New Jersey: Negri holds off Angelelli
Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson became the seventh different winners this year in the Rolex Sports Car Series, as Oswaldo Negri Jr. held off Max Angelelli by 0.459 seconds Sunday to win the first professional feature race at New Jersey Motorsports Park, the Supercar Life 250, while Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas clinched the Daytona Prototype team championship with a ninth-place finish in a backup car.
Negri led the final 45 laps in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley started by Mark Patterson, scoring the second career victory for the team. Negri and Patterson teamed to win the 2006 season-ending race at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah. It was their first podium finish since they placed third at Homestead-Miami Speedway, after Negri won the pole for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Angelelli came up short in a bid for the second consecutive triumph for the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley started by Michael Valiante.
Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand took third in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Ruby Tuesday Porsche Riley, taking their second podium finish of the season and best outing since placing second at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Pruett destroyed the primary No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley in a testing accident on Thursday. The team went back to its Indianapolis shop to prepare the car that last competed in their Rolex 24 At Daytona victory. The finish - coupled with a fifth-place finish by Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty - opened a 38-point lead (386-348) in the team standings with only the Sept. 20 finale at Miller Motorsports Park remaining on the schedule. Teams may score a maximum 35 points at each event. Pruett and Rojas each need to run 30 minutes at Miller to score points.
Joao Barbosa and JC France finished fourth for the fourth time this season in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley. Barbosa was running second at the final restart with two laps remaining before being bumped off course and passed by both Angelelli and Auberlen.
Gurney finished fifth - going off course in the closing laps in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley after contact with the No. 10 machine. He was followed by Brian Frisselle in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley started from the pole by Mark Wilkins; the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley of John Pew and Ian James; the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola of Tracy Krohn and Eric van de Poele; Pruett and Rojas; and Darren Law and David Donohue in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley.
Donohue led 38 laps early in the event, passing Patterson for the lead on lap 20 and remaining out front through his pit stop on lap 57. Law took over but was held up in traffic and could not work his way back into competition.
Gurney led three laps after Donohue's stop, with Negri taking over on lap 61 and pacing the final 45 circuits.
There were five cautions for 25 laps, with many of them for debris and gravel following off course excursions. The race came down to a two-lap sprint, with Negri holding on after Barbosa lost second position on the final lap.
In GT, rookie Tim George Jr. scored his first Rolex Series victory after starting the No. 67 TRG Johnny Love Vodka/994 Magazine Porsche GT3. It was the 19th career class triumph for Andy Lally, who took over and held off Robin Liddell by 1.776 seconds.
The second-place finish by Liddell and Andrew Davis in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R tightened the point race into the season finale. The pair entered the event third in the team points, trailing Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards by 16 points. Collins and Edwards finished ninth in the No. 07 Banner Racing Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R, Liddell and Davis now trail by only five points (337-332).
Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay entered the event second in the team points, but struggled with an oil leak to place 16th in the No. 70 SpeedSource Castrol Mazda RX-8. They enter the final round 12 points behind the leaders.
Ryan Phinny led 34 laps early in the event in the No. 21 Matt Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R, with Diego Alessi taking third on the final lap to give the team its third third-place finish of the campaign.
The season wraps up at Salt Lake City with SunRichGourmet.com 1000 presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels at Miller Motorsports Park.
NEWS & NOTES
- The victory is the second career Daytona Prototype victory for Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson, and the second for Michael Shank Racing. Negri, Patterson and Shank last won the Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park.
- Patterson and Negri's victory at Miller was also the first time the series had competed on the track. Sunday's race at Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park was the first time the series had raced on the 2.25-mile track.
- This is the third victory in four races this season for Ford, tying the manufacturer with Pontiac with the second most victories this season. Lexus leads with six, and BMW has one. Porsche is still looking for its first victory.
- This is the 12th in 13 races this season the Riley chassis has won.
- This is the first time this season the Daytona Prototype winners have come from the 10th starting position.
- The margin of victory for Negri was .459 seconds, the sixth closest race in Daytona Prototype history.
- This is the second straight podium finish and third this season for Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante, who finished second in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara.
- This is the second podium finish and third top five for Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen, who finished third in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Riley. It also gave the podium three different engine manufacturers in the top three.
- This is the fourth fourth-place finish of the season for the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley and drivers Joao Barbosa and JC France. Barbosa ran as high as second on the final lap before falling to fourth.
- This is the 11th top-10 finish of the season for Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley. The car now ties the No. 01 Lexus Riley with the most races led - 10 - this season.
- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas finished ninth in the race, their 12th top-10 finish of the season, and own a 38-point advantage over Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the standings.
- David Donohue of Malvern, Pa. finished 10th with co-driver Darren Law in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley, the duo's ninth straight top-10 finish, currently a series best.
- Ten of the 17 Daytona Prototypes finished all 105 laps of the race.
- Seven drivers in six Daytona Prototypes led laps in the race: Oswaldo Negri (45), David Donohue (38), Michael Valiante (9), Mark Wilkins (6), Alex Gurney (3), Mark Patterson (2), Joey Hand (2).
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