Watkins Glen II: GM Racing preview

Pontiac Readies for Round Two at the Glen Spirit of Daytona Prepares with New Driver with ...

Pontiac Readies for Round Two at the Glen
Spirit of Daytona Prepares with New Driver with #09 Pontiac Crawford

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series is heading back to Watkins Glen, N.Y. this week to run another round with NASCAR. For the Spirit of Daytona racing team, it's a chance to better their tenth-place finish here two months ago at the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen endurance race. This time, the team will have only one Pontiac-powered Daytona Prototype Crawford as opposed to two, and longtime Spirit of Daytona co-driver Stephan Gregoire will be replaced by Marc-Antoine Camirand. Having raced the Glen before (and setting a track record here in the USF series) Camirand brings experience to the team and they are preparing for this race much as they normally would.

"We prepare for Watkins Glen the same we prepare for any track," said team owner Troy Flis. "However, there are a few things that we do alter while getting the car ready. We have numerous checklists to go over to make sure that every part on and in the car has received the attention that it needs. The only changes that we make specifically for the Glen are gear changes and a setup change. Compared to a track like Barber, Watkins Glen has higher speeds and less grip so we do a suspension change, aerodynamic change, and gearbox change to get more downforce and taller gearing."

Due to the fact that this is the second out of three times the Rolex Series comes to the Glen this year, it gives Pontiac teams and their competition a chance to judge the progress they have made on the cars. They will compare data they have accumulated here from June's endurance race and make comparisons to what they gain from Friday's CompUSA 200, which will be much shorter but still tough as the humidity will not be any better than it was back in June.

"The humidity will definitely be a factor in the race but both drivers will only run stints of just over an hour," said Doug Goad, co-driver of the #09 Pontiac Crawford. "It shouldn't be that bad. What's important for me is that I'll need to clear my head of all my business matters (Doug is executive vice president at Wheel to Wheel/Tecstar in Michigan, a supplier to GM) for a little while and focus on the task at hand, which is running a good race. We've also had this little black cloud hanging over us for the better part of the season; we suffered a delaminated fuel cell at Barber and we're hoping to avoid any mishaps this race."

The #09 Pontiac has some strokes of bad luck this season; most recently a delaminated fuel cell forced the car's early withdrawal from the event at Barber Motorsports Park on July 31. However, the team has not let these mishaps hinder them and continue to move forward with car development, their goal of moving up in the team standings and helping Pontiac win the manufacturer's championship.

Pontiac GTO.Rs Gain Power for Watkins Glen International

Helping Pontiac move up in the manufacturers standings in the GT class of the Rolex Series are the two new Pontiac GTO.Rs which made their debut five weeks ago at Daytona. With fourth- and fifth place finishes at Barber recently, the TRG-campaigned cars are poised for another top-five finish at the Glen this week. The cars are gaining four millimeters of intake area as Grand American is allowing the restrictor to be changed from a 58mm inlet to 62mm.

"We're glad Grand American is allowing this restrictor change," said Paul Edwards, co-driver of the #64 Pontiac GTO.R. "We can definitely feel the power loss with it on there, and since this is a higher speed track than Barber, we'd really like to have all we can get. The GTO.R is a very competitive race car-we've proved that at Barber-but we still could use that last bit of untapped power so we can demonstrate what this car is all about."

NASCAR Star Tony Stewart to Pilot Pontiac in CompUSA 200

Andy Wallace, the veteran race car driver who normally shares the #2 CITGO-Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford with Milka Duno will team with NASCAR star Tony Stewart in the #20 CITGO/MDA Pontiac from Howard-Boss. For the third time this season, Stewart joins Wallace in a Pontiac-powered Crawford. Stewart has won four out of the last six NASCAR Nextel Cup races and is an accomplished road racer as well; Stewart, Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace finished third at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in early February. Stewart has also won the last two road course races on the Nextel Cup schedule.

"I always look forward to the road courses just because it's a weekend of something different from what we've done the past five or 10 weekends," said Stewart. "We go to a road course just like we do any track. We go there to win.

"I've had so much fun with the Pontiac brand and everyone at GM has been behind me running a Pontiac even though I'm with a Chevrolet in the Cup side. They are excited to see me back and it's neat to see how everyone at GM rallies around each other like that."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Milka Duno , Tony Stewart , Stephan Gregoire , Marc-Antoine Camirand , Doug Goad