Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor retook the Rolex Series points lead by winning an action packed race at Kansas Speedway.
The short ‘roval’ track including part of the 1.5 mile oval provided close racing – sometimes a little too close – throughout the two hour, 45 minute SFP Grand Prix in a race in which race leaders came and went with problems.
The Wayne Taylor Racing combination of Angelelli and Taylor, however, enjoyed a relatively untroubled run. Taylor took the lead of the race for the first time shortly after half way when Joao Barbosa pitted the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP under the third and final caution period of the race. Taylor, son of team the team owner, lost the lead when he completed his own pitstop as part of sequence under the green flag but regained the lead when late stopping Will Nonnamaker brought the #43 Team Sahlens car in from a temporary lead.
The final stint of the race became a fierce battle for the lead between Taylor and Scott Pruett in the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry, but Taylor kept the reigning champion at bay for a third win of the year. Pruett was just 0.568 behind at the end of the race with Ozz Negri and John Pew completing the podium for Michael Shank Racing 22 seconds further behind.
Unlike the victors Pruett and co-driver Memo Rojas had been one of the teams involved – to their cost – in the over close racing of the earlier laps.
Rojas had started from pole position but lost the lead on the opening lap to Christian Fittipaldi and the #5 Corvette. The Brazilian’s stay in the lead last only ten laps until he was tipped into a spin by a chasing Rojas as the pair came up to some of the slower GT cars. The contact damaged the #5 – mostly due to being clipped by the GT car as it took avoiding action – but also the #01 which continued with damage to the front bodywork.
The contact helped hand the lead to Gustavo Yacaman, pushing the #01 back to second, but a 60 second stop-go for causing the contact would plunge – albeit temporarily – the Ganassi duo back into the pack.
Yacaman would lead through the first full course caution brought out by the stopped Marsh Racing Corvette of Boris Said, but the #6 car would later find problems after Justin Wilson took over the car, leading to a disappointing DNF. Even more costly were the problems for the Starworks Motorsport car of Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow. Within corners of the start of the race Popow was spun around, but contact with the wall would do further damage to the #2 car limiting them to just 11th in class. Still however they finished ahead of Spirit of Daytona Racing, who lost 23 laps with a broken throttle cable in the early laps as well as the #6 MSR entry and the #4 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP that played a role in the crash that caused the final yellow flag of the night that also involved the #99 GAINSCO Racing car and the sister 8Star machine.
Alessandro Balzan and Leh Keen won the GT class by a full lap over the Park Place Motorsports Porsche of Patrick Lindsey and Patrick Long. The win was the first of the year for the Scuderia Corsa team – a surprise given Balzan’s front running pace in his first Rolex Series season – but still moved Balzan alone into the championship lead.
The Italian pushes Magnus Racing co-drivers Andy Lally and Andrew Potter back into second place. The Porsche pair’s race was hampered by a punctured radiator which forced them into a pitstop while running in the top five in class. Four time winners this season Stevenson Motorsport finished fourth in a race when the lead battle was almost exclusively the domanin of the Porsches and Ferraris.
Another 458 finished third in the hands of Emil Assentato and Anthony Lazzaro. The third of the Italian machines, which started first, second and third in the class was brought into the pits from the lead by Jeff Segal. However, Segal, who won the GT title with Assentato last season, left the pits too early with the team struggling with a sticking fuel hose. Fortunately no-one was hurt as he drove away, ripping the hose from the filler attachment, which stayed stuck resolutely in the car, but he did have to serve a 30 second stop-go penalty.
Speedsource men Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez won the GX class by six laps over the BGB Motorsports Porsche.