Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chip Ganassi Racing wins Grand Am Grand Prix of Miami

Photo Credit: Grand Am Media

The first racing following the 2010 season opener for the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series at the Rolex 24-hour of Daytona, the seeds of the sports car series' 2010 season long tour has yet to be planted. The Rolex Sports Car Series took their race machines to the further south corner of the Florida state to run the Grand Prix of Miami sports car event on the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Competing in leisurely 2 hour and 45 minute sprint race, the 2.3 mile road course within the traditional oval started in the bright Miami sun and ended amidst the beam of headlamps.

The start of the Daytona Prototype (DP) cars was marred by a collision between the #6 and #01 machines in the first turn. The #01 Chip Ganassi Racing-backed BMW Riley driven by Memo Rojas attempted to make an out-braking pass on the Brian Frisselle piloting the #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley. Losing considerable ground at the beginning of this sprint race, the Ford-powered Riley found itself buried in the lower part of the Daytona Prototype running order. Thanks to the caution-free melody of the Grand Prix of Miami, teams like the #6 Michael Shank Racing were trapped by their early struggles.

Photo Credit: Grand Am Media

Losing the lead after their pole start, the #59 performed a power move on the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing DP car using the immense Porsche V8 momentum on the front straightaway. The Grand Prix of Miami saw the DP class lead alternate between the #99 Riley Chevrolet, #59 Porsche Riley, and the Chip Ganassi-owned BMW Riley.

Along with the #6 entry, another DP class heartbreaker was the events for the Rolex 24-hour winning team of Action Express Racing. Experiencing the highest of highs after surviving the Daytona International Speedway road racing jewel, the #9 Porsche helmed by Terry Borcheller and Joao Barbosa suffered a water leak forcing their a mid-way retirement.

In the GT class, the #70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 shared by Jonathan Bomarito and Sylvain Tremblay rose to the challenge posed by the 2010 season's array of new cars at Daytona. At Homestead-Miami Speedway, The class' pole was snatched by the #07 Chevrolet Corvette which was one vehicle coming from the new guard of Rolex Sport Cars. Set back by high tire pressures in the first stint, the team fell prey to the more established RX-8.

Entered in their second race in the GT class, the Turner Motorsports BMW M6 provided a more positive result as the #94 spent some valuable time bonding with the V8-powered race machine. The end result for the Turner Motorsport effort concluded with a top 5 finish in the GT class.

With 22 minutes left in the Grand Prix of Miami, a breather was provided to the field as a full-course caution citing debris was drawn for the first time in the race. Allowing the David Donohue driven #59 Brumos Porsche Riley to gain about 10 seconds on the leading #01 BMW Riley piloted by Scott Pruett. With the restart coming with 14 minutes to go, the powered-engined car crept increasingly closer to the Chip Ganassi Racing-owned BMW. Stalking Scott Pruett through the final lap, David Donohue came up just short of snaking around the victorious #01 BMW Riley. One month after a disastrous weekend at Daytona, the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stalling Racing car was piloted home 3rd in the Grand Prix of Miami in the Daytona Prototype class.

Photo Credit: Grand Am Media

The GT Class lead was diced through late race pitstops. Eventually, racing luck favoured the #69 SpeedSource Mazda under the driver pairing of Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal claiming the GT win. Following a respectable debut run for the Chevrolet Camaro GT.R campaigned by Stevenson Motorsports, the #57 piloted by Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell came home second in class.

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