Grand-Am Under The Lights In Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — 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 point 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.
Saturday’s race will be held under the lights 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 and will be rebroadcast on Fox Sports 1 on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
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.