Pontiac Takes Rolex Series GT Points Lead To Mid-Ohio

Pontiac Takes Rolex Series GT Points Lead To Mid-Ohio

23.06.2006: Pontiac Takes Rolex Series GT Points Lead To Mid-Ohio

Pontiac's GT Points-leading #64 and #65 TRG GTO.Rs Head to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; #40 Preformed Line Products Pontiac Riley Comes "Home" to Ohio


In August of 2005, the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series' 10th event was held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Pontiac Motorsports left the 2.258-mile road course with a win by Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson in the #4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype and a second-place GT finish in the then-new #65 TRG GTO.R of Andy Lally and Marc Bunting. It was the second podium finish in a string of 14 consecutive podiums which has yet to be broken.

"I had a pretty good weekend here last year," said Lally. "Marc and I took second in the GTO.R, and then I went on to win the Grand-Am Cup race with Jamie Holtom in the Chevy Cobalt SS. I really like Mid-Ohio. It's a tough track but after you learn it pretty well, it becomes rewarding and fun. It's a track the suits our car, too. We expect to have a pretty strong finish here."

The GTO.Rs have had 'pretty strong finishes' for much of the season. The #64 and #65 GTO.Rs (with part-time assistance from the #98 Pacific Coast Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R) have this season racked up an impressive five wins, seven additional podium finishes (12 including the wins) and a podium sweep.

In the Daytona Protoype class, the #40 Derhaag Motorsports Preformed Line Products Pontiac Riley of Chris Bingham and Randy Ruhlman is coming 'home' to Ohio. Although the team is based in Minnesota, Ruhlman is a native of Cleveland and has raced the track in the Trans-Am series many times. The team's sponsors are also Ohio-based and Preformed Line Products and KeyBank employees and families will be on hand to cheer the team on.

"This is a homecoming of sorts for me; I grew up in Cleveland and I've been coming to this track for years," said Ruhlman. "I've run Trans-Am cars on this course before but never a Daytona Prototype. The Trans-Am cars are quite a bit different; the engine is up front instead of a mid-engined setup like we have now. But my teammate Chris has had experience here in a DP, so between the two of us we've got a good idea of what to expect this weekend."



For the #4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford, Mid-Ohio is a rewarding track as well. With a Rolex Series victory here last year, the team (now with veteran road racer Andy Wallace driving with Butch Leitzinger) is hoping to repeat the success at a track they know so well.

"Mid-Ohio is a very frantic track," said Leitzinger. "There's never a moment to rest on the circuit. The 'Madness' section of the circuit is especially challenging. If you make a mistake in one corner, you are penalized for the next one or two corners as well. Mid-Ohio is a circuit that rewards experience, which I suppose is a reason that I've done well there. I live only a few hours east and have raced and tested at Mid-Ohio for over fifteen years."



The Rolex Series' race at Mid-Ohio takes place on Saturday, June 24 at 5:30 p.m. and will last approximately two and three-quarters hours. SPEED TV will televise the event the following day at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

-Steve Smith-
photos Grandam

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23.06.2006 / MaP

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