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.
Action Express Racing teammates Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa also had back-to-back success and misfortune this year that hurt their title aspirations. They won at Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen earlier this summer before finishing 14th at Indy. They bounced back to finish second at Road America, moving Fittipaldi to third in the standings with 239 points, followed by Barbosa with 237.
Kansas Speedway Hosting Rolex Series Night Race
GRAND-AM will compete for the first time at Kansas Speedway with this weekend’s SFP Grand Prix, running under the lights on Saturday. The Friday-Saturday event features the premier Rolex Sports Car Series in addition to the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo.
The races will be held on a 2.37-mile layout that includes a six-turn infield road course in addition to most of the 1.5-mile banked speedway, located in Kansas City, Kansas.
“It’s one of the fastest tracks we’ve been to,” said Ozz Negri, driver of the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley. “It’s also one of the hardest ovals that we’ve gone to. Braking for Turn 1 will be pretty interesting because it’s one of the hardest braking points.”
The two hour, 45 minute timed race begins at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday evening. The race will be televised live on Fox Sports 2 (8 p.m. ET), and will be rebroadcast on Fox Sports 1 on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Consistency Continues To Pay Off For GT Points Leaders Lally, Potter
Andy Lally and John Potter hold a seven-point lead atop the Rolex Series production-based GT class on the basis of consistency in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Flex-Box Porsche GT3. Entering Saturday’s SFP Grand Prix, they have finished sixth or better in every event this season. The pair had three straight podium finishes, taking second at Mid-Ohio and third at Watkins Glen and Indianapolis, before finishing fifth at Road America.
Robin Liddell and John Edwards have won four of the nine races in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro GT.R, but three finishes of 10th or worse have them running second in the points (255-248). Edwards and Liddell followed up their victories at Barber Motorsports Park, Road Atlanta, Detroit and Watkins Glen International by finishing second at the Brickyard Grand Prix.
Scuderia Corsa driver Alessandro Balzan – who now co-drives with two-time GT champion Leh Keen in the No. 63 Ferrari 458 Italia – is third in the points with 244, followed by AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari drivers Emil Assentato and Anthony Lazzaro, with 215.
Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana are three-time winners this season in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. They won last weekend’s event at Road America in addition to GT races earlier this season at Circuit of The Americas and Mid-Ohio. Other top contenders in GT include two-time GT champion Jeff Segal in the Indianapolis-winning No. 61 R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport Ferrari 458 – and Patrick Long and Patrick Lindsey in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3.
Rolex Series Etc.
*Fall-Line Motorsports owner Mark Boden will co-drive his team’s Audi R8 for the first time, paired with regular Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge teammate Bryan Sellers. The pair were recent back-to-back winners in the CTSCC at Watkins Glen and Indianapolis. Boden made his Rolex Series debut at the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona with Magnus Racing.
*Team Sahlen is coming off its best showing in its rookie season in the DP ranks at Road America. Dane Cameron won his first DP pole, and joined Wayne Nonnamaker in leading the opening 38 laps through Nonnamaker’s pit stop. Cameron worked his way back into the lead but went out with a broken axle with 17 laps remaining.
*Spencer Pumpelly had quite a weekend at Road America leading both GRAND-AM races on Saturday before winning the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón race in the GTC class on Sunday for Flying Lizard Motorsports.