AIM Autosport looking for a comeback at New Jersey

01.05.2009: AIM Autosport came to New Jersey Motorsport Park (NJMP) on a roll last season having recorded three straight podiums including back-to-back wins at Montreal and Watkins Glen plus they had three poles

Team took the pole in 2008. Hoping to repeat.

AIM Autosport came to New Jersey Motorsport Park (NJMP) on a roll last season having recorded three straight podiums including back-to-back wins at Montreal and Watkins Glen plus they had three poles in the last four races. So it was expected the No. 61 Ford Riley would be quick when it reached the brand new racetrack in New Jersey.

The first order of business was to get used to the new circuit and it turned out the car was not so quick when it hit the track. AIM’s engineers and crew set about finding the right balance for the track and Mark certainly did his homework as well. He would go on to record his second pole of the year setting the track record of 1:11.761 at 112.875 mph.

Of course the team is hoping to repeat that performance this year.


“It was great to have pole and we did lead the early part of the race” said Mark Wilkins, “but this is a very tight track and there are limited passing opportunities especially with the GT cars. Following pit stops, you find yourself looking for ways around traffic. We are more familiar with the track this year and there have been some changes and improvements that should allow for some closer racing.”

Wilkins continued, “Our goal is to repeat on the pole and have a better finish this year. Sixth last year was OK but we had a podium car. A late race incident with another car caused some damage to the steering and on a tight course like NJMP, you don’t want to have to fight a problem like that. The focus is squarely on getting to the podium on Sunday and both Burt and I know we have the car to do it.”

Making his first appearance at New Jersey Motorsport Park will be driver Burt Frisselle in the AIM Autosport No. 61 Ford Riley. Burt did not run at the circuit’s inaugural race last year and will get his first taste of NJMP in practice on Friday morning.

“It should be an interesting session” noted Frisselle. “I heard a lot about the track from Mark and Brian (Frisselle) after last year’s race and I have had the opportunity to review some of the in-car footage, especially from Mark’s qualifying when he got pole. That information should be very helpful when I hit the track.” He continued, “Now we just hope that the weather holds and we get in plenty of laps."

This year, New Jersey Motorsport Park will feature a change in the layout of the Thunderbolt Raceway circuit. A chicane has been added at turn three to slow the Daytona Prototypes after a number of them got just a bit too airborne along the back straight last year. There is also improved runoff at the end of the high-speed straights plus new grass off the edge of the track should keep the dust down.

Practice for the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 begins on Friday May 1st with qualifying set to go at 1:45 p.m. ET Saturday.

The Verizon 250 at New Jersey Motorsport Park starts at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday May 3rd. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED TV.



- Chris Jameson-

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/grandam-aim-autosport-new-jersey-njmp-ford-riley-watkins-glen-mark-wilkins---62511.html

01.05.2009 / MaP

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