Watkins Glen, Indy Events Immediate Targets For Ford/Riley Drivers Dalziel, Potolicchio
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 28, 2012) – Starworks Motorsport’s 2012 season of success is starting to look like a sports car racer’s bucket list.
……Podium at the Rolex 24 At Daytona: ü
……Win at the 12 Hours of Sebring: ü
……Win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: ü
It’s been an incredible stretch for the Peter Baron-owned team and co-drivers of the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio. Even more incredible: They’ve yet to win a GRAND-AM Rolex Series race this season. They’re out to change that, starting with Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International (11 a.m. ET, SPEED and MRN).
The Glen is the second event in the three-part North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.COM, with the finale set for July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Suffice to say winning the inaugural NAEC team title in the Daytona Prototype class – and the $100,000 that goes with it – would be a great addition to Starworks’ 2012 check-off grid.
First things first, though: A Rolex Series race victory is high priority as Starworks is second in the NAEC standings behind the Rolex 24-winning team of Michael Shank Racing, just two points back (16-14). Starworks’ commitment to making that breakthrough became obvious this week, when the team announced during a GRAND-AM media teleconference that four-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais would make their talented two-man driver lineup an even more imposing trio.
Starworks will have three cars total this weekend with Alex Popow and Lucas Luhr co-driving the No. 2 Ford/Riley; Mark Wilkins, Colin Braun and Scott Mayer are expected to drive the No. 7 Ford/Riley.
“I think it says something about how determined we are, to try to get a good result at the Glen,” Baron said.
After finishing second to Shank’s team by only 5.198 seconds at the Rolex 24, Starworks started chasing the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in LMP2 prototypes. With class victories at Sebring in March and Le Mans earlier this month, they lead their class standings after three of six events.
Back to the Rolex Series, where Dalziel and Potolicchio are second in the DP driver championship standings behind two-time defending titlist Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas of Chip Ganassi Racing.
“I think if anything, [WEC success] has made us more determined to really win in GRAND?AM,” Dalziel said. “It's amazing having the success in WEC, but what we would give to go back to Daytona and do things a little different and be on the top step instead of the second step.”
From a GRAND-AM perspective, Starworks’ current hot streak is somewhat reminiscent of the unprecedented “Chip Slam” when the Ganassi organization won major races in three different series, capturing the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Rolex 24 between February 2010 and January 2011.
Granted, Starworks’ run is sports-car specific, but still …
“It really has been an unbelievable season for us,” Dalziel said. “We would have loved to have won Daytona. We came just a few seconds shy of winning it … [now] we are very excited about Watkins Glen and for sure really excited about Indianapolis. We feel that what we are doing in the WEC has been very special and brings awareness to the competition in GRAND?AM. We don't dominate in GRAND?AM by any means. We consider ourselves a frontrunner but I think the performances we’ve put on in the WEC have opened people's eyes and the world’s to just how difficult GRAND?AM is.
“This weekend we are again kind of the runners?up and we don't like being runners?up. Watkins Glen has been a very bittersweet track to us over the years. There are only a couple of tracks now that we have not had success on, and that's one of the monkeys we want to get off our back. We think that we have been good in the two?hour race there [in August] but we have got to have a good result there [Sunday].”
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