Grand-Am Makes Their First Visit To The World Famous Road Atlanta
While qualifying was unfortunately rained out Friday, perfect weather and excellent racing prevailed for Saturday’s Grand-Am series Visual Studio Ultimate Grand Prix of Atlanta, hosted at the beautiful and world renowned Road Atlanta motorsports facility in the hills of Braselton, Georgia just north of Atlanta.
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas put their experience to work Saturday, scoring a dominant victory in the Visual Studio Ultimate Grand Prix of Atlanta, the first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Road Atlanta.
Pruett recorded one of the first victories of his storied career at the circuit in 1986 – winning an IMSA Camel GTO race – in addition to winning in SCCA Trans-Am.
The pair combined to lead 94 of the 120 circuits on the 2.54-mile circuit in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley. It was their second victory of the season and extended their lead in the Daytona Prototype standings to seven points over Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty.
“We were hooked up from the start,” said Pruett, winner for the 40th time in DP. “We were fastest in the opening test on Thursday, and fastest in Friday’s practice. I’m glad I was out front. I heard it was pretty crazy behind me near the end, and glad I wasn’t part of it.”
Ryan Dalziel finished second in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley started by Alex Popow, 17.781 seconds back, followed by Gurney and Fogarty in the No. 99 Gainsco Auto Insurance Corvette DP. Gustavo Yacaman and Antonio Pizzonia finished third in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley, followed by Richard Westbrook and Ricky Taylor in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, and Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP.
Pizzonia passed Angelelli with contact to take fourth with three laps remaining in what was deemed a racing incident. The two drivers also traded paint on the cooldown lap.
John Edwards and Stevenson Motorsports were winners for the second time on Saturday, with Edwards and Robin Liddell scoring their second consecutive GT victory in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro. Earlier in the day, Edwards and Matt Bell won for the team in the PricewaterhouseCoopers 250 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race. Edwards became the fourth Grand-Am driver to win two races in the same day.
Liddell took the checkered flag 2.506 seconds ahead of Patrick Long, who joined Patrick Lindsey in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3. It was the best finish for the second-year team, with Long taking second from Alessandro Balzan in the closing minutes after a strong run for the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 started by Jeff Westphal.
Joel Miller and Andrew Carbonell had a day of firsts in the GX class in the No. 00 Visit Florida/SpeedSource Mazda 6. In addition to scoring their first Rolex Series victories, the pair brought Mazda and the Skyactiv Diesel to victory for the first time in the new class. David Donohue finished second in the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche, narrowly missing a fourth consecutive victory for co-driver Dr. Jim Norman.
The next Rolex Series race will be the Chevrolet Grand-Am Detroit 200 at Belle Isle Park in Michigan on Saturday, June 1st.