Watkins Glen II: Pacific Coast Motorsports race report

Pacific Coast takes eighth on Watkins return Ventura, California (August 12, 2006) -- Pacific Coast Motorsports picked up a welcome return to the top-ten last night as Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel piloted the team's ...

Pacific Coast takes eighth on Watkins return

Ventura, California (August 12, 2006) -- Pacific Coast Motorsports picked up a welcome return to the top-ten last night as Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel piloted the team's #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype to an eighth place finish in the 'Crown Royal 200 at The Glen', Round 12 of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series hosted at Watkins Glen International Circuit, New York.

Pacific Coast's return to Watkins Glen proved to be a more positive affair following a two-race slump blighted by time consuming trips behind the wall and lowly finishes. Having taken a tenth place finish on their first visit to the New York track back in June, last night's 200-mile race, with no fewer than six full-course caution periods running on the short course, saw Figge and Dalziel back in the points finishing eighth despite an earlier 'stop-and-go' penalty.

Alex Figge took the start of the race sitting eleventh in the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley and despite firing it into the top-ten quickly, his hopes of early progress were to be disrupted with full-course cautions falling on lap 2, lap 7 and once more on lap 15.

The Daytona Prototype-only race managed to get some green flag action in following the early interruptions but as the first hour of racing rolled off the clock the yellows came out again on lap 32 for contact between the #77 Ford and the #8 Porsche at Turn 8. The majority of the field seized the opportunity under caution to make their pit stops and driver changes and Alex Figge duly handed over the #89 Pontiac Riley to Ryan Dalziel.

The team's race took a turn for the worse on lap 52 as it was handed a 'stop-and-go' penalty apparently for avoidable contact at the first turn with the #5 Finlay Motorsports Ford Crawford driven by Michael Valiante. The Canadian racer squeezed Dalziel attempting to pass the Scotsman on the outside line, the pair clashed and officials made a questionable call against the Pacific Coast racer.

Dalziel served the penalty five laps later and spent the remainder of the race recovering lost ground, climbing back to a respectable eighth place at the checkered to score the team's first top-ten finish since Round 9 at Mid-Ohio in June. The 'Crown Royal 200 at The Glen' was won by Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz driving the #01 Lexus Riley, their fourth Daytona Prototype victory of the season.

Reflecting on a lively Friday evening PCM Team Director Tyler Tadevic remarked:

"We'll take the eighth place! We feel we were unfairly penalized with the stop-go penalty. The #5 car tried to pass us on the outside going into Turn 1 with a bunch of traffic around. He tried to push the issue and we more or less got pushed off course. Basically he was trying to pass where you can't! We ended up getting the penalty though as is typical of the series, I guess we haven't paid our dues yet as a rookie team so it was our fault even though it wasn't our fault!

"Ryan did a good job trying to climb back through the field with the short amount of time we had left. It was too bad, we felt we had a podium car here tonight. We had a better race than some of the teams around us in the points so we'll take this result, especially after our last two events, and move on to the next race on home turf back in California."

Ryan Dalziel was similarly displeased with the penalty assessment:

"I think it was pretty unfair to penalize me when I was being forced off track by Valiante just so he could make his move stick. It's a shame as we had a great car here tonight and if it hadn't been for the penalty we could have been right up there challenging for a top-three finish. As it is we still came home in the top-ten, we said we wanted to enjoy a strong finish to the season over the last three races so this is a good start although we know we deserved better."

Echoing his team-mates thoughts on the Friday night action at Watkins Alex Figge said:

"The points for eighth are welcome make no mistake but I think tonight's a case of what might have been! It was just so frustrating at the start, just as we'd get racing again there'd be another full-course caution. It makes it pretty difficult to get into a decent rhythm but we got going eventually and the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley was up there setting some pretty decent lap times. Ryan did well to keep us in the points after the penalty, hopefully we'll get a clean run in California next time out."

The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series now travels back west to Infineon Raceway, just north of San Francisco, for Round 13, Thursday 24th -- Saturday 26th August.

-credit: PCM

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Scott Pruett , Michael Valiante , Luis Diaz , Alex Figge