Dual Weekend Reaps Joy and Disappointment for Rising Star
Bryan Sellers opened the 2012 sports car season with two impressive driving performances at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) this past week. The 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona dual-event weekend reaped both joy and disappointment for the Braselton, Ga.-resident. Sellers captured a third-place finish in the BMW Performance 200 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) race on Friday, January 27 in the No. 46 BCKSTGR/Fall-Line BMW M3 Coupe having led the race late in the going. In Saturday-Sunday's main event, the young American saw the other-side of racing, tasting the disappointment of a great drive turned bad. Lengthy repairs would drop the No. 17 FOAMETIX/Burtin Racing with Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup from winning contention to a 33rd-place finish in the twice-around-the-clock Rolex Sports Car Series race which took the green flag on January 28. The CTSCC event provided an excellent launch to the season-long effort for Sellers and Fall-Line Motorsports. Starting 12th, teammate/owner Mark Boden (Winnetka, Ill.) worked the No. 46 towards the front of the field early. When Sellers took the wheel, he left little question that a victory was his sole focus. The former open-wheel racing champion moved the BMW into the top-spot while being chased by the eventual event winner. With the high-banks of the DIS oval making such a large part of the 3.56-mile, 12-turn speedway road course, horsepower and drafting have a substantial impact. Despite holding the advantage in the infield, Sellers eventually relinquished the lead to the No. 61 Mustang on the oval. The No. 61 was able to pull away leaving Sellers without a drafting partner. Now in second with a wide gap to the lead, Sellers was a sitting duck to the No. 48 team car. Unable to fight the draft he was giving to his teammate, Sellers lost second-place but would take the checkered flag in a close third-place. The finish puts Sellers and Boden in prime position in the championship which moves to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., March 30-31. In the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24, Sellers looked primed to better his CTSCC success and possibly even his 2011 Rolex 24 runner-up finish. Sharing the No. 17 Porsche with past Rolex 24-winner Jack Baldwin (Marietta, Ga.), team owner Claudio Burtin (Marietta, Ga.), Sebastian Asch (Germany) and Martin Ragginger (Stuttgart, Germany), the team was a dark horse contender in the 54-car field. With Ragginger starting, Sellers followed owner Burtin into the Porsche. Taking the wheel two-hours and 30-minutes into the race, Sellers charged the car from 22nd to 19th in ten minutes! He continued the controlled tirade moving-up five spots in 20-minutes. As the hours mounted, the track became dirty with debris. A piece of rubbish pierced the radiator of the car in the fourth-hour ending Sellers dramatic move to the front of the field. A lengthy repair dropped the No. 17 back to 32nd. The car would also suffer gearbox damage when a competitor struck the Burtin Porsche from behind. It was taken to the garage and worked-on overnight. Sellers would triple-stint the Porsche in the early Sunday morning hours before turning-over driving duties to his teammates. In total, they covered 424 laps finishing 33rd. SPEED will air the BMW Performance 200 on Saturday, February 4 at 12:00 p.m. (ET).Quotes
About the CTSCC Race:"Daytona is a difficult race. It is a giant chess game that is based so much on positioning. The draft is so effective there it makes it important to think ahead to where you need to be. Just like the NASCAR guys have to consider all of that in the Daytona 500, it's the same for us in sports cars. I felt like I was in a great position prior to the last yellow coming out. That yellow allowed the field to bunch back up and killed the gap I had to third-place. After the race went green I knew I was in trouble because the Mustang was too fast and now I was under attack from one of my Fall-Line Motorsports teammates who had regained the draft. It is always frustrating to lose a position on the podium, however it is good points to take home."About opening the 2012 CTSCC Season in strong fashion: "Mark put in a great stint and the Fall-Line guys gave us a great car. That is what I expect we'll be able to do all year. It is difficult to win a championship under the best conditions, but even more difficult when you don't take points home from a race. You have to leave every race with something if you want to be in the championship at the end and that is our goal. It was important to get the first race under our belt and have good results. We were able to do that so, hopefully, we can continue to improve and be a little better in the future so we can have a shot at beating the Mustang."About the Rolex 24: "I was happy with my first stint. We started from almost last and were able to make our way back up into the Top-10. It is difficult to tell how many cars you are passing at this race because it seems like it is constant traffic but I felt like we were gaining. We ended that stint with a puncture in the radiator. We are not sure how it happened or what actually did it but it was a rare occurrence that started our downfall. Getting back in and doing a triple [stint] the next morning was difficult after you are down so many laps. However, we are professionals and it's our job to rise to the occasion. Not to mention we have the best job in the world. I wanted so badly to repeat this year and have a good result but we were not able to do so. Still, how unhappy can you be driving a Porsche 911 around Daytona in the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest races in the world?"