Action Express Racing fell one place short of their 2012 result as they took second at the 2013 Chevrolet Grand-Am 200 at Belle Isle Park in Detroit.
Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa took their #5 Corvette DP to the podium for the second successive year of the Rolex series racing around the streets of Detroit, while team-mates Burt and Brian Frisselle rallied back from contact with a GT competitor to post a points-scoring result for the #9 Action Express Racing DP.
Both cars managed to avoid the opening lap melee, which brought out the opening caution of the day, with both teams pitting in to take on fuel.
From the restart the Action Express duo worked their way through the field, running up to fifth and sixth before Burt Frisselle was caught out by a slowing GT machine, leaving the #9 Corvette DP stranded on track due to damage.
Fittipaldi took advantage of his team-mate’s misfortune, however, pitting in for fuel, tyres and a change of driver. A lightning fast pitstop allowed the team to get the jump on their rivals and Barbosa left the pitlane in second position, gaining three positions in the pits.
Grand-Am officials, meanwhile, decided that the #9 car was not to be returned to the pitlane, so Action Express Racing mechanics picked up their tools and headed to the site of the stricken Corvette DP, working on the broken suspension and getting the car back on track with Brian Frisselle at the wheel.
At the front of the field, Barbosa continually pressured the leader for the top spot, with a final nine-minute dash set up thanks to a late caution period. As hard as he tried, though, Barbosa just could not get past the leader, crossing the line for second position and a trip to the Detroit podium.
“I’m happy to get on the podium, to get second with Corvettes first and second,” offered team manager Gary Nelson. “It was a tough race to keep that Ford behind us, but I’m very happy for the folks from Corvette and the whole Chevrolet family that were all here today. The No. 9 car just had a tough break there with a suspension part going out after getting caught up in that traffic. We just charged forward from the beginning. We think those long yellows may have taken away some of the time we could have made. We were kind of saving a little bit for the last few minutes, and it turned out that last long yellow kind of took away our plan.”