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GRAND-AM: Brickyard - Dalziel, Popow win: Ferrari takes first GT victory

Photo: Grand-Am.com

 

The GRAND-AM Rolex Series came to Indianapolis with the Top 8 DP drivers within 6 points of each other, including a 4-way tie for the series lead between Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor (Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP) and Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow (Starworks BMW Riley). 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan (No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley), Rubens Barrichello (Doran Racing Ford Dallara), Sebastien Bourdais (8 Star Motorsports Corvette DP), AJ Allmendinger (Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian), and Joey Hand (Kanaan’s co-driver) added some additional Indy (not to mention Formula 1, NASCAR, and DTM) flair to the starting grid as well.

Starworks had changed from Ford power to a new BMW 4.5-liter 6-speed V8 during the run up to the race, with Ganassi moving its 01 car to the same power plant from the previous 5.0 liter, 5-speed BMW set up.

Taylor started on pole, with Boris Said leading the GT field in the Marsh Racing Corvette. Both drivers held the lead in the early laps. Robin Liddell (Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R) took the GT lead down the oval straight before reentering the infield 7 min into the 3-hr race. Popow was given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.

A full-course caution came out with 2 hr 44 min left (out of 3 hrs total) following a wishbone failure on the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP which left it stranded on course. Ricky Taylor (Spirit of Daytona Racng Corvette DP) came out in the lead following the pit stops. Memo Rojas in the No. 01 Ganassi DP took it from him on the infield straight with 2:24 to go.

Liddell pitted from the GT lead right before a full-course caution came out following a spin by the No. 77 Doran Racing machine near the 2:10 mark. Jon Fogarty (Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP) was first off pit row in the DP cycle, but got passed by Scott Pruett (No. 01) on track with 1:54 to go. Alessandro Balzan led GT in the (Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458).

A collision in the GT pack involving Billy Johnson (Turner Motorsport BMW M3) and Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Sport Customer Racing R8) brought a third full-course caution at 1:44. Jordan Taylor stayed on track and reassumed the race lead. The 02 reported alternator problems at 1:25. Caution No. 4 came out when Anthony Lazzaro (AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458) pushed Eric Curran in the Marsh Corvette into the gravel trap. Ganassi changed the battery in the 02 during the subsequent pit stops, with Hand taking over behind the wheel.
 

Brian Frisselle (Action Express Racing Corvette DP) was at the front for the restart, but got passed by Angelelli at the end of the main straight. Andy Lally (Magnus Racing Porsche GT3) led GT with 1 hr left in the race. Dalziel passed Angelelli on track to take the lead with 53 min to go. When Allmendinger tried to pass the Wayne Taylor car as well, he hit and spun him. In the meantime, Patrick Long (Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3) passed Lally for the GT lead.

A round of green-flag pit stops left Brendon Hartley (Starworks Motorsport BMW Riley, No. 8) in the race lead, with Lazzaro returning to the front in GT. Lazzaro pitted from the lead under green at 38 min. Hartley had done the same earlier, moving Barrichello to the point. Andrew Davis (Snow Motorsports/Wright Racing Porsche GT3) inherited the top GT spot.

Davis slowed sharply with 17 min left, with Jeff Segal (R. Ferri/AIM Motorsport Racing Ferrari 458) taking the GT lead. Barrichello pitted from the lead at the 9 min mark, with Dalziel taking over the point. Dalziel and Segal remained in front to the end.

The victory gave sole possession of the season points lead to Dalziel and Popow. Scott Pruett’s second-place finish in the 01 Ganassi put two of the three new BMW engines 1-2. The Segal win was Ferrari’s first of the year.

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