Mid-Ohio Opens Second Half of Season

June 16, 2010

J.J. O’Malley, GRAND-AM

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Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won the 2009 EMCO Gears Classic in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The second half of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series begins Saturday, June 19 with the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Round 7 of the 12-race season will be a two-hour, 45-minute race at the Lexington, Ohio circuit.

Defending race winners Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas return, and hold an 18-point lead (190-172) in the Daytona Prototype points standings. Leh Keen is seeking his third consecutive Mid-Ohio GT victory, joining James Gue. Keen won with Eric Lux in 2008 and Dirk Werner in 2009.

Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor bring plenty of momentum into the EMCO Gears Classic, scoring podium finishes in the last three races. The pair followed a third at Virginia International Raceway by winning at Lime Rock Park – Taylor’s first Rolex Series victory – and then finished second in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. They enter the second half of the season third in the championship, 24 points behind Pruett and Rojas but six points behind second-place Ryan Dalziel.

The race will be televised live on SPEED (5 p.m. ET) and broadcast live by the Motor Racing Network. Qualifying will be held at 5 p.m. ET Friday, and will be streamed live on SPEED.com starting at 4:55 p.m. ET.

Ohio Teams Look To Rebound In Home State Race

Ohio-based Michael Shank Racing and Team Sahlen will be looking to rebound from incidents at Watkins Glen that badly damaged their race cars in time to be ready for their home state race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The Columbus-based Shank team’s No. 6 CAP & Associates Ford/Riley was engulfed in flames in the late running of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. While Michael Valiante escaped without injuries, the race car sustained extensive damage and will be replaced by a Ford/Dallara for Mid-Ohio. Valiante will drive with Brian Frisselle.

Team Sahlen, headquartered in North Canton, withdrew its No. 43 Mazda RX-8 from Watkins Glen competition after Nick Ham spun and tagged the SAFER Barrier during Friday morning’s opening practice. The team sent the car to Riley Technologies to repair the frame, and then to SpeedSource for further repairs.

A third Ohio-based team came through Watkins Glen without significant damage. Doran Racing, located in Cincinnati, fields a car for Memo Gidley and rookie Dion von Moltke that has five top-10 finishes in six races, with a best finish of fourth at Barber Motorsports Park.

Pruett, Rojas Back On Track, Return To Mid-Ohio With 18-Point Lead

Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas are taking a cautious approach to the second half of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season despite dominating the opening half of the campaign.

“As soon as you start thinking about a championship that is the time you lose it,” said Pruett, who joined Rojas in winning four of the opening six races. “We need to stay focused at every race.”

Pruett and Rojas enter the second half of the season with an 18-point lead (190-172) over Ryan Dalziel, looking for their second Daytona Prototype title in three years.

The TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers finished second in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and then won at Homestead, Barber and Virginia. They recovered from a last-place finish following a first-lap incident in the Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park by winning the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

“It’s too early to take anything for granted,” Rojas said. “Lime Rock taught us that it’s too early for us to talk about winning the championship. We entered that race with a very strong lead, and nearly lost it on the first lap. We cannot take anything for granted. We have to do the best we can and keep pushing to the end.”

Pruett also won the 2004 edition of the Daytona Prototype race at Mid-Ohio with Max Papis.

Which GT Team Can Stop SpeedSource, TRG’s Dominance?

Through six Rolex Series GT races, only two teams have won – SpeedSource and TRG.

SpeedSource has won four of those races, and all three of the team’s cars have won. The championship is led by Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato, who hold the points lead by one (176-175) over Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito. Also with a win this season are Adam Christodoulou and John Edwards. So which team can stop SpeedSource? Perhaps another Mazda team; Mazda is leading the manufacturer standings in a bid for its first series championship.

Leh Keen and James Gue are coming off their second consecutive and third podium of the 2010 season. The only drivers to give Dempsey Racing a podium finish, Keen and Gue are fourth in points.

While they haven’t won a race this season, Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis are fighting hard at fifth in points and earned a best finish of second this season. However, Liddell and Davis have finished second each of the past two years at Mid-Ohio. Liddell won at the track in 2006 with Wolf Henzler.

Other former GT winners are Mid-Ohio that are entered include Eric Lux and Kelly Collins, Bill Auberlen and Wayne Nonnamaker.

Donohue Hits Century Mark

David Donohue began his racing career long before the first Rolex Sports Car Series event Feb. 6, 2000, the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

However, that event kick-started a career that will reach 100 Rolex Series races this weekend at Mid-Ohio. Donohue competed in the Rolex 24 in the GTO class, finishing third, and has competed in all 98 Daytona Prototype races to date. During that span, he has racked up four Daytona Prototype victories, including the 2009 Rolex 24 with current co-driver and Rolex Series starts leader, Darren Law, and 39 top fives.

The pair enter Mid-Ohio sixth in points and looking for their first victory of 2010. Donohue, who holds the qualifying record for a Daytona Prototype, has finished second twice at Mid-Ohio, most recently in 2008.

Rolex Series: By The Numbers

The following are some numbers that may be of interest leading into the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course:

  • 2.258 – Length of track, in miles, of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • 13 – Turns comprising Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • 18 – Current Daytona Prototype point lead by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas over second place in points, Ryan Dalziel
  • 27 – Number of victories by TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in Daytona Prototype competition
  • 30 – Minimum time limit (in minutes) any driver must be in the car to obtain championship points
  • 33 – Drivers who have led at least one lap in GT action this season
  • 38 – Drivers who have led at least one lap in Daytona Prototype action this season
  • 45 – Speed limit (in mph) on pit lane; GT car lead changes this season
  • 63 – Record number of career Rolex Series podium finishes by Andy Lally
  • 93 – Daytona Prototype and overall car lead changes this season
  • 100 – Number of career Rolex Series class races David Donohue will reach this weekend
  • 258 – Record number of Rolex Series GT class podium finishes by Porsche since 2000
  • 459 – Laps led by the No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley team in Daytona Prototype competition this season
  • 1,357 – Laps completed by GT race winners this season
  • 1,441 – Laps completed by Daytona Prototype race winners this season

source  http://www.grand-am.com

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