Although it wasn’t the way he had wanted his 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No 16 season to end, endurance Porsche driver Darren Law pulled out all the stops in the final race of the season at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. Unfortunately, the Law, David Donohue and Buddy Rice trio would only see a tenth place finish at the checkered flag following the extended format 1000k race, and a season that saw the #58 Brumos Porsche Riley finish in the top five a total of seven consecutive times with three second places. Law of Phoenix, Arizona and Donohue of Malvern, Pennsylvania, the two full time drivers in the #58 Brumos entry, finished the season off fourth in the driver’s championship points race.
Despite concerns that the high altitude at the 4.5 mile Miller Motorsports circuit could adversely affect the power output of the Porsche engines that are of a lower displacement than many of the V8 powered Daytona Prototype machines, the #58 was near the top of the timing sheet consistently. Donohue was then able to place the car 3rd on the grid, adding another strong qualifying effort to his three pole positions from the 2008 season.
Donohue took the start Saturday morning, and despite a clean start at the front of the field, further down the pack an accident immediately brought a full course yellow. The Brumos squad brought Donohue in on lap 2 to fulfill the required stop in the first 45 minutes, gambling that the rest of his stint would stay green. The gamble was a good one, and Donohue was able to assume the lead as pitstops under green were performed by many of the front running teams later in his stint. Donohue would lead for several laps before giving up the point to the #23 Porsche Riley of Joey Hand.
Rain began to fall lightly on lap 50 although the skies would open in earnest later in the race. Donohue maintained second place, and kept close to the race leading #23 until pitting on lap 63 to hand the car over to Buddy Rice. By lap 70 Rice had taken the lead. During Buddy’s stint a brief but very heavy rain shower soaked the circuit and sent several cars spinning and off the circuit while others pitted for rain tires. However, the track began to dry rapidly thereafter and many of the teams struggled with the decision to go back to dry tires and when to do so.
With deteriorating handling due to rain tires on a dry track, Buddy eventually pitted the #58 on lap 84 and took on a set of Pirelli slicks and handed the car off to Law. Darren exited pit lane in 5th and set his sites on the lead pack. Grip level was spotty on the circuit as there were still areas of wet tack surface in several areas. After a tight battle with Scott Pruett, Law made contact with #01 Telmex Lexus Riley and sent Pruett into a spin. As Darren continued to move forward, Grand-Am officials deemed the contact as avoidable and called the #58 in for a drive through penalty. Darren complied with the ruling and served the penalty, which dropped him back to 10th place at the checkered flag.
Darren Law Quote
"That was a tough stint. I think we were in with a shot there in the beginning, but things started to go sour at the end. Looking back at it, we probably should have come in for slicks a lap or two earlier, but it was a really hard call. I got in a bit deep on the #01 and we touched. I was really pushing hard to move forward. The penalty was unfortunate. We had a front running car. I don’t necessarily agree with the official’s decision, but I guess that’s the way it goes.
The season itself was terrific though. We really were able to show what the Porsche Riley package could do and had a very strong mid season. Although we never reached the top step of that podium we were a threat at most every race and I think everyone in the paddock knew that. The Brumos crew did a great job the whole season and I think David and I made a good team once again this year. I’m already looking forward to our first set of Daytona test days in October."
The Miller Motorsports Park event marked the fourteenth and last race on the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No 16 schedule. However, Darren’s season of racing is far from over. Aside from the first three "test day" segments to be held at Daytona starting the last weekend of October, Law will also be back with the Flying Lizard Motorsports team and their Porsche GT3 RSRs in the American Le Mans Series. Darren will be teaming again with Seth Neiman as they take on the GT2 class field at the Petit Le Mans the weekend of October 1-4, and then will also drive in the season ending event at Laguna Seca October 16-18.