No. 5 Action Express Chevy DP at Daytona - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
It's been a long time since we saw the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in action--two months and a couple of days.
The series is racing this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park as part of the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, a companion race to the IZOD IndyCar Series and will qualify Friday and contest the Porsche 250 on Saturday.
With the start of practice for this second competition of the year following the 50th anniversary Role 24 at Daytona in late January, teams began with a single Thursday session on the 2.38-mile, 17-corner Barber road course.
There are 28 entries on hand for this race and David Donohue, driving the N. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP was quickest among the nine Daytona Prototype entries at 1:22.122 at 100.825. Rolex 24 winners Ozz Negri (making his 100th Grand-Am start) and John Pew were second in Michael Shank Racing's Ford/Riley at 1:22.650/100.181; Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney sat third in the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP at 1:22.827/99.967.
"We deliberately tried to go quick," Donohue admitted. "It's not like I can say, 'It's just a practice.' We were trying and that's what I had at the moment. Maybe we'll get some more later, who knows? I don't think everybody else is showing everything they've got."
With the balance of the field made up of GT cars, Paul Edwards set a best lap in the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Camaro GT.R of 1:30.979/91.010. Robin Liddell gave Chevrolet a 1-2 GT sweep with a best of 1:31.213/90.776 in the No. 57 Stevenson Racing Camaro GT.R while Bill Auberlen took third in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 at 1:31.344/90.646.
There was a single stoppage midway through the two-hour session when John Potter came to a halt in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3, with heavy smoke trailing from the rear of the car; it turned out he had an engine problem.
Qualifying is set for today at 12:40 CDT, while the Porsche 250 starts on Saturday at 2:15 CDT. SPEED provides same-day television coverage at 4PM EDT while MRN broadcasts the race live.