DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - After four free weekends, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series races twice in less than one week. The Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen is the second race of a busy week that takes the series to the midway point. The week...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - After four free weekends, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series races twice in less than one week. The Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen is the second race of a busy week that takes the series to the midway point.
The week opened Monday with the Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park. This upcoming weekend, Watkins Glen International hosts the series' second longest race. Practice and qualifying at WGI will take place on Friday in preparation for Saturday's endurance classic.
Max Angelelli (No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara) hopes to count down to victory at The Glen. He was third at the track in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and finished second last year. Angelelli, however, won twice at WGI in 2005 en route to winning the Daytona Prototype championship with Wayne Taylor.
Angelelli and new co-driver Ricky Taylor won Monday's race at Lime Rock. Car owner Wayne Taylor-Ricky's father-will join the driving lineup at The Glen.
With GAINSCO, Johnson Set For First Long Course Event
Reigning four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet Riley) will join defending Daytona Prototype champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.
Johnson has seven starts in the Rolex Series - all at Daytona International Speedway - finishing second twice with six top-10 finishes. Johnson raced in eight Sprint Cup Series races at The Glen, starting on the pole twice with three top fives, including third in 2007.
The biggest hurdle this weekend - the driver change.
"It seems like it'd be a piece of cake, but it's tough when the engine's running and you actually have to do it," Johnson said. "It's a really tough challenge. And I think that the multiple driver changes in the 24 hour race will help, but that's definitely going to be a spot I'm nervous about and am worried about making a mistake."
While Johnson has raced on the 2.45-mile short course at Watkins Glen - scoring three top-five finishes in Sprint Cup competition - this will be his first attempt on the traditional 3.4-mile circuit. He's used iRacing to grow accustomed to the longer course.
"Yea, (Dale Earnhardt) Jr. set it up for me," he said. "So we'll find out after I make a lap or two in practice how accurate it is. It seems like, based on running the part of the track that I'm familiar with, that it's very accurate. So I think it will help. I recognize that there's some really blind corners down in the other section that I've never been on before and I think all the repetition I've made on the computer game should help."
The GAINSCO team has been successful at Watkins Glen in the past. Gurney and Fogarty swept the races at WGI in 2007, and the team's first pole position came at the track in 2006.
Pruett, Rojas Seek Third Consecutive Sahlen's Six Hours Victory
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley) return to Watkins Glen International seeking their third consecutive victory in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen - and look to return to championship form after a first-lap incident at Lime Rock Park slashed their commanding lead in the standings.
The duo entered Monday's Memorial Day Classic with a 21-point lead in the Daytona Prototype championship. Moments after the green flag waved, Rojas went off course in Turn 1 while attempting to pass Jon Fogarty (No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet Riley), who with co-driver Alex Gurney has been their toughest rival in the championship since 2007.
Rojas and Pruett were able to return to the race at reduced speed, driving the minimum time in order to score points while finishing last in the 26-car field.
Ryan Dalziel (No. 8 Corsa Car Care BMW Riley) went on to finish second with Starworks Motorsport, drawing to within seven points of the point lead. Dalziel and Mike Forest gave the new team its best finish. Dalziel won the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, driving for Action Express Racing.
The Lime Rock incident ended a three-race winning streak after the Ganassi team opened the year by finishing second in the Rolex 24.
Pruett has been the ironman on the team's past two victories in the Sahlen's Six Hours, closing out both races.
SpeedSource Stays On Roll; All Three Cars Have Victories In 2010
When Adam Christodoulou and John Edwards (No. 68 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda RX-8) won Monday's Memorial Day Classic, it gave SpeedSource four victories in five 2010 events - with all three of the team's cars winning races.
The two rookie drivers, who have worked their way up the Mazda driver development ladder program, shared a brand-new Mazda RX-8. The car was assembled by the Florida-based team over the past month, with work beginning following the first test at Lime Rock in late April.
Both drivers are making their first Rolex Series appearances at Watkins Glen.
SpeedSource opened the year with Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito (No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8) winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Nick Ham and David Haskell. Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal (No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8) won races at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park.
Assentato, Segal Increase GT Lead
Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal finished third in Monday's Memorial Day Classic, giving the drivers of the No. 69 Mazda RX-8 its fourth consecutive GT podium finish, and increasing their lead in the championship.
A 16th-place finish in the Rolex 24 was not the best way for Assentato and Segal, the 2008 Sahlen's Six Hours GT winners, to open the 2010 Rolex Series GT championship, but they have since been on a roll. The pair followed up wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park with a second-place finish at VIR.
The Lime Rock Park podium gives them 148 points, five more (148-143) than Rolex 24 winners and SpeedSource teammates Jonathan Bomarito and Sylvain Tremblay. Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell (No. 57 BryanMark Financial/Vin Solutions Camaro) remain third.
Teams Call On Third Drivers For Sahlen's Six Hours
Several teams have added a driver to their lineup for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, the second-longest race on the schedule.
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing has four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titlist Jimmie Johnson (No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet Riley) set to drive with Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty.
Nick Ham (No. 43 Sahlen's Mazda RX-8), part of the winning SpeedSource lineup at the 2010 Rolex 24, will co-drive with Wayne Nonnamaker at Team Sahlen. That is the same car-the former No. 70 Castrol Syntec entry-that Ham drove for SpeedSource in the past.
Butch Leitzinger (No. 59 Brumos.com Porsche Riley), three-time overall winner of the Rolex 24, rejoins Brumos Racing, co-driving with David Donohue and Darren Law.
Wayne Taylor (No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara), two-time Rolex 24 champ, will drive with Lime Rock winners Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor.
Starworks Motorsport added drivers to both of its cars. Former Champ Car winner Nelson Philippe (No. 7 Flex-Box BMW Riley) joins Kasper Andersen and Bill Lester, while James Davison (No. 8 Corsa Car Care BMW Riley) joins Ryan Dalziel and Mike Forest.
Two-time Daytona Prototype winner JC France (No. 9 Action Express Racing Porsche Riley) is set for his first start with Rolex 24 winners Action Express Racing, joining Terry Borcheller and Joao Barbosa.
Two-time Jim Trueman Award winner Mark Patterson (No. 6 CAP & Associates Ford Riley) joins Brian Frisselle and Michael Valiante.
Car owner and WGI veteran Lou Gigliotti (No. 28 LG Motorsports Corvette) will drive with Kelly Collins and Eric Lux.