GRAND-AM Series: Live Updates: Watkins Glen International
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Welcome to Watkins Glen International, hosting Saturday’s running of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Friday evening’s Continental Tire 150 for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
This weekend is the 30th running of the Six Hours of The Glen, a tradition that became in 1968 with a World Endurance Championship race that ran through 1981. WGI revived the tradition in 1996, and the Six Hours has been a cornerstone of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series since the inaugural 2000 season. Sahlen’s has sponsored the event since 2003.
Notes From the Pits (Updated Friday at 11:27 a.m.)
Michael Marsal is happy with the progress of the No. 30 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8. The car was involved in an incident at Virginia International Raceway and missed Monday’s race at Lime Rock Park while repairs were concluding.
“It’s a nice car,” Marsal said. “The team has worked real hard to get it prepped, and made a lot of improvements. Now we’re working on our handling and chipping away at the times.”
Marsal will co-drive with a pair of New Yorkers, Eric Lux Ari Strauss.
While Enzo Potolicchio is no stranger to The Glen – winning here last year in the Ferrari Challenge and setting the track record in the process – this is co-driver Alex Popow’s first visit here.
“It’s a very nice track, and I like it a lot,” said Popow, driver of the No. 2 Starworks Motorsport Duncan/Avior Airlines Ford/Riley. “I especially like the fast esses. I’m working on my reference points and my braking points, and the times will come down. We had a tough time at Lime Rock. We got hit from behind at the start and a pickup point was damaged.”
Potolicchio is doing double duty this weekend, also running in the Formula Ford 2000 race.
Comments from Additional Drivers (Updated Friday at 10 a.m.)
Back at Barber Motorsports Park in April, many of the Rolex Series teams talked about staying with their two-driver lineups for the Sahlen’s Six Hours.
Since then – especially since Action Express won at VIR with a three-man rotation – several teams have added third drivers for Saturday’s endurance event.
“A week ago (team owner) Kevin (Buckler) called and told me that he’d like another win this year,” said Ryan Eversley, who will partner with Steve Bertheau and Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 67 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. “Since no factory drivers were available, I guess I was the next best thing. I’m happy with that.”
TRG is the defending GT winner of the Sahlen’s Six Hours, and opened the 2011 victory by winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“This is a very fast, very technical track,” Eversley said. “It’s a driver’s track, and I like all driver’s tracks.”
Tommy Milner will be running in the Sahlen’s Six Hours for the first time since 2005, when he was driving for his father Tom Milner’s PTG BMW M3 team. “It’s been awhile. We raced here three times that year, so I forget how we did.”
Milner joins Bill Lester and Jordan Taylor on the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. The team is coming off a victory at Virginia International Raceway and second at Lime Rock Park, to move Lester and Taylor to second in the GT championship standings.
“This team is on fire,” Milner said. “I’m on the right team at the right time.”
Having friends in the right places helped Guy Cosmo find a ride with SpeedSource. With normal third driver Nick Longhi heading to Le Mans following Friday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race, Cosmo got the call to co-drive with Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal.
“I’ve known Emil for a long time, and I’m good friends with Nick,” Cosmo said. “They asked me to step in for this weekend.”
Cosmo’s last GT appearance with with Orbit Racing in the 2010 Rolex 24 – his last appearance in the series. He is a former DP regular with Spirit of Daytona Racing. His best DP finish was second at Miller Motorsports Park in 2006.
Third Drivers Added to SpeedSource, Autohaus, Action Express Lineups (Updated Thursday at 2 p.m.)
SpeedSource will be going with a pair of three-driver lineups this weekend.
John Edwards – who won last year’s race at Lime Rock in a SpeedSource Mazda, is set to join Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 70 Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8.
The No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 will have a new driver joining Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal. Nick Longhi – who joined the pair in winning the 2008 Sahlen’s Six Hours – is set to go to Le Mans following Friday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race, opening the door for Guy Cosmo to co-drive.
Autohaus Motorsports is the hottest team in GT, coming off a victory at Virginia International Raceway and second at Lime Rock Park with Bill Lester and Jordan Taylor. This weekend, GM factory driver Tommy Milner will co-drive the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro.
Burt Frisselle opened the year by finishing ninth at the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Action Express Racing. With his regular team running a limited schedule, Frisselle will rejoin David Donohue and Darren Law this weekend in the No. 5 Porsche/Riley. Frisselle will rejoin AIM Autosport at the June 25 Road America 250 when the No. 61 GAMMA 88 BMW/Riley co-driven by Mark Wilkins returns to action.
Weather Keeps Pruett, Teams Guessing (Updated Thursday at 1:45 p.m.)
Weather played a role in Monday’s Memorial Day Classic – although not the way competitors expected when they arrived at the circuit that morning in the rain. Conditions improved throughout the day to where it was sunny and mid-80s for the event.
The weather again will play a role this weekend.
“The biggest question coming to Watkins Glen is always what the weather’s going to do,” said Pruett, who is seeking his fourth consecutive victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours. “As we arrived yesterday it was 90 degrees, and today it’s much cooler (low 60s and windy). It’s expected to stay cool for practice tomorrow, so we’ll wait and see for Saturday’s race. They’re talking about thundstorms. You have to take all that into consideration. It’s disappointing – again! – coming off Lime Rock just four days ago. We’ll see if we can get things going on the right track here. It would be wonderful to get the TELMEX BMW back in victory lane.”
Pruett and co-drive Memo Rojas finished seventh at Lime Rock after an early race incident – their worst showing since placing last (13th) due to a first-lap incident at the Connecticut circuit a year ago.”
Source: GRAND-AM Road Racing