Grand AM » 21 August 2008
AIM Autosport chasing hat-trick.
Brian Frisselle and Mark Wilkins will look to capture their third consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series victory this weekend when they line-up for the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 at Infineon Raceway, while Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will seek to regain championship form.
Frisselle and Wilkins have won the two most recent races in the #61 Ford Riley ahead of this weekend's event. Wilkins went from fourth to first on the final lap to win at Montreal in the closest finish in Rolex Series history, then joined pole-winning Frisselle to dominate the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen. The surge began in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona in July, where Wilkins won the pole and the team ran competitively before suspension issues cost them a podium finish. Frisselle passed both Gurney and Pruett late in the race at Barber to take the lead in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant, only to suffer engine failure while leading with 13 laps remaining.
Following Saturday's race, only two races remain on the 2008 schedule. Pruett and Rojas have six victories and finished on the podium in all but one of the opening nine races of the season in the #01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, but they finished fifth at Montreal and 13th at Watkins Glen - seeing their championship lead trimmed from 63 to 49 points.
A native of Sacramento now living in Auburn, Pruett won the 2006 Daytona Prototype race at Infineon, considered his home track. Another victory would tie he and Rojas with Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty for the most Daytona Prototype victories in a single season.
"It's been nothing short of a fabulous year for us," he said. "The crew, Memo, all the Ganassi guys and the whole organisation has been fabulous. There are two things coming into Infineon. One, with the way we've been running, we're looking forward to that and more so, it's my home track. I'll have a lot of friends and family here, along with a lot of Scott Pruett fans."
Gurney and Fogarty are running second in the team championship in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley. Last year, they won the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250, scoring their seventh victory of the season and taking the point lead for the first time in their successful bid for the title. However, they have won only one race this season. The pair of California natives scored their third runner-up finish of the year in the most recent race at Watkins Glen.
Brumos Porsche is looking to score its first Rolex Series triumph since 2003. The team suffered a heartbreaking loss in last year's Armed Forces Grand-Am 250, when David Donohue led 29 laps down the stretch in the #58 Porsche Riley, only to be passed by Gurney on a restart only two laps from the chequered flag. Co-driver Darren Law suffered another heartbreaker earlier this month, leading twelve laps down the stretch only to run out of gas 200 yards shy of the finish and place third in the closest 1-2-3 finish in Rolex Series history.
The Brumos Racing #59 Porsche of JC France and Joao Barbosa is also on a roll, finishing in the top ten in six of the last seven races. Barbosa has recorded the fastest race lap three times this season, including both of the last two races.
Memo Gidley, who lives only a few miles from Infineon Raceway is paired with Brad Jaeger in the #77 Doran Racing Kodak Ford Dallara. The team also fields a second Ford Dallara, the #47 Brach's/CDOC entry, for Ricky Taylor and Burt Frisselle.
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