WeatherTech Racing Headed for VIR – Close points battle in GTD

20131018-192713.jpg 

TAVERES, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2014) - WeatherTech Racing is headed to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Oak Tree Grand Prix to run Aug. 22-24.

Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Leh Keen (Charleston, SC) have raced to within three points of the GTD championship lead. A string of consistent top five finishes, with a first of the year podium at Road America have the duo in championship contention with three races left on the TUDOR Championship calendar. MacNeil won at VIR in 2012 with Keen and he finished second there last year. The 3.2-mile, 18-turn track will be challenging for the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche up against the Ferrari of championship leaders Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell.

 

“It’s amazing to think that we have only three races left and we have finished on the podium only once this year,” MacNeil said. “We are second in points, so our consistency is paying off. We will need to push hard for the last three races if we want to win the championship and we will. I like VIR. I hold the SCCA T2 track record at in a BMW E46 M3. We will have to see how the Porsche matches up to the other cars this weekend as the GT3 cars have a lot of downforce, so I think we will have our hands full.”

 

Keen likes the championship battle. He is looking forward to a lot of green laps as this a GTD and GTLM weekend with no prototypes to share the track with at VIR.

 

“Our championship situation is really exciting leading up to the last couple of races,” Keen said. “With just three races left and three points out, we are in a good position. We come to VIR with a lot of momentum from Road America. Cooper and I won there in 2012 and he was on the podium last year. VIR has just repaved the entire track and made it wider so everyone is excited to get there and go faster. Being a GT only race I am expecting a lot of green flag running. And certainly a lot less traffic to deal with.”

 

Alex Job, team owner, is anxious to see how the Porsche matches up this weekend.

 

“We are in the thick of the championship with the end of the season in sight,” Job said. “Leh and Cooper have been doing a great job maximizing points since the Le Mans break. I think that the Ferrari of Sweedler and Bell will be very tough at VIR. That car has a lot of downforce and will be fast through the twisty sections. It will also be interesting to see how the race plays out with just the GTD and GTLM cars racing.”

Michael Shank Racing Set to Launch “Fan Shots” Car at Petit Le Mans

MSR_Racing_logo

Pataskala, Ohio (19 August 2014) –  For the second season in a row, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian will give fans a chance to ride along with the team in the final race of the year.

The 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-ending race will be staged at Road Atlanta with the 10 hour Petit Le Mans. The race, which has run every year since 1998, will not only be the final race of the inaugural IMSA TUDOR Championship season, but will also be the final round of Patron North American Endurance Championship Cup competition.

The huge race will see Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian once again teaming with AERO to create a high-end custom livery for the No. 60 Ford EcoBoost/Riley combination.

The car will feature photos of Michael Shank Racing fans on the nose section of the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford EcoBoost/Riley as well as on the sides of the car. Last year’s season-finale saw the team carrying hundreds of race fans’ names on the car at Lime Rock Park.

To get a place on the car, fans just need to send a photo of themselves or their favorite Michael Shank Racing photo to shankfanshots@gmail.com. Once a gallery is established, fans will also be able to see selections of the images at www.shankfanshots.com.

“I am so appreciative of all our fans sticking with us through a tough year that I wanted to thank them in the best way I could think of, everyone rides along with us for Petit!” said Shank. “Fortunately, working with a company like AERO helps to give us the flexibility to do this kind of thing with the car. It will be our ‘retro’ orange livery, with the pictures all over so it should look pretty cool. We appreciate the support we get, everywhere we go, and this is hopefully a good way to say ‘thanks’ to everyone.”

The team will be back in IMSA race action in just over four weeks’ time with the Lone Star Le Mans at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Michael Shank Racing Looks to Fans for Team to Win Award

MSR_Racing_logo

Pataskala, Ohio (18 August 2014) – With strategy and pace combining for a breakthrough run to second place, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian put teamwork on full display at Road America.

Now there is a chance for fans of the popular team to help contribute as Michael Shank Racing seeks to win the Microsoft Visual Studio Team to Win Award. The Columbus, Ohio-based squad is up for an award that will be decided on by the fans. New this year, the Microsoft Visual Studio Team to Win Award is decided after each IMSA event, with four nominated teams up for the honor, which is based on each team’s performance in the previous event.

The Team to Win Award winner is determined by  fan voting (http://online.wsj.com/ad/team-to-win/?team-to-win-award-voting/).

The run to the Road America podium marked the 11th consecutive season that the Shank organization has taken a podium finish in IMSA Prototype competition.

“Road America was a big result for everyone on this team and it is great to have that recognized with being nominated for this deal, hopefully our fans can help us get to the top of it!” said team owner Mike Shank.

Fans of Michael Shank Racing can vote every day this week on each of their phone, computer, and tablet devices. Voting closes on Friday, August 22 at 12:00 PM ET.

Visual Studio, Microsoft’s application development solution, offers unparalleled tools for developers working in a team environment. The “Team to Win” theme that reflects the software’s collaborative development focus has found a great analogy in the tremendous teamwork required of world-class sports car racing.

Action Express Racing Takes Road America Victory

AER_Logo_white.5

Media Notes:
- Road America marks the third win of the season for Action Express Racing (Rolex 24 At Daytona & Brickyard Grand Prix)
- The victory is the second consecutive win for the team after having won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway two weeks ago
- Action Express Racing extends their championship lead to a 16-point advantage
- Joao Barbosa set the fastest race lap with a time of 1:57.094-seconds
- The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype is the only car to have completed every lap of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship so far this year

2014 IMSA Road AmericaElkhart Lake, Wis. (10 August 2014) – Action Express Racing persevered through a thrilling race at Road America on Sunday to score the team’s second consecutive victory and third win of the season. In a race that saw six caution periods, and a couple of setbacks for the team, the Action Express Racing squad and its drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi rallied back to not only score the victory but also extend its lead in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase race win didn’t come easily for Action Express Racing who battled back from as far down as seventh to stand atop the podium.

“This was a really great win resulting from a great effort by the entire team,” said Team Owner Bob Johnson. “Our prior wins in Daytona and Indy were almost perfect runs – also the result of great preparation and planning but this one included some issues and setbacks. This win shows the championship talent on the team as everyone pulled together, did their job based on preparation and came out in front of all of the tough competitors. I could not be more proud of these guys.”

Fittipaldi opened the race from the front row and immediately pounced at the start to take over the race lead in Turn 1. The race went under caution for the first of several times due to a Lap 1 incident which saw the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP circle behind the pace car for almost 20 minutes.

2014 IMSA Road AmericaWhen the field went back to green, Fittipaldi held on to the race lead over a green flag run as he defended against the championship rival No. 10 car. A battle ensued and contact to the rear of Fittipaldi’s Corvette DP from the No. 10 sent Fittipaldi spinning off course. The veteran racer was able to keep the car going and return to the track, but fell to fourth in the order.

Shortly before Action Express Racing called Fittipaldi to pit lane for the team’s first pit stop, Fittipaldi radioed that there may be a problem with the brakes. When the No. 5 Corvette DP took to pit road, the team performed routine service of fuel, tires, and a driver change as well as diagnosed the brake issue and made a quick fix. Though the team performed a speedy repair, the longer pit stop saw the No. 5 emerge from the pits seventh with Barbosa at the wheel.

“We had a brake line that was seeping so when that happened it really just doesn’t give the driver confidence because the brake doesn’t feel as solid but it was just a very small leak,” said Team Manager Gary Nelson. “So on the first pit stop we took the left rear wheel off and tightened up the line. The problem with that was that it put us out of the pit sequence but, with a pedal that gave the driver confidence which was more important than track position at that point.”

Barbosa ran mid-pack for another mix of green flag running and caution periods before maneuvering his way up to fourth when the team called him in for his final pit stop with 1 hour yet to go in the race. He was one of only a few prototype machines to pit under the yellow which saw him return to the track seventh in the order.

When the race went back to green with less than an hour to go, Barbosa charged his way through the field while also saving fuel to run fourth when the fourth caution of the race was displayed. The prototypes that hadn’t yet made their final pit stops took to pit lane and Barbosa found himself back in the race lead. The cars ended up circulating under the yellow for an extended period of time when the championship contending No. 10 car hit the wall under the yellow.

Barbosa led the field back to the green with 20 minutes to go only for the race to go back under caution. A final green flag run set up a 10-minute dash to the checkered flag with Barbosa sailing to the victory with a two-second advantage.

“We’re really excited about winning two races in a row,” said Nelson. “We really think our plan is a good, solid one. To just keep doing what we’re doing. When we get a curve ball, we try to hit it! That message goes through the whole team – ‘okay there’s a setback, so how are we going to recover from this?’ – so when the yellow came out and we were running back a ways in the pack, we thought ‘how are we doing to have a better pit stop? How are we going to come out of the pits ahead of these guys?’ We were just going to do our normal plan and see what happened. And we came down pit road and all the leaders stayed out! But we had enough fuel from there to go to the end and everything else worked out.”

The TUDOR Championship leaders next travel to Circuit of the Americas in Texas for the penultimate round of the 2014 championship on September 19-20.

DRIVER COMMENTS ON ROAD AMERICA VICTORY AND 2014 CHAMPIONSHIP:

Joao Barbosa: “The Corvette was awesome. Action Express did a tremendous job in pit lane. We had a small issue and they fixed it. The car was super fast. What a great car they gave us. Great pit stops. The ECR Engine was awesome and I was pushing the Continental Tires all the way. They were awesome. I did my fastest lap at the end of the race. Unbelievable! What a great race. Christian (Fittipaldi) did a great stint. What a great points day!”

Christian Fittipaldi: “Back-to-back wins is awesome! I want to thank the team, Chevy, ECR Engines and obviously what an effort by this whole group.  We were suffering some brake problems early in the race, but we managed to fix it on the first stop. If the team hadn’t fixed the problem in the pits, we wouldn’t have had a chance to win today. Joao (Barbosa) drove two very strong stints, which put us back in the hunt again. We also had a small encounter with the No. 10 car, but it went the way it went. I don’t know what to say. We can’t be happier than this.  We have to turn the page and move on to the next race, and just continue to do what we have been doing.”

Visit Florida Racing Fights Forward to Finish Fourth at Road America

5b44922a-7c66-4f81-b9f5-5adf502f4545

Elkhart Lake, Wis. (10 August 2014) – Visit Florida Racing came from the back of the pack to finish fourth in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America on Sunday with drivers Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook in the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Corvette DP.

After scoring a strong run of IMSA finishes stretching back to the team’s victory at Watkins Glen in June, the team had podium ambitions on the weekend to score critical points toward the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Unfortunately, despite showing impressive speed all weekend with the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP, the pit stop strategy didn’t pay dividends for the team as the caution periods played out unfavorably.

Valiante started the race from the end of the nearly 50-car field after a qualifying tech discrepancy invalidated the time set by the team during the qualifying session. But the Canadian was not to be denied as he made the most of the speed with the Visit Florida Corvette DP to move up to fifth before turning the car over to Westbrook to take to the finish.

Westbrook was soon running in third place and looking for more as a yellow flag appeared, making for a go-or-no-go decision from the pits. Electing to stay out to go deeper into the fuel stint, the strategy didn’t pay off after a subsequent yellow flag saw the team take to the pits as Westbrook returned to the fray in 13th. But for the second time on the day, the No. 90 Visit Florida machine was once again upwardly mobile as Westbrook charged to take fourth at the finish.

“We just took a risk with the strategy, and followed the 10 and the 01 on strategy, and in hind sight, that is what cost us the race,” said Valiante. “Had we have stopped, we would have won. At the start, the main thing was to try and stay out of trouble and not lose too much time to the leaders. I was able to get through without any incidents and make up positions, and we came in to the pits in fifth so the race was going really well for us. But, you win some, you lose some and it ended up that we just didn’t make the right call with the strategy. On to COTA.”

“The car was fantastic, we knew that from qualifying and it was the same in the race,” said Westbrook. “It was really quick. There was a decision to be made to pit with an hour to go and it was a tough call. Unfortunately we chose wrong, and they chose right. At the time I was ahead of (race winner) Barbosa and we had a very quick car. It is always disappointing to not win when you’ve got this strong of a car. At this point in the championship, we can’t just take comfort in having a quick car. You have to execute on every part of what you are doing.  It has been a bad weekend on that front, but we will regroup and get back on it at COTA.”

After a very busy stretch of summer races, IMSA will return to race action at the Circuit of the Americas in just over one month’s time.

“You hate to have strategy take away a chance for making some big ground up in the championship, but you know everyone knows the best strategy after the race is over!” joked team owner Troy Flis. “We had a very fast car and really hit our marks this weekend, right from the start. But we just didn’t get a break with that last yellow coming out and that cost us here. I’m proud of how we came from the back of the field and were in position to have a big finish, but it just didn’t play our way today. We’ve got two big races to go in this championship, and a ton of racing yet to play out so that’s our focus all the way to the last lap of the season.”

Round 10 of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar will be staged at the Circuit of Americas on September 20.

Tough Luck Rears its Ugly Head at Road America

Steering Issue Cuts Short Victory Bid by Taylor Brothers in the Konica Minolta Corvette,
Drops Team from Two to 16 Points Back in Championship with Two Events Remaining

Date: Aug. 10, 2014
Event: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase (Round 9 of 11)
Series: Prototype division of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship
Location: Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (4.048-mile, 14-turn road course)
Start/Finish: 4th / 10th (Steering, completed 47 of 61 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd (269 points, 16 out of first)
Winner: Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa of Action Express Racing (Corvette DP)

The iconic Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin was none too kind to the No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype team for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) in its first three visits there with the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

Even though Sunday’s inaugural visit to the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course with the first-year Tudor United SportsCar Championship looked so good for so long, it was bad luck that once again reared its ugly head with just 30 minutes to go in the two-hour, 45-minute Continental Tire Road Race Showcase and relegated brothers and full-time co-drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor to a costly 10th-place result.

Having started fourth on the 52-car grid and maintaining their position in the top-two for the lion’s share of their afternoon – even leading twice for a total of six laps – their day came to an abrupt end when, just having pitted a final time for tires and fuel under caution with just more than a half-hour remaining until the checkered flag, the car’s steering broke while Jordan Taylor was warming his tires for the ensuing restart. The car careened into a tire barrier between turns eight and nine and the damage was unrepairable. Taylor was unhurt.

The result was costly in that, despite still managing to hold onto second place in the Tudor Championship standings, their deficit to the first-place No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP duo of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa ballooned from two to 16 points with just two races left on the schedule. Fittipaldi and Barbosa scored their second consecutive victory today and third of the season.

“The race was going really well,” said Jordan Taylor, who took over for his brother behind the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP just short of the one-hour mark. “I think it was the first time since Daytona that we actually had a winning car on pace. So I was just kind of cruising behind the 01 (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) car (of Memo Rojas) and then, after the restart, we were able to get by him and get into the lead. And then, I think just everything kind of went against us after that, strategy-wise. With the next yellow going way too long and the way the wave-around works with short yellows and long yellows, it just kind of caught us out. We lost some track position. We were still in a position to fight. We were still only sixth, not that far back, still lots of time in the race. We still had time to fight back to maybe get a podium. And then something broke with the steering under yellow and that put us in the wall. It was really unfortunate, especially since we had such a fast car. You usually want to make the most of those kinds of weekends when you have such a strong car. But, hopefully we can take that car to COTA (Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas) and have a strong run there.”

The competitiveness of the No. 10 Corvette was clear from the start of today’s race, when Ricky Taylor, from his fourth position on the grid, outraced the No. 42 OAK Racing LMP2 car of Gustavo Yacaman starting inside him on the second row and the polesitting Scott Sharp in the No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports LMP2 car down the long front straight and into the sharp, right-hand turn one. Taylor settled into second place behind the race-leading Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP, which started on the outside of row one. Taylor stayed in close pursuit of Fittipaldi until he got a solid run on Fittipaldi on lap 19, 50 minutes into the race, and got by him to take the lead. Taylor held the point until pitting for tires, fuel and driver change under caution at the 59-minute mark.

Jordan Taylor restarted third, when the race went back to green six laps and 13 minutes later and promptly outraced Sharp in the No. 1 LMP2 car to once again grab second place, this time behind Rojas in the Ganassi car with less than an hour and 20 minutes remaining. The yellow flag waved once again with one hour, nine minutes remaining and it turned out to be another rather lengthy caution period. Rojas, Taylor and four other Prototype-class cars on the lead lap elected not to pit while several other Prototypes, including the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, gambled by making their final scheduled stops early.

When the race went back to green with 47 minutes remaining, Taylor made a stellar move to get past Rojas for the lead in turn six. He stayed there for two laps before the caution flag appeared yet again with 44 minutes remaining. The WTR crew promptly called Taylor into the pits for fuel and tires to get him to the finish, and he resumed in sixth place. But shortly after exiting the pits, he radioed that the car was buried in the turn-nine tire barrier, that something in the steering apparently failed.

“Something in the steering broke,” Ricky Taylor said. “We had such a good car all day. We could not predict the future with the strategy, so we were a little unlucky there. But we had a winning car today and that is hopeful for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, this is terrible for the championship. All we can do is come back the last two races and win both and hope for the best.”

Today’s turn of events was somewhat similar to when the WTR Corvette last failed to finish a race – last year’s Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis, where a late-race accident relegated the team to a 15th-place finish that dropped it from the points lead to 19 points back in the Rolex Series championship with four events remaining. Jordan Taylor and his co-driver Max “The Ax” Angelelli cut that deficit to 12 points at Road America in the very next race. They then swept the race wins at the season’s final three events at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California and Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut to win the final Rolex Series driver championship going away.

With just two races remaining this season, the 16-point deficit poses a considerably greater challenge. Fittipaldi and Barbosa can clinch the inaugural Tudor series title with an average finish of fourth at the final two events at the Circuit of the Americas and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

“You know, this weekend the guys put together a really strong car,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “We have not had such a strong car for quite a while and both Ricky and Jordan put the car in the lead two separate times. We were in control and then, unfortunately under caution, something happened. The saving grace is that the steering problem didn’t happen under green because we could have had a catastrophic accident. So, I am thankful that it happened under yellow. Obviously, we are disappointed to have lost so many points. That’s racing, though. Anything can happen. We’ll just have to gather ourselves together and come back strong for the final two events.”

The Tudor United SportsCar Championship now takes a five-week hiatus before resuming with round 10 of 11 on the 2014 schedule six weeks hence at Austin. Race time for the two-hour, 45-minute Lone Star Le Mans on Saturday, Sept. 20 is 12:35 p.m. EDT. It was announced Friday that Ricky and Jordan Taylor will also co-drive the No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R GTE-Pro-class entry with fellow American Tommy Milner in that evening’s six-hour World Endurance Championship race at the track. The FOX network will air a two-hour next-day-delayed broadcast of the Tudor SportsCar Championship race Sunday, Sept. 21.

Huge Day for Michael Shank Racing with Road America Podium

MSR_Racing_logo

“It’s great to see this team back on the podium…” said the PA announcer; few would disagree

5671ff59-4178-4a50-82bb-a3ea7a70bbb9Elkhart Lake, Wis. (10 August 2014) –It was a huge day for Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian on Sunday as John Pew and Ozz Negri scored a strong podium finish for the Ford EcoBoost platform with a run to second place in the Continental Tire Sports Car Road Race Showcase at Road America in Round 10 of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Just moments after the champagne sprayed in victory lane at Road America, the news came through that AJ Allmendinger, who won the 2012 Rolex 24 along with Pew, Negri, and Justin Wilson, had broken through to score his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race when he won at Watkins Glen, beating another Michael Shank Racing driver Marcos Ambrose to the line to lock a spot in the Chase and add to his wide range of racing victories.

“This is just unbelievable, I’m just so excited for everyone,” enthused team owner Mike Shank. “We’ve been working so hard and it’s tough when you go for a while without the results that you are chasing. So to be as solid as we were all weekend long and come out of the race with a second place, it is just incredible for my guys. Outstanding job by John (Pew) and Ozz (Negri). We keep working on the car and it keeps getting better and better and better. This weekend was a big step.  I just have to thank everyone for not giving up when it would’ve been easy to, with all the struggles we’ve been through this year. We’ll just keep digging and try to get better again at COTA (Circuit of the Americas). And what can I say about AJ?! I’m so happy for that guy and I think there are a ton of people out there that feel the exact same way. A great day, all around!”

750a0f3b-0654-4f7c-9915-c3c374a57789Pew opened the race from seventh on the grid and stayed in the top-10 through his stint, which included a pair of very hectic restarts. Working to use his tools in the car to keep up with the changing balance, Pew was able to hold his ground before turning the car over to Negri, who returned to the pack 11th in the order. Making the most of good pace, and then some outstanding strategy from the Michael Shank Racing engineers, Negri was in podium position for two final restarts ahead of the checkered flag.

He made the most of the final restart to snag second place, giving chase to the winning Corvette all the way to the checkered flag.

“I had to get it done,” said Negri of the final restart. “Like John (Pew) said, it’s been a long time since we’ve finished on the podium and sometimes it seemed like it was never going to happen. The fuel-saving capabilities of our Ford EcoBoost engine meant we took less fuel and suddenly we were looking at the rear bumper of the No. 5 car with only a few minutes to go in the race. The team put together a great strategy that put us up front and we had the track position, then it was just a matter of picking the places and passing when I could.”

2014 Tudor USCC - Road AmericaThe podium marked the extension of a streak that stretches back to Michael Shank Racing’s first year in Prototype competition (2004), as the team has now scored at least one podium every year since moving to endurance competition.

“It’s been a tough year for us for sure,” said Pew. “It’s been a lot of work. Very tough for the team. They give it 1,000 percent every weekend, so this is good for them. We had a good car all weekend. It rolled off the trailer really good. The engineers did a great job. Our strategist made a great call as well on fuel at the end. We thought we might have to stretch things out but the yellow flags helped us a lot. My buddy here (Ozz Negri Jr.) drove a great race and it’s great for the team.”

Michael Shank Racing will return to IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition at Circuit of the Americas outside of Austin, Texas next month.

Visit Florida Racing Statement regarding 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship

SOD_newlogo_2_.1

Elkhart Lake, Wis. (10 August 2014) – Continuing to communicate its plans and a vision for the future, IMSA management released the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule on Sunday during the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America event.

The schedule will feature ten rounds of TUDOR Prototype competition to decide the  2015 championship, with the season opening on January 24-25 with the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, Visit Florida Racing is competing in its seventh full season of Prototype competition and is currently third in the 2014 IMSA championship  with four podium finishes including a victory at Watkins Glen in June.

“This is great news to have IMSA already have the 2015 schedule finalized and it is another great line up of tracks and dates again next year,” said Visit Florida Racing team owner Troy Flis. “We are thrilled that it will kick off with our home race at Daytona International Speedway as we feel like we’ve got some unfinished business there. And of course it is always good to visit Florida in January! This is good news for our sponsor partners and for everyone to work on plans for next season, so hat’s off to the IMSA folks for having it ready to go already.”

Round 9 of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar will go green at 2:15 PM ET, with FOX Sports 1 broadcasting the race at 6:30 PM ET.

Stevenson Motorsports Continues Podium Streak at Road America

stevenson_logo_transparent.1.1.1

Elkhart Lake, Wis. (9 August 2014) – After a storming drive all the way from 16th to second place in the final half hour of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America, Robin Liddell stretched Stevenson Motorsports’ late-season podium streak to four races on Saturday.

c6a06ab6-f83e-42dd-b274-770305d45a50The 2.5-hour race at Road America was an eventful one for the brother Stevenson Camaros as both ran strong throughout but were pinged for late-race penalties.

Unfortunately for Andy Lally in the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R, the penalty came too late for him to fight his way back up the pack and he took the checkered flag in 14th position after taking over from co-driver Matt Bell. The result was a disappointing one after Lally had led the race and ran in podium contention for most of his stint.

Andrew Davis began Round 9 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge from fifth position in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R while Bell started off in third in the No. 9 machine. But a dynamic race start saw the two lose ground early in the opening corners.

“That was certainly one of the most hectic races I have ever been a part of,” said Davis. “Right from the start, you have to pick a side and I obviously picked the wrong one because I went from P4 to P11 in Turn-1 and I just had to put my head down and pick off one car at a time. I made up some ground and was able to keep in touch with the leaders.”

When the race returned to green 15 minutes in, both Davis and Bell quickly set to work making up for lost positions. By the time Bell pitted to take on fuel, four fresh Continental Tires and to cede control to Lally, he had made his way all the way up to third place.

Davis pitted just after the No. 9 machine and had also made an impressive seven position gain to hand the car over to Liddell in third.

After cycling out into ninth place, Lally was quickly up to speed in the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R and easily running faster than the three cars ahead of him. The pit rotation saw Liddell cycle back into the pack in sixth place and he also made his way up to speed and into podium contention.

With just 51 minutes remaining of green flag racing, both Stevenson Camaros pitted together for a splash of fuel to run to the end.

64c12cbc-5a79-43e2-bb4c-ae50e331b2e8But the race was compromised as series officials deemed a pit lane speed violation on Liddell and forced him back to 16th with just over half an hour left to run. Another penalty shortly thereafter on Lally in the sister No. 9 machine ultimately robbed him of the lead.

Sitting way back in the pack, Liddell capitalized on the penultimate re-start of the race and systematically worked his way up into the top-five as the race waned to less than half an hour remaining.

A final full-course caution fell with just minutes remaining to race. As the field went back to green with just one lap to go it was clear the end was going to be an exciting one, but no one would have predicted the master class in passing Liddell was about to put on.

In one flying lap around the 4-mile circuit, Liddell worked his way from a respectable top-five finish all the way to the second step of the podium, displaying the strength of the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R and his abilities as a driver and scoring his fourth podium of the season.

“To be honest, we knew we didn’t have a car that could pass really well and sitting in 16th with 40-some minutes to go, you don’t think you are going to go anywhere,” said Team Manager Mike Johnson. “Robin has had some drives in his career that are truly outstanding where he somehow finds a whole different level and today was definitely one of those. Whether the penalty was Robin’s fault or not, he knew what he had to do. When the chips are on the line we didn’t give up on the championship when probably everybody else did. We gained four points when we thought we were going to lose 20. Today wasn’t the best day for us, we definitely did it the hard way, but Robin gets all the credit.”

“I thought we were completely out of the game,” said Liddell about getting the penalty. “But as always, I was going to go 100 percent. I did the best I could, and we managed to make up a lot of spots. In the end, it was a great performance by the team again. We just have to be happy that we finished in front of the No. 46. That really was the goal today. The car performed very very well. We were able to capitalize on other people’s mistakes and make some positions. A difficult race, a lot of contact out there. But very very happy for the guys and everyone involved. Obviously, having Chevrolet and the Camaro Z/28.R get this victory is great. At the end of the day, the car performs very well at all the tracks. To come back and get on the podium after the penalty is just a testament to the performance of the car and the work from Stevenson Motorsports, Chevrolet, and Pratt and Miller.”

“I was able to bring it in and Robin got the car back up to P3 and I thought we had regained control of the race when we had that penalty,” said Davis. “And then it looked very dismal, and then the way everything happened at the end and to be up there on the podium in second place is just absolutely amazing. I’m very proud of the team, they just don’t quit, they continue to dig just like Robin and myself. And Robin obviously did a stellar job to bring it from that far back where he very easily could have given up or made a mistake out of frustration. But he put his head down and got us great points. We gained points on the championship and that is the most important part so job well done to everyone!”

Stevenson Motorsports will look to continue their positive momentum and streak of podiums as they next head to Virginia International Raceway on August 22-23.

Be sure to tune in to the broadcast of the race from Road America on August 17 at 12:00 PM (ET).

Front Row Start for Action Express Racing at Road America

AER_Logo_white.5

Elkhart Lake, Wis. (9 August 2014) – Action Express Racing returns to historic Road America for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase as the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship leaders and will start the 2.75-hour event from the front row. Christian Fittipaldi put the No. 5 Corvette Daytona Prototype second on the grid and the highly competitive field saw the top-four cars separated by less than a second on the four mile track.

The veteran racer, who has decades of experience at Road America, delivered his fastest time of the 15-minute session on Lap 5 with a 1:55.961-second flyer.

Fittipaldi shares the Coyote-based Chevrolet DP machine with co-driver Joao Barbosa and will look to utilize the strong starting position to his advantage as the 52-car combined class field takes to the fabled circuit Sunday afternoon for Round 9 of the 2014 TUDOR Championship.

“I wanted to be starting on the front row and that’s where we’ll be,” said Fittipaldi. “All in all it was a good qualifying run. We have a solid car underneath us. Tomorrow is a long race and we’ll definitely try our very best to continue racing like we’ve been racing so far. An attitude of trying to win the race by all means and we’ll see what we can get out of it. Right now we’re thinking about championship points and it’s time to keep moving forward. We’ve been happy the whole weekend and I think we have a good car underneath us for tomorrow.”

Action Express Racing unloaded off the trailer with a good baseline set up and was quick in all three practice sessions ahead of Saturday evening’s qualifying. The team continually improved throughout the weekend – setting the fourth fastest time in Practice 1, the second quickest time in Practice 2 and then topping the timecharts in Practice 3.

The team will look to convert that positive momentum into a victory in Sunday’s race.

The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase goes green tomorrow at 1:15 PM Central Time. The race will can be followed LIVE on MRN Radio (www.mrn.com) as well as with timing and scoring on www.imsa.com.

FOX Sports 1 will televise the event at 6:30 PM ET Sunday evening.