LUCKY 11 – BOTH DORAN RACING PROTOTYPES FINISH IN THE TOP-10 AT THE
ARMED FORCES 250 AT INFINEON AND HEAD TO NEW JERSEY GUNNING FOR A PODIUM
With both cars finishing in the top-10, Doran Racing extended its remarkable streak at this weekend's Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California – eleven top-10 finishes, eight of them in a row. The #77 Kodak Doran/Dallara Ford co-driven by Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger qualified 8th and finished 7th. The #47 Brach's Candy / CDOC Dallara Ford of Burt Frisselle and Ricky Taylor qualified 6th and finished 10th.
"It really goes to show how far the Doran Racing team has come this season that we all feel a bit disappointed by a 7th-place finish in a series as competitive as this one," said Gidley, who lives just minutes from the track in Novato, California. "We felt something not quite right with the car in the first two-hour practice session and overnight the team found something in the setup that we changed and were immediately on pace with the top-6 in the next session. Unfortunately that put us a little behind the curve in qualifying and the race, but we had a drama-free event and scored another top-10 for the Doran team and our sponsors."
Gidley, the widely respected American driver who was born in La Paz, Mexico and now makes his home in Novato, California, has made a name for himself as one of the most committed drivers in the paddock, driving and winning in everything from karts to Indy Cars and stock cars to prototypes. His co-driver, Brad Jaeger is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University where he was a member of their Formula SAE team, has a racing resume that includes karting, Sports 2000, Skip Barber, F2000, Star Mazda and the Indy Pro Series.
"Looking at the big picture, I'm very happy with the weekend and the result because this was the first time where every adjustment we made, every session we went out, was better than the one before," said Jaeger, who qualified and started the car. "Our race setup had just a bit too much understeer, so Memo and I weren't able to push too hard and were running comfortably in with the 5th- to 10th-place group, moving up or back a few places depending on pit stops. The Doran team did a superb job in the race with flawless pit stops and a really good strategy, so we're happy with the results and ready to focus on the final two races of the season at New Jersey and Miller Motorsports Park."
The #47 Brach's Candy / CDOC Dallara Ford of Burt Frisselle and Ricky Taylor had a similarly drama-free weekend with Taylor qualifying 6th – his best effort of the season. Frisselle has been racing Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex Series since 2004; including a podium finish in his first-ever start in the series. He has scored top-10 and top-5 finishes in each of his four seasons of Rolex competition, including a 2nd place finish at Watkins Glen in 2004. Ricky Taylor is the 19 year-old son of Rolex Series champion Wayne Taylor and, when not in a race car, attends Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida, where he plays on the varsity soccer team. In 2007, Taylor finished second in Skip Barber National Championship with two wins, five poles and five podiums. He won the Skip Barber Southern Series in 2006 with six wins, three poles and 12 podiums.
"The #47 Brach's car ran really well all weekend and we were runing comfortably with the top-5 in the race using a radically different strategy than everyone else," said Taylor. "When we pitted for the driver change we were in 9th, and then caught an unlucky break when the yellow flag came out and we went a lap down. We ran hard to try and get it back, but that was the last yellow and there just weren't any more opportunities to move up during the last part of the race. I'd like to thank our sponsors, Brach's and CDOC for their support; none of this would have been possible without them."
This will be the final race for the #47 car this season, so accomplishing the Doran Racing team's goal of a podium finish in the final two races of the year, including this weekend's in the Supercar Life 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park and the season finale, the Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park, September 19 – 21.
"We had a better car than the finish shows, but it was just one of those deals where the yellow flag came out at exactly the wrong time," said Frisselle. "The Doran team did a tremendous job all weekend and Brach's brought out a bunch of people, so we thank them for their support and hope that we can continue working with them next year. Its disappointing that we have to stop at this point, just when Ricky and I and the team are really clicking; we unload fast and are competitive all weekend. Our goal for next season is to make Ricky and I a permanent driving team and we had some potential sponsors at the race who seemed impressed, so we're already hard at work on next year. And I'll be co-driving the #77 car with Memo and Brad in the finale at Miller, so that will be a great chance for us to wrap up the season on a high note and carry some momentum into 2009.
The next event, the Supercar Life 250, takes place this weekend at the brand-new New Jersey Motorsports Park. This stunning new facility, located on over 700 acres, is conveniently located to Philadelphia, New York and Washington DC. Included in the first phase of this tremendous facility are: 2 world class road courses (Thunderbolt and Lightning); an exclusive motorsports country club known as the Drivers Club; unique trackside Villa homes, and a first class karting facility where anyone can experience the thrill of motorsports behind the wheel for the first time. The Southern Road Circuit at New Jersey Motorsports Park, where the Rolex Series cars will compete, is called "Thunderbolt Raceway" and features a 2.25 miles, 14-turn road course with a one-half mile straightway.
"For me, going to New Jersey where none of us has raced before will definitely level the playing field a bit," says Jaeger. "I've driven at some of the tracks we've raced on this year, but never in a DP car, so there was a steep learning curve for me every weekend. At New Jersey, we'll all be climbing that curve together, so that soul definitely give me a little advantage. "
Adds Gidley, "It will level things out in the early stages of the weekend, but all the top teams and drivers in the Rolex series are so professional that we'll all get it figured out pretty quickly. I personally love going to brand-new racetracks because they're a good indicator of how strong the sport is, and I've been to a lot of new tracks in my career, so I'm pretty good at figuring out the fast way around early in the weekend. The Doran team is getting stronger every race and we're still gunning for a podium finish in these last two races of the season."
The two cars the Doran Racing team has been campaigning throughout the 2008 Rolex Series season look the same, but are different underneath. The #47 car is all-Dallara, while the #77 car is a Doran chassis fitted with Dallara bodywork featuring enhanced aerodynamics and increased downforce. Both cars are powered by 500 horsepower Roush-Yates Ford V-8 engines.
Doran Enterprises is Dallara's official spare parts distributor and approved repair center for that series. In addition, Doran Designs will fabricate certain special parts for the marque. Doran Racing has a successful history of working with Dallara and won the Daytona 24 Hours in 2002 with a Dallara Sportscar LMP1. While Doran Racing has prepared and fielded race cars in a wide variety of series for many years, from Indy cars to NASCAR trucks, the Lebanon, Ohio-based team is particularly noted for its successes in sports car endurance racing, including being the first and only team in U.S. history to win the 24 Hours at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Watkins Glen Six-Hour race in the same year (1998).
The next event, Round 14 on the 2008 Rolex Series schedule, is the Supercar Life 250 on the 2.25-mile 'Thunderbolt' course at the brand-new New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey. On-track activities begin with a promoter-sanctioned test day Thursday, August 28. Several official practice sessions will be held on Friday, August 29, with the standard Rolex Series 15-minute qualifying session taking place from 1:50 to 2:05 pm, Saturday, August 30. The Rolex Series supercar Life 250 is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:00 pm Sunday, August 31. The race will be broadcast at 1:00 pm Sunday, August 31 on SPEED TV. All times are Eastern.