Close racing and close finishes have been more than evident in Grand-Am Rolex Series competition in recent meetings – with three of the closest five races in Rolex Series history having taken place over the last month-and-a-half.
Less than half of a second combined has separated the winners from the runners-up in the last three races - the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway, the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park and last week's Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Whoever the winners are of Friday's Crown Royal 200 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International will look for a little bit more breathing room when the chequered flag flies after two hours of racing.
Mark Wilkins passed both Darren Law and Antonio Garcia to win last Friday's Montreal 200 in the closest finish in the nine-year history of the Rolex Series. Wilkins and Brian Frisselle gave AIM Autosport its first victory by edging Garcia by 0.064 seconds. Law finished third, 0.654 seconds back, in the closest 1-2-3 finish in Rolex Series history.
It marked the second time in three races that the winner earned the victory with a last-lap pass. Scott Pruett passed Alex Gurney to win the Brumos Porsche 250, winning by 0.081 seconds in what was the closest Rolex Series finish at the time. In the following race, Pruett held off Law by 0.341 seconds at Barber Motorsports Park, the fourth-closest series finish at the time.
All eight of the 'sprint format' races on the 2008 Rolex Series schedule have been decided by less than two seconds - including six by 0.629 seconds or closer. Only the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen and season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona were decided by a wider margin.
With competition that close, a number of teams will be looking to take the chequered flag when the series returns to The Glen to share the bill with the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. Wilkins and Frisselle will be looking for their second consecutive victory in the #61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley, while Law and David Donohue in the #58 Brumos Porsche Riley and Garcia and Christian Fittipaldi in the #16 Crown Royal Cask #16 Pontiac Coyote look for the top step of the podium.
"We would love to get it at The Glen,” Law said. “That's where Bob Snodgrass grew up, and he was always excited to go back there. The Glen would be a great place to do it. We've got two cars in the top five in the team points. We're knocking on the door. The Glen would be a great place to win."
Pruett and Rojas are seeking a record-tying seventh victory in 2008 in the #01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, while taking another step closer to the championship with four races remaining. Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley are the defending winners of the Crown Royal 200 - one of their seven triumphs en route to the 2007 Daytona Prototype title - and are 63 points behind in the standings.
"We have been in a position to win a lot of races and things just aren't going our way,” Fogarty said. “But we have got pace and we are doing the right things but we just have things going wrong, and that can't last forever. I want to start building momentum and carry it through the end of the season straight into Daytona next year. That's kind of where I am setting my sights right now."