Bobbi Leads 19 Laps at the Glen In Saturday's Crown Royal 250 Rolex Series Race In Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve No. 77 WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Sept. 24 - Matteo Bobbi led 19 laps of Saturday's Crown Royal 250 Rolex series race at...
Bobbi Leads 19 Laps at the Glen In Saturday's Crown Royal 250 Rolex Series Race In Doran Racing's Crown Royal Special Reserve No. 77
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Sept. 24 - Matteo Bobbi led 19 laps of Saturday's Crown Royal 250 Rolex series race at Watkins Glen International and the Doran Racing team had enough fuel to go the rest of the distance after its one pit stop. Unfortunately right after that pit stop and driver change to let Fabrizio Gollin take over the controls of the Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Ford No. 77, the car was a victim of a seven-car accident in turns one and two on lap 43 which forced it out of what turned out to be a 66-lap race.
Luckily Gollin wasn't hurt despite having a car spin right in front of him while simultaneously another car plowed into the rear of the No. 77. Several other cars hit him in the fracas too, but he emerged unhurt thanks in large part to the quality construction of the Doran Designs-built machine.
Before the accident both of the DORAN JE4s in the field were extremely impressive. For 13 laps of the 19 laps it led, the Crown Royal DORAN JE4 Ford topped the entire field with the Rx.com/Synergy Racing DORAN JE4 BMW in second place.
But when the official rundown was posted the Crown Royal car finished 32nd overall and 19th in the Daytona Prototype class while the Rx.com DORAN JE4 was 14th in both categories.
Although Bobbi originally qualified fifth, posting the team's fourth top-five qualifying result in the last five races, he actually started fourth when the Krohn Racing/TRG No. 66 was sent to the rear of the Daytona Prototype field after it failed to pass post-qualifying technical inspection.
Bobbi got off to a terrific start, immediately passing Burt Frisselle in the Rx.com DORAN JE4 to vault into third before the end of lap one. He took the lead on lap 12 when the pole-winning CompUSA No. 01 and the New Century Mortgage No. 02 both pitted under caution.
Bobbi posted the sixth-fastest lap of the race on lap 21, but lapped traffic allowed Burt Frisselle in the No. 8 to draw to within 0.423 seconds of Bobbi around lap 23. Shortly thereafter Bobbi radioed in that he had a vibration due to flat-spotting one of his Hoosier tires.
Frisselle pitted on lap 25 under yellow to give second place to the CompUSA No. 01, but Bobbi did a fantastic job on the restart on lap 28 to continue to lead the field despite the tire issue.
The Krohn Racing/TRG No. 66 got around the CompUSA No. 01 for second on lap 30. Trying his best to avoid an accident and realizing that he would be pitting on the next available yellow, Bobbi let both of those cars by on the inside of turn seven on lap 31 and the SunTrust No. 10 by on the outside of turn eight on lap 31.
He was sixth when he made his pit stop on lap 40 to let Gollin take over. After the stop the entry was 15th for the restart on lap 43 right before the big wreck of the day.
The accident started when Max Papis in the Krohn Racing No. 66 made contact with the Howard-Boss Motorsports No. 4 between turns one and two, sending the nose of the No. 4 flying high in the air. A few seconds later even more trouble erupted behind them. Besides the Crown Royal No. 77, other cars that were involved in "part two" of the accident were the Red Bull/Brumos No. 58, the Howard-Boss No. 06, the TPC Racing No. 38 and the Synergy Racing No. 80.
"A car spun in front of me and another one hit me hard in the back," Gollin reported on the radio.
"It was a good run for us before the accident," Bobbi said afterwards. "The car was more or less good everywhere. We had enough fuel to go the distance and we were in good shape for the rest of the race."
The SunTrust No. 10 ended up winning the two-hour-and-45 minute race, which was held on the Glen's 3.4-mile long course. One of the drivers of that car, Max Angelelli, led the most laps (27), but Bobbi was second in those standings.
The race was the Saturday headliner prior to Sunday's inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage Indy Racing League IndyCar event.
It was televised live on SPEED.
The next Rolex series race is at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. Oct. 9.
For more information please see doranracing.com and crownroyal.com. Matteobobbi.com has information on that driver, while Gollin's Web site is at fabriziogollin.com.
Other interesting information can be found at grandamerican.com, theglen.com, speedtv.com and restartcommunications.com.