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Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen

Posted by paul on 06/27/2012

6/27/12  Reach For The Starworks: DP Team Amid Historic Season
Starworks Motorsport has established itself as a worldwide sports car force this season, but surprisingly still seeks its first victory in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series. Thanks to a season-opening runner-up finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the team is second in the North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.COM standings coming into Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International.

Sunday’s race is the second of the three NAEC events; the three-race inaugural championship ends on July 27 with the three-hour Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speed-way. If Starworks is able to win the NAEC title – and the accompanying $100,000 payout to the winning team – it would complete an unbelievable run of success. After the near-win at Daytona, Starworks headed to the 12 Hours of Sebring in March and posted a prototype class victory. Earlier this month they produced another class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

An NAEC title? It could happen, because Starworks – led by regular co-drivers Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio – obviously is adept at rolling out big-time performances on their sport’s biggest stage. And for the Glen’s extended run, they’ll be joined by four-time Champ Car World Series titlist Sebastien Bourdais.

“So now it looks like a whole dream season here,” Dalziel said, “And we are pushing our-selves to do as much as we can at the Six Hours and again at the Indy race, as well.”

 

North American Endurance Championship Continues This Weekend
Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen takes on added significance in 2012, when it serves as the second round of GRAND-AM’s inaugural North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.COM.

The NAEC rewards competitors in the three longest races in the Rolex Series. It opened with the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, continues with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, and ends with the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27 as part of the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard.

The DP champion team receives $100,000 with GT champions getting $50,000.

Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian took a two-point lead over Starworks Motorsport in the DP class with its Rolex 24 victory (16-14). TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is third with 13 points, followed by Spirit of Daytona, with 11.

Ozz Negri and John Pew lead the drivers entered in the Sahlen’s Six Hours with 16 points, followed by Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio, Alex Popow and Lucas Luhr with 14, and Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas with 12.

Rolex 24 winner Magnus Racing leads the GT class by one point over Brumos Racing (16-15), followed by TRG, 13, and Stevenson Motorsports, 11.

John Potter and Andy Lally lead the GT driver points, followed by Leh Keen and Andrew Davis, 15, and Spencer Pumpelly and Steven Bertheau, 13.

Teams can score a maximum of 20 points and minimum of eight points at each race. Points at the Glen will be awarded at both the three-hour mark and the finish on the basis of 10 points for first, eight for second, six for third, and four for the remaining positions.

The three-hour Brickyard Grand Prix will only award points at the finish, with 20 to the winner of each class, 16 points for second, 12 for third and eight for the remaining positions.

 

Ferrari Earns Third Win, Extends Manufacturer Lead
BMW put up a road block at Road America on Chevrolet’s quest to win the DP manufacturer the championship.

The No. 01 BMW/Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas ended the Corvette DP’s five race winning streak last weekend, while Ford took the remaining two positions on the podium as the two car builders chipped away at Chevrolet’s lead in the DP manufacturer point standings.

At the season’s midway point, Chevrolet holds a 20-point lead over Ford (229-209), with BMW another point behind at 208.

Ferrari continues to dominate the GT standings. Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal scored their third victory of the season at

Road America in the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 to in-crease its lead over Mazda to 16 points.

BMW, meanwhile, followed up its victory at Mid-Ohio with a second-place finish by Paul Dalla Lana and Bill Auberlen in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 to tighten the four-manufacturer battle for second.

Porsche could close the deficit even more this weekend at Watkins Glen. A Porsche GT3 has won the last three Sahlen’s Six Hours and six of the last seven at the prestigious endurance race. Brumos Racing’s Andrew Davis and Leh Keen won the event in 2011.

 

Brumos Racing’s Davis To Make 100th Career GRAND-AM Start, A ‘Dream Come True’
Andrew Davis and Leh Keen set a mile-stone in the 2011 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, winning in the No. 59 Porsche GT3 to give Brumos Racing its first victory in Rolex Series GT competition.

This weekend, Davis celebrates a personal milestone at Watkins Glen. It will be the 100th GRAND-AM start for the 34-year-old Athens, Ga., driver, who has nine victories and four poles in GT competition.

He opened the season by winning the GT pole for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“Watkins Glen is very special to me, particularly since last year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours race was my first victory with Brumos Racing,” Davis said.

“It is literally a dream come true to be starting my 100th GRAND-AM race behind the wheel of the famous No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche 911. I still have a long way to go to catch up to my men-tor, Hurley Haywood, but with his guidance I know that anything is possible.”

Haywood is the leading winner in the history of competition at Watkins Glen with nine victories. He won at the circuit in his professional debut in the 1969 Six Hours, with Haywood co-driving with Peter Gregg in a Brumos Porsche 911S.

Davis is also looking to make ground in the inaugural North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.COM. He and Keen are second in the GT standings, one point behind the leaders.

“The unique structure of points in the NAEC helped us in Daytona, as we led several of the segments that counted towards points,” Davis said.

“We are still right in the thick of it for that championship. Endurance racing is always great for the Porsche 911 and for Brumos, so we are focused on that and ready to fight to claim the first Endurance Championship.”

 

GRAND-AM Sets Two-Day Test For Historic Debut At Indianapolis Motor Speedway
With limited time for practice when GRAND-AM Road Racing makes its competition debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, July 27, competitors in both the Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Challenge will participate in a special two-day official test session in final preparation for Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard.

The two-day session will be Friday and Saturday, July 6-7. Practice on both days will run from 9 a.m. through 9:45 p.m., alternating between the two series. Rolex Series competitors will have three hours of track time and two hours, 45 minutes for CTSCC teams on each day. Live timing will be available throughout the test on www.grand-am.com.

The test entry includes the No. 02 Chevron BMW/Riley fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, that will be driven in the Brickyard Grand Prix by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray.

The two series have the track to themselves with a full day of practice, qualifying and a pair of races when they return to Indianapolis on July 27. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge two-hour, 30-minute race starts at 1 p.m., followed by the three-hour Brickyard Grand Prix Rolex Series event at 4:10 p.m. The weekend also includes races for the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Sunday.

Potolicchio, Assentato Hold Lead In Trueman, Akin Pro-Am Competition
The command “Gentlemen, start your engines” is taken literally by Pro-Am competitors in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series – drivers who have a professional career outside of motorsports and have established their credentials in the motorsports com-munity.

Enzo Potolicchio currently holds the lead in the competition for the Jim Trueman Award, for Pro-Am competitors in the Daytona Prototype class. Potolicchio is coming off a second-place finish at Road America in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley, increasing his lead in the standings to 60 points over John Pew (2,204-2,144). Pew, seeking his third consecutive Trueman Award, finished third at Road America.

Emil Assentato won his third GT race of 2012 at Road America, joining Jeff Segal in the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia.

He also increased his lead in the standings for the Bob Akin Award for top Pro-Am driver in the GT class to 239 points over Wayne Nonnamaker (2,421-2,182).

In addition to seeking his third Akin Award, Assentato looks to combine the honor with the GT champion-ship for the second time. Nonnamaker is looking to become the first back-to-back winner of the Akin Award. Rolex 24 winner John Potter is third in the standings with 2,064 points, followed by Paul Dalla Lana (2,051).

 

APR Adds Second Audi R8; AF Waltrip, Extreme Speed Bring Ferraris To The Glen
APR Motorsport will field a second Audi R8 GRAND-AM in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Audi factory drivers Marc Basseng and Frank Stippler will co-drive the No. 52 Audi – the same car that Stippler tested at Daytona Inter-national Speedway during January’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 testing.

In addition, former Rolex 24 At Daytona GT winner Ian Bass will join regulars Dion von Moltke and Dr. Jim Nor-man in the team’s No. 51 Audi. Von Moltke led two laps while finishing 12th in the recent race at Road America.

The Watkins Glen entry also includes three Ferrari 458 Italias, with the

regular No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari joined by cars from AF Waltrip and Extreme Speed Motorsports.

Rui Aguas and Robert Kauffman are entered in AF Waltrip’s No. 56 RK Motors Ferrari, making its first Rolex Se-ries appearance since the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Guy Cosmo, Mike Hedlund and Johannes van Overbeek will co-drive the No. 03 Tequila Patron Ferrari for Extreme Speed Motorsports.

Starworks Motorsport, TRG and Stevenson Motorsports will beef up their lineup by adding extra cars for Watkins Glen. Starworks Motorsport will have Scott Mayer in the No. 7 Ford/Riley, giving the team three cars for the race.

TRG expands from one to three cars for The Glen. Ben Keating, Damien Faulkner and Bryan Sellers will be in the No. 66 Porsche GT3, while Eliseo Salazar co-drives the No. 64 with Eduardo Costabal and Santiago Orjuela. In addition, the team added Wolf Henzler to the lineup of its lead No. 67.

Stevenson Motorsports will have a second car for the Six Hours as well, the No. 75 Stevenson Auto Group Camaro for Ronnie Bremer and Matt Bell.

 

Bourdais, Tracy Among Drivers Bringing Added Flair To Watkins Glen Endurance Race
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen – one of the most prestigious sports car races in North America – is even more important in 2012 with its place as the second round of the North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.COM.

Several Rolex Series teams are stepping up for the challenge by adding star drivers to their lineup for Sunday’s race.

Starworks Motorsport added Sebastien Bourdais to the lineup of the No. 8 Ford/Riley, joining Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio. The Frenchman won four consecutive titles in the Champ Car World Series (2004-07), and was a regular in Formula One for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2008 and 2009.

Open-wheel star Paul Tracy will make his Rolex Series debut at Watkins Glen, joining neurosurgeon Jim Lowe in the No. 77 Combos Ford/Dallara fielded by Doran Racing.

American endurance racing star Pat-rick Long joins NAEC GT leaders Andy Lally and John Potter in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3.

Two-time 2012 DP winner Spirit of Daytona added Oliver Gavin to the lineup of the No. 90 Corvette DP, joining Richard Westbrook and Antonio Garcia.

 

Rolex Series, Etc.

* Among the additional entries competing in this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen is the No. 17 Foametix Porsche GT3 driven by Claudio Burtin and Martin Ragginger. The two were joined by Sebastian Asch, Bryan Sellers and Jack Baldwin in a 33rd-place showing at the Rolex 24 At Daytona

* As anticipation continues for the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates recently announced it will field a second entry for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. The two Sprint Cup regulars will pilot the No. 02 Chevron BMW/Riley giving Chip Ganassi Racing an added car to contribute points to the North American Endurance Champion-ship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com.

BGB, Kinetic Motorsports Carry Slim Points Leads To The Glen

Rum Bum Racing and Roush Performance have both hit a few speed bumps during the first half of the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, but began the second half of the season with a 1-2 finish to put both teams in the battle for the Grand Sport championship. The two teams return to Watkins Glen International for Saturday’s Continental Tire 150 looking to gain additional ground in the standings.

Nick Longhi and Matt Plumb now have three victories this season in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche Carrera, but have had to regroup since an early DNF at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. – the defending winners of the Continental Tire 150 in the No. 61 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R – won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, but a pair of finishes back in the pack at Barber Motorsports Park and New Jersey Motorsports Park had them deep in the standing prior to winning at Mid-Ohio.

Canadians John Farano and David Empringham quietly worked their way to the top of the Grand Sport standings at the halfway point of the 2012 season, and now they’re threatening to stay there. The drivers of the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Porsche Carrera opened the year with a 12th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway. They have finished in the top six in the next five races, including a second-place finish at Homestead-Miami and third in the most recent race at Road America.

Entering the Continental Tire 150, Empringham and Farano hold a four-point lead over Plumb and Longhi (162-158), followed by Al Carter and Hugh Plumb in the No. 45 Fall-Line Motorsports/BePositive.org BMW M3 (154) and Roush and Johnson (147).

Andy Lally and Nic Jonsson continue to lead in the Street Tuner standings despite finishing 15th at New Jersey Motorsports Park, 11th at Mid-Ohio and 13th at Road America. However, the once-comfortable lead for the drivers of the No. 10 Infinity Audi/Kia Motors America Kia Forte Koup has been trimmed to one point over Pierre Kleinubing entering the Continental Tire 150. Kleinubing finished fifth at Road America in the No. 31 i-MOTO Mazda Speed 3 to close on the leaders (164-154).

 

Husband-Wife Team Leads Local Entries At Home Event

John and Dinah Weisberg of Webster, N.Y., became GRAND-AM’s first husband-wife co-driving team when they raced at New Jersey Motorsports Park in May. The Continental Tire 150 will mark their second time together in GRAND-AM, when they share the No. 40 RED-COM Laboratories Porsche Boxster in the Street Tuner class.

They will also be racing to raise funds for the recreation and athletic programs at Hillside Family of Agencies in honor of the non-profit’s 175th anniversary. They have invited a group of youth from the agencies as part of an organized field trip.

While co-driving is new in GRAND-AM for the couple, they have raced together extensively at the club level since first meeting at Watkins Glen International in 2004.

Two drivers who grew up in the Watkins Glen area, Bret Seafuse and Rob Ecklin Jr., will return home for the Continental Tire 150,

Seafuse is a native of Ithaca and now resides in Trumansburg, where he operates the Trumansburg ShurSave full-service grocery store.

Ecklin grew up in Corning, where he attended Corning East High School. He drives the No. 99 Invisible Glass BMW M3. Ecklin, who now resides in Lancaster, Pa., he is president of Stoner, the parent company of Invisible Glass.

Other regional drivers include John Yarosz of Swoyersville, Pa., in the No. 68 Capaldi Racing Ford Mustang, and Ari Straus of Monticello, N.Y., who drives the No. 04 Mazda MX-5 for CJ Wilson Racing.

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