Ozz Negri and Michael Shank Racing set the pace in opening Rolex Series practice at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Negri ran a lap of 1:23.026 in the No. 60 Aero Ford/Riley to lead the session with Alex Gurney second in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP, 1:23.050. Scott Pruett was third with a lap of 1:23.135, but the No. 01 Telcel/Telmex BMW/Riley pit with an engine issue later in the session and the team is working on an engine change.
Bill Auberlen and Turner Motorsport seem to have things figured this weekend at Mazda Raceway. After setting the fastest time in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge practice earlier in the morning, Auberlen was again fastest in GT with a lap of 1:28.078 in the team’s No. 94 BMW M3. Three manufacturers made up the top three spots in GT with Jeff Segal second in the No. 61 Ferrari of Ontario/RemoFerriGroup.com Ferrari 458, 1:28.417, and Eric Curran third in Marsh Racing’s No. 31 Corvette, 1:28.613.GRAND-AM, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Ozz Negri, Sports Cars
The closest championship battle in the 11-year history of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series visits Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., for Sunday’s Continental Tire Festival of Speed powered by Mazda. With two races remaining, the top 10 competitors for the Daytona Prototype championship are separated by only five points.Alex Gurney, Alex Popow, Christian Fittipaldi, DP, GRAND-AM, Joao Barbosa, Jon Fogarty, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli, Memo Rojas, Ryan Dalziel, Scott Pruett, Sports Cars
Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel, drivers of the No. 2 Soloson BMW/Riley, saw their lead in the Daytona Prototype championship trimmed to four points in last weekend’s VISITFLORIDA.com 250 at Road America. Now, it’s a first-time visit to Kansas Speedway for Saturday evening’s SFP Grand Prix, and the Starworks Motorsport drivers are trying to hold on to the lead with only three races remaining in the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series season.
Popow and Dalziel, who won the Brickyard Grand Prix, lead GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty for the championship lead, 246-242, while three other sets of drivers are within 14 points of the top spot.
Dalziel and Popow entered Road America leading by 10 points, but became the third points leader to experience misfortune when their BMW/Riley suffered mechanical problems exiting pit road. Dalziel shut off the car and pulled over rather than risk further damage, resulting in a 14th-place finish.
All was not lost for the team, though, as first-year DP driver Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer took a popular victory in the No. 8 Starworks BMW/Riley.
Both Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Wayne Taylor Racing won two races and led the standings earlier this year, before back-to-back problems sent both teams tumbling out of the lead.
Ganassi’s Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won two races earlier this season at Daytona and Road Atlanta in quest of a fourth consecutive title, but incidents at Detroit and Mid-Ohio dropped them in the standings. They finished second at Indianapolis and fourth at Road America in the No. 01 Telcel/TELMEX BMW/Riley and are now sixth in the standings, 14 behind the leaders.
Max Angelelli topped Thursday’s lone Rolex Series practice, kicking off an historic weekend which also includes the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Angelelli wheeled his No. 10 Velocity Worldwide around Road America’s scenic 4.048-mile course in 2:02.130 (119.32 mph), just 0.036 seconds ahead of Dane Cameron in the No. 42 Sahlen’s BMW/Riley, 2:02.166 (119.29 mph).
Ricky Taylor rounded out the top three with a lap of 2:02.181 (119.27 mph) in the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com/Go-Pro Corvette DP.GRAND-AM, Max Angelelli, Sports Cars