get on slicks quick enough, so we knew we wanted to get on them quickly today. We figured that as long as it stayed dry, we had it in the bag. If it would have rained again, our gamble wouldn't have paid off.
"We needed this win. It couldn't come at a better time. DORAN JE4s were first, second, fourth and sixth."