Spirit of Daytona Captures Second Win of the Season and Fifth Consecutive Victory for Corvette DP in Rolex Sports Car Series Competition
Westbrook and Valiante Score Dominating Victory at Mid-Ohio
Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante put the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP in victory lane at Mid-Ohio Sports Course in the EMCO Gears Classic for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. It is the second victory of the season for the Troy Flis-owned team to give Corvette DP its fifth consecutive win in the first six races of the 2012 season.
“Congratulations to the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP team on capturing their second win of the season,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Grand-Am Program Manager. “Mid-Ohio didn’t disappoint in producing hard, competitive racing. Michael Valiante put the team in a great position near the front during his stint, and Richard Westbrook did a masterful job of holding off the competition in the final dash to the finish. It is testimony to the hard work by everyone involved in this program to again have two Corvette DPs on the podium with the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP finishing third.
“It has been a great season thus far for the Corvette DP in the Rolex Series with five trips to Victory Lane. With the level of competition in Grand-Am Road Racing, the challenge is going to be to keep the momentum going in the championship chase.”
Westbrook and Valiante combined to lead a race-high total of 87 of the 111 laps in today’s race.
“I’m speechless,” said Valiante. “I mean how many people can win two races in one day within a couple of hours. I’ve got to give it to the team, Chevy – it was a great drive by Richard (Westbrook). It was so nice to come back after the disappointment last weekend and win this one. It’s awesome.”
“It’s really satisfying,” said Westbrook. “I’m really relieved. This is where we should be. We came off the grounds a bit after Barber. Now we’re back on. A big thanks to Mike (Valiante) he drove awesome today. He put the car into the lead and then I just had to finish off the good run that he had done. He put us in this position today, really thanks to Michael.”
David Donohue and Terry Borcheller brought the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP to the checkered flag in third to give Chevrolet two of the three podium positions. Last week’s winner, the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, was scored sixth in the final order.
Pole winner No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP jumped into the lead at the drop of the green flag of the 2.75-hour race and stayed at the point for the first 17 circuits around the 2.258-mile course. However, the string of disappointing luck continued for the two-time Rolex Series champions. A power steering issue put them in the pits for repairs that cost two laps to the leaders. But after returning to competition, the team battled back to finish one lap down in seventh position.
The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Corvette DP was in contention to battle for the win, but with 11 laps remaining in the timed race, on-track contact sent the two-time 2012 winners to the garage, unable to continue.
In GT, the Stevenson Motorsport Camaro GT.R driven by Robin Liddell and John Edwards scored their fourth consecutive podium finish crossing the finish line in third place in-class.
The No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Camaro GT.R was ninth in-class and the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette finished 14th in-class.
In the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race, Lawson Aschenbach and Eric Curran brought the No. 01 CKS Autosport Camaro GS.R to the finish in second place with a very strong run in the 2.5-hour race. Also scoring a top-five finish were Matt Bell and John Edwards in the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GS.R.
Lutz concluded by saying: “We are proud of the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R team and drivers John Edwards and Robin Liddell on their podium finish in GT, as well as the second place run in GS by Lawson Ashenbach and Eric Curran in the No. 01 CKS Autosport Camaro GS.R. Now we have a week off to get prepared for the always-tough Road America.”
Up next for Team Chevy in the GRAND-AM Road Racing series is the 4.0-mile scenic Road America. The 2.75-hour GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series 250 Driven by VisitFlorida.com will run Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. ET with live coverage on SPEED TV. The Road America 2.5-mile race for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will run on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 7:15 p.m. ET. Tape-delayed coverage will be provided by SPEED TV on July 8, 12:00 p.m. ET.