Rolex Series Race
A pair of late-race passes played a major role in the outcome of Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Diamond Cellar Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, for entirely different reasons.
Joao Barbosa gave Action Express Racing its first Daytona Prototype (DP) victory of the season, passing Spirit of Daytona driver Richard Westbrook with 29 minutes remaining. Co-driving the No. 5 Corvette DP with Christian Fittipaldi, Barbosa made slight contact while making his pass on Westbrook in Turn 2 and went on to the lead the final 22 laps of the race.
“Just racing here is intense,” Barbosa said. “It was really hard racing, but I was able to judge traffic a little bit better and get a run on him. I knew I was a little bit faster. I was just being a little bit patient, but I had to be careful with the guys behind me, as well. As soon as I saw a small window to go for the lead, I did that. After that, I was able to pull a good gap and control the race a little bit.”
See more at: http://www.grand-am.com/News/GA_News/tabid/141/Article/53772/late-race-pass-gives-action-express-first-victory-of-season.aspx?cid=6383&sid=1#sthash.7lrZNKW1.dpuf
Watch the race highlights on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXCrU_WF5mU
Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Race
Matt Plumb admitted having luck on his side Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after prevailing in a two-lap shootout that gave the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing team its 13th victory in GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition.
Plumb beat Bill Auberlen to the checkered flag by .452 seconds to win in the Rum Bum Racing Porsche 997 started by Nick Longhi its second victory of the season. The victory increased their lead in the Grand Sport (GS) driver standings.
The Street Tuner (ST) race was just as close. Tom Dyer held off defending Mid-Ohio ST winner Michael Valiante by .455 seconds to join Andrew Novich in scoring their first career victory, sharing the No. 196 RSR Motorsports Honda Civic Si.
See more at: http://www.grand-am.com/News/GA_News/tabid/141/Article/53771/plumb-holds-off-auberlen-to-score-lucky-13th-victory-for-rum-bum-racing.aspx?cid=6384&sid=2#sthash.9u7NVfFo.dpuf
Cooper Tire Prototype Lites Races
An early incident between the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda points leaders made for an interesting Race Two at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Tied for the lead coming into round six of the 2013 season, Sean Rayhall and Ryan Booth made contact in the first turn and spun after the apex.
Rayhall dropped back as far as 13th, but competitors quickly saw the No. 14 L1 Élan DP02 2.0L Mazda in their rear view mirrors, gleaming like a diamond in the rough.
See more at: http://prototypelites.com/news/rayhall-takes-checkered-after-rough-start
Thirteen minutes under caution made it difficult for drivers to find a rhythm in Race One at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Pole sitter Sean Rayhall led the field through the first and second yellow flags, but Performance Tech's Ryan Booth was on his tail and capitalized when Rayhall had a mishap.
The first yellow flag came out after Michal Chlumecky went into the gravel in Turn 9 on lap seven. Six minutes later, the course went green only to go yellow less than one minute after. Another eight-minute caution kept the field tight.
See more at: http://prototypelites.com/news/booth-shines-at-2013-diamond-cellar-classc
Mazda MX-5 Cup Races
Elliott Skeer, of Vista, Calif., did what it took to win Round Six of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda Playboy MX-5 Cup in the rain at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, part of the Diamond Cellar Classic. Christian Szymczak, of Palos Altos, Calif., and George Jackson, of Houston, finish second and third, respectively.
Skeer, driving the No. 17 Pelican Replacement Windows/ZoomZoomNation.com/Alpinestars MX-5, started on the outside of row one, taking the fight to polesitter Szymczak in Turn One. As the field came around for lap two, Jeff Mosing, in the No. 9 ALARA Racing machine, had jumped to the lead. One lap later, Dean Copeland (No. 7 Sync Speed Inc. MX-5) got around Szymczak for third and closed to Skeer for second.
See more at: http://www.mx-5cup.com/2012/news.php?id=3092
Christian Szymczak, of Palos Verdes, Calif., led Round Five flag-to-flag, bringing home the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, part of the Diamond Cellar Classic. Elliott Skeer, of Vista, Calif., finished second ahead of Dean Copeland, of Bowie, Md.
Szymczak set sail in the No. 34 ALARA Racing MX-5 from the moment the lights went off, driving to an eventual 6.741-second victory over Skeer. The caution-free 26-lap race averaged 81.562 mph around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course. Szymczak lowered the record for the fastest race lap to 1:39.223 (81.924 mph) on his way to the win, breaking the old record of 1:39.268 (81.887 mph) set last year by Stevan McAleer during his championship run.
See more at: http://www.mx-5cup.com/2012/news.php?id=3091
If you need more than words and want to see the DPs and GT machines navigate our tricky corners... Some photos are posted on Mid-Ohio's Facebook page
already and there will be more posted throughout the summer (don't need to have a Facebook account to view). Also, GRAND-AM Road Racing has some photos here