Dalziel, Zogaib Earn First Career Rolex Series Victory in Saturday's RumBum.com 250 at Laguna Seca
SAMAX Scores first Rolex Series team win; Edwards, Collins take Rolex Series GT triumph
Ryan Dalziel took the lead from Scott Pruett on a three-wide pass on Lap 76 of the 98-lap RumBum.com 250 on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and held off Marc Goossens by 1.504 seconds to give himself, co-driver Henri Zogaib and SAMAX their first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 victory. The race will be televised on SPEED at noon ET Sunday.
While Dalziel led the final 23 laps, he had one close call late in the race. Following a restart with 15 minutes remaining, Goossens managed to pull alongside the Scotsman as the pair approached the famed Corkscrew turn. Both cars, as did the car driven by point co-leader and third-place runner Scott Pruett, went through the gravel before reentering the track – all three managing to maintain control – with Dalziel holding the lead at the exit of the fast downhill corner.
Dalziel gave the No. 2 SAMAX BMW Riley its first Rolex Series Daytona Prototype victory after three runner-up finishes. Zogaib started the car 17th before turning to over to Dalziel 14 laps into the race, and once in front, Dalziel never fell from the top position. Goossens and Jim Matthews were seeking their second victory of the season in the No. 91 Bob Stallings Racing/Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley, as the pair won the Mexico City 250.
Pruett, seeking his fourth victory of the season in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley started by Memo Rojas, had taken the lead from Cristiano da Matta on a restart following a caution for a fire that damaged Matt Plumb’s No. 7 Rum Bum Racing BMW Riley. Moments later, Goossens made his move on Pruett. Dalziel, seeing his opportunity, went by on to take the lead, although was pressured by Goossens for the remainder of the race.
Pruett and Rojas finished third and left the race with a 19-point advantage (167-148) over Goossens and Matthews. Following in fourth was the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley of Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney, and fifth was the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley of polesitter David Donohue and Darren Law. Donohue led a race-high 27 circuits.
Michael Valiante also led early in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley, which he turned over to Angelelli on a pit stop. The No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Porsche Crawford of Bill Auberlen and the No. 7 Rum Bum Racing BMW Riley of Plumb were side-by-side exiting the pits, and Angelelli pulled from his pit stall into the side of Auberlen, causing minor bodywork damage on both cars. The SunTrust and Ruby Tuesday cars served drive-through penalties following the incident.
Da Matta made his return to professional racing in the No. 98 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley, and led 10 laps after taking control of the car from co-driver Jimmy Vasser. However, the duo retired after completing 83 laps.
Eight cautions – all for cars off the track – slowed the race’s overall average speed to 79.559 mph.
Edwards, Collins Take Rolex Series GT Win in Final Laps
In GT, Paul Edwards took advantage of a miscue by Sylvain Tremblay on the next-to-last lap and gave himself, co-driver Kelly Collins and the No. 07 Banner Racing Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R their second Rolex Series GT triumph of the 2008 season.
Tremblay took the lead into Lap 96 before getting off the track in the Corkscrew. He returned to the track, but couldn’t hold off a charging Edwards, who completed the pass in Turn 9 and held onto a 1.131-second advantage over Spencer Pumpelly. Edwards and Collins – who collected Pontiac’s fourth consecutive GT triumph – also extended their Rolex Series GT point lead by nine over Pumpelly and No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3 co-driver Tim George Jr. (154-145).
Tremblay and co-driver Nick Ham – who started on the GT pole – combined to lead 48 laps (Ham 32 of them) in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazdaspeed/Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 in their third-place effort.
Finishing fourth were the No. 21 Matt Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R co-drivers Diego Alessi and local driver Ryan Phinny, while No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 co-drivers Eric Lux and Leh Keen finished fifth after combining to lead three laps.
Seventeen drivers were responsible for a 23 car lead changes, and 15 different cars led at least one lap.
Rolex Series GT competitors continue action with their sixth race of the season, the GT Classic at Lime Rock Park, May 26 in Lakeville, Conn.
NEWS & NOTES
- The victory was the first career for Ryan Dalziel and Henri Zogaib in Rolex Series competition and the first ever for their SAMAX team.
- Dalziel and Zogaib’s victory was the team’s second straight podium finish, as the duo finished second in the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway. Dalziel led 25 of the 98 laps in the race at Laguna Seca.
- This is BMW’s third career Rolex Series Daytona Prototype victory and first since the Grand Prix of Miami in 2007. This season, Lexus has three victories, followed by Pontiac and BMW with one each.
- Riley has won all five Daytona Prototype races and 15 straight dating back to Watkins Glen International in June 2007.
- Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews recorded their third straight podium finish with their second-place finish. It also marked the duo’s ninth straight top-10 finish, and the pair moved to within 19 points of the lead.
- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas’ third-place finish was their fifth podium finish of the season. Together, the pair has won three races and have one second- and one third-place finish in 2008.
- Thirteen Daytona Prototypes finished on the lead lap.
- Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante posted their first top-10 finish since the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, as the pair earned eighth. Angelelli was issued a stop-and-go penalty after contact with Bill Auberlen on pit road.
- Nine cars and 10 drivers led at least one lap in Daytona Prototype competition. Seventeen Daytona Prototypes have led races this season, three more than last season overall. David Donohue, co-driving with Darren Law, led a race-high 27 laps after starting on the pole.
- Though the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola started 18th due to a post-qualifying engine change, both Eric van de Poele and Tracy Krohn led at least one lap.
- All five engine manufacturers were in the top six; Pontiac finished second and fourth.
- Riley Chassis swept the top seven finishing positions.
- The GT win by Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards was the pair’s second victory of the season and fourth in the series’ last eight races.
- Collins and Edwards’ win was the fourth straight victory by Pontiac. Mazda was the only other power plant to win in Rolex Series GT competition this season (Rolex 24 At Daytona).
- Collins and Edwards are now tied with Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis for most Rolex Series GT wins this season; all four have two wins in 2008.
- Collins and Edwards have eight straight top-10 finishes, dating back to last season.
-Three of the five GT races this season have been won from the front row (RumBum.com 250 from third and Mexico City 250 from fourth).
- After its fifth class victory this season, Pontiac now has 49 career Rolex Series class victories, tying it with Porsche. Porsche, on the other hand, has yet to win a Rolex Series race in 2008.
- Spencer Pumpelly and Tim George Jr.’s second-place run was their fourth podium finish in five races this season.
- Sylvain Tremblay and Nick Ham’s third-place finish was their second podium finish this season and first since their triumph in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
- The top four cars in GT were all different – Pontiac GXP.R (first), Porsche GT3 (second), Mazda RX-8 (third) and Pontiac GTO.R (fourth). The Porsche GT3 of Eric Lux and Leh Keen was fifth.
Ryan Dalziel (No. 2 SAMAX BMW Riley): “It was pretty emotional the last few laps, when I got a good jump on the restart and saw I had the legs on them. I’m a little bit angry at myself. I made a mistake on a restart and got a tire off. But there was absolutely no way I was going to give up a victory for myself, for Henri and for the team. It was going to end up in the tires or end up in victory lane.
“I’ve always have mixed emotions coming back to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I lost the Atlantic championship here in 2004, and since then I’ve had an up-and-down battle here. It’s doubly special for me to come here and win for SAMAX. Everything went well today in practice and in the race. The car was phenomenal, and I don’t think we’ve lost a position in the pits all year.”
Henri Zogaib (No. 2 SAMAX BMW Riley): “I never set foot on this track until yesterday. We missed the whole first session due to a fuel cell replacement. So I was under a lot of pressure to learn this track and find some speed. Ryan was pure magic. I’m very proud of him. There’s a lot more to come from SAMAX. I’m a happy man.”
Jim Matthews (No. 91 Riley Matthews Pontiac Riley): “It’s always great to be on the podium. You always want to win, so it’s a little bit of a disappointment when you finish second. My biggest moment came early in the race, when a hole opened up going into Turn 1 and I picked up a few positions. We more or less maintained position and Mark (Goossens) did an awesome job when he took over.”
Marc Goossens (No. 91 Riley Matthews Pontiac Riley): "That's what we're here for, the close racing, and it worked out pretty well. We were both running real hard, trying to get the win, and that's what this series is all about. We just have to try and be on the podium every single race."
Scott Pruett (No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley): “We just ran our race. We knew what we wanted, strategy-wise. You never know how it’s going to turn out. There were actually less cautions at the start of the race than we had expected, and probably more cautions at the end of the race than we had expected. It had to be great for the fans because we kept jamming it up and we would be in line – all the top Daytona Prototypes cars – and all hell broke loose for a couple of laps until we stretched it out.”
“Our goal is to finish on the podium every race. That’s what our goal is for the whole season. So far we have been doing what we needed to do. We didn’t have the fastest car today, but we made the most of it and everybody did a great job.”
Kelly Collins (No. 07 Banner Racing Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.): “The Banner Racing Car was fantastic. The car was working good. I gave it to Paul after an hour and 20 minutes. Paul did a fantastic job of bringing it home. We were stuck in third place, and I’m sorry to Sylvain (Tremblay), and a couple of other cars, but we’ll take what we can get.”
Paul Edwards (No. 07 Banner Racing Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.): “The last lap was probably the easiest lap. Once Sylvain hit the marbles up there, I mean, we were both pushing really hard. We both thought, we’ll give it everything we’ve got, and we did pretty good even though our tires were pretty much shot by then and our fuel was getting down as well. It was a great job by Sylvain and it was a great race. Today we were patient. I thought Sylvain had it in the bag, but our patience paid off and we got lucky. Still it was pretty equal. I don’t know that I could have gotten by Sylvain because he did really well. But we’ll take it. Lime Rock coming up – which we know is pretty bumpy – is a great track for us. It suits our car as it handles the bumps pretty good. We’re happy to have the points today and we’re looking forward to Lime Rock.”
Nick Ham (No. 70 SpeedSource Mazdaspeed/Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8): “We’re driving a good consistent race, finishing up third after being in a bit of a slump for the past few races. It was a good team effort. I feel bad for the guys in the No. 40 car, because basically I threw away a top-10 finish for them. I was trying to be a nice guy and let Scott Pruett by at Turn 9. I got a little bit in the marbles – which I shouldn’t have done since that was the same car that hit me in Turn 3 earlier in the race for no reason at all – but anyway, it was a good finish for Mazda and Castrol. I’m very happy.”
Sylvain Tremblay (No. 70 SpeedSource Mazdaspeed/Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8): “The last lap was interesting. We got into the Corkscrew and it was so much gravel and so much dirt. The car is fast. It’s still not the fastest, but we’ve got some work to do. And now we’re getting ready for Lime Rock which is a really big challenge. Today was disappointing, but I’m still happy.”