Last year's Verizon Festival of Speed at Laguna Seca produced a first-time Rolex Series winner when Ryan Dalziel and Henri Zogaib teamed up to give SAMAX its first victory and, with three of the last four series races doing likewise, there are good odds on the return to the historic circuit doing it again.
The most recent Rolex Series event saw Krohn Racing's Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson give the Proto-Auto Lola chassis its first victory, as well as Zonta's first triumph, while John Pew and Ian James won for the first time for Michael Shank Racing in the 2008 season finale at Miller Motorsports Park, and Darren Law scored his first Daytona Prototype victory in the 2009 season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
That trend could continue this weekend, as Penske Racing's Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas have qualified on the front row for all three races this season, and led each event too. Dumas won the pole at New Jersey in what was his first Rolex Series qualifying attempt, and both drivers led in Penske Racing's #12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley. A cut left-rear tyre led to an unscheduled pit-stop late in the race, however, with Bernhard battling back to finish third.
While SAMAX is not entered in this weekend's race, team manager Peter Baron is directing the Orbit Racing Daytona Prototype effort. Bill Lester - who is yet to win in the class - is paired with Dalziel in the same car that won last year's event, now running as the #45 entry.
Another winless team, Supercar Life Racing, finished fourth in its most recent outing at Virginia International Raceway with Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut, and could be a candidate for victory, along with other teams looking for their first victory, such as Childress-Howard Motorsports and Beyer Racing, the latter now fielding a Comptech/Honda-powered DP for the first time in the hands of Jordan Taylor and Jared Beyer. The Beyer team will also race the #13 Lennox Pontiac Riley for Ricky Taylor and Mike Forest, who will be making his Daytona Prototype debut.
Rolex 24 winners Law and David Donohue, co-drivers of the #58 Brumos Porsche Riley, enter the race with a four-point lead over Virginia winners Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, who share the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley.
Meanwhile, three teams are within three points of the lead in the hotly-contested Acxiom GT championship chase after Leh Keen and Dirk Werner won at New Jersey Motorsports Park to pull into a tie for second. While he has yet to win this season, Spencer Pumpelly has finished second twice in TRG's #66 AXA/Mitchell Rubber Porsche GT3 to hold the series lead with 89 points.
Tied for second with Keen and Werner - who both return this weekend in the #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 - are VIR winners Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, who drive Stevenson Motorsports' #57 Bryan Mark Financial Pontiac GXP.R.