An encouraging start to the Rolex Series Porsche 250 for Action Express Racing fell apart as a lack of yellow flags played havoc with their fuel strategy.
The 2.3 mile circuit is known for its rough racing and has traditionally featured multiple caution periods, but the 2013 event saw only one yellow flag period during the two-hour sprint race.
Burt Frisselle started the race from fifth in the #9 Corvette DP, moving up to second when some teams chose to pit during the yellow flag period. Frisselle held second and battled for the lead up until the driver change on lap 40 of 84, handing driving duties over to Joao Barbosa.
Barbosa returned to the track in 11th place, but managed to move as high as fourth before an 82nd lap ‘splash’n’dash’ was required after the lack of yellow flag periods.
“We were encouraged that we passed under green for the lead, and it felt like things were going to go our direction, then about 45 minutes into the race, everything started working against us,” said team manager Gary Nelson. “It became obvious to us that our plan would require a second caution for it all to match back up with us and the rest of the pack. History tells us that there’s always a couple cautions here, usually. There was only the one early, and that was it. So we’d have been in great shape but it just didn’t come to us today. But it was a good team effort and we will be looking forward to the next race at Road Atlanta.”
The sister car, the #5 Corvette DP, started the race from seventh with Brian Frisselle at the wheel. Frisselle moved up to fourth place under the caution period, holding the position until handing the car over to Christian Fittipaldi on lap 27. Fittipaldi managed to move up to third by lap 53, but his pit stop on lap 54 saw him fall back to 11th position.
“We just opted for a different strategy, and that hindered us,” said Fittipaldi. “We took two stops under green but all the top four or five cars did under yellow, one under green and that gave them a big advantage, but that’s racing. Turn the page, and let’s go on to the next one.