Barbosa, Fittipaldi engineer dominating win

Barbosa and Fittipaldi motor to easy win
Richard Prince for General Motors

Stretching fuel mileage to the absolute limit, Joao Barbosa won Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race in convincing fashion, driving the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP to a 48.964-second victory over Scott Pruett, who had to settle for second place in the marquee sports car event for the third straight year.

When Pruett and Richard Westbrook brought their DP entries to pit road from second and third place, respectively, with eight minutes left in the two-hour, 45-minute race, the win was sealed for Barbosa and co-driver Christian Fittipaldi, who snatched the series lead from fourth-place finishers Jordan and Ricky Taylor.

Barbosa and Fittipaldi hold an unofficial two-point edge heading to the Aug. 8-10 weekend at Road America in the Prototype point standings.

Barbosa and Fittipaldi

"I was saving fuel the whole time," Barbosa said of his long stint in the car. "The end was kind of easy, but to get there was so, so hard. It was unbelievable."

Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer picked up the first victory of the season for Dodge Viper SRT in the GT Le Mans class. Subbing for suspended Alex Tagliani, IndyCar regular Jack Hawksworth, in his first start in a sports car race, teamed with Chris Cumming to win the Prototype Challenge class in a 1-2 finish for RSR Racing.

Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia drivers Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal captured the GT Daytona class, beating Paul Miller Racing’s Christopher Haase and Bryce Miller to the finish line by more than a lap at the 2.439-mile road course.

Before Pruett pitted late, Barbosa was concerned about his own fuel situation.

“I kept asking the team, ‘How are we doing on fuel?’” Barbosa said. “And they said, ‘Don’t worry. Just keep doing what you’re doing. We should be fine.’ Luckily, we had a good gap and could keep the car out of trouble. Just a tremendous job by the team, giving us a car we could run at a good pace while still saving fuel…

“When the other guys pitted the last time, I could breathe a little bit.”

The No. 10 Konica Minolta-Corvette DP driven by the Taylor brothers started seventh and sustained early damage during contact with the No. 01 Telcel Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost/Riley driven at the time by 19-year-old Sage Karam.

While Jordan Taylor slipped back to eighth, Karam, the reigning Indy Lights champion, subsequently drove the No. 01 to the second position, trailing leader Barbosa by less than two seconds at the midpoint of the 2-hour, 45-minute race.

With just over one hour, 10 minutes remaining, Karam surprised Barbosa with a daring pass and grabbed the lead before handing the car over to Pruett with 56 minutes left.

Sage Karam was 2nd with Pruett
LAT photo for IMSA

Karam's pit stop for the driver change handed the lead back to Barbosa, who brought his No. 5 Corvette DP to pit road with 52 minutes remaining. After the stops cycled through, Barbosa led Pruett by nearly five seconds.

For his part, Pruett was trying to catch Barbosa while fending off Ryan Dalziel, who had driven the pole-winning No. 1 Tequila Patron HPD ARX-03b/Honda into third place after teammate Scott Sharp had fallen back to sixth early in the race, thanks to the cars difficulty at the start and with the restart after the first caution.

Dalziel, however, spun in Turn 1 of the 14-turn course as he tried to pressure Pruett and lost the third spot to the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP of Richard Westbrook as the top DP entries began to string out under the green. Barbosa extended his advantage over Pruett to more than seven seconds as the race hit the 2:15 mark.

After hounding Westbrook for the third position, Dalziel ran short of fuel with 13 minutes left and dropped to eighth in the running order, ultimately finishing fifth.

After Pruett and Westbrook made their late pit stops, the two drivers regained their second and third spots and finished there.

In the GT Le Mans classification, former Formula 1 driver and pole winner Giancarlo Fisichella led early in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia but gave way to the 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR driven by Nick Tandy, who opened a lead of more than two seconds over Jonathan Bomarito (who had usurped second from at the 90-minute mark.

But Tandy’s Porsche developed engine issues, and Bomarito seized the opportunity to claim the win in the No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT, breaking a streak of four straight victories for the No. 3 Corvette C7.R entry of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, who finished fourth.

Results

Pos CPos Class No Drivers Laps Diff Make Status
1 1 P 5 Barbosa/(Fittipaldi*) 108 -.— Corvette DP Running
2 2 P 01 Pruett*/Rojas/(Karam) 108 48.964 Ford EcoBoost/Riley Running
3 3 P 90 Westbrook*/(Valiante) 108 52.160 Corvette DP Running
4 4 P 10 R.Taylor/(J.Taylor*) 108 58.309 Corvette DP Running
5 5 P 1 (Sharp)/Dalziel* 108 59.595 HPD ARX-03b Running
6 6 P 60 (Pew)/Negri Jr.* 107 1 Laps Ford EcoBoost/Riley Running
7 7 P 2 (Brown)/van Overbeek* 107 1 Laps HPD ARX-03b Running
8 8 P 42 (Yacaman*)/Tung 107 1 Laps Nissan Morgan Running
9 1 PC 08 (Cumming)/Hawksworth* 107 1 Laps ORECA FLM09 Running
10 2 PC 09 (Ende)/Junqueira* 107 1 Laps ORECA FLM09 Running
11 3 PC 54 (Bennett)/Braun* 107 1 Laps ORECA FLM09 Running
12 4 PC 38 Ostella*/(French) 107 1 Laps ORECA FLM09 Running
13 9 P 07 Joel.Miller/(Nunez*) 106 2 Laps Mazda Prototype Running
14 1 GTLM 93 Bomarito*/(Wittmer) 105 3 Laps Dodge Viper SRT Running
15 10 P 70 (Tremblay*)/T.Long 105 3 Laps Mazda Prototype Running
16 2 GTLM 62 (Fisichella*)/Kaffer 105 3 Laps Ferrari F458 Italia Running
17 3 GTLM 912 P.Long/(Christensen*) 105 3 Laps Porsche 911 RSR Running
18 4 GTLM 3 (Magnussen)/Garcia* 105 3 Laps Chevrolet Corvette C7.R Running
19 5 GTLM 4 Gavin/(Milner*) 105 3 Laps Chevrolet Corvette C7.R Running
20 6 GTLM 55 Auberlen*/(Priaulx) 105 3 Laps BMW Z4 GTE Running
21 7 GTLM 56 Müller/(J.Edwards*) 105 3 Laps BMW Z4 GTE Running
22 5 PC 52 (Montecalvo)/Jeannette* 105 3 Laps ORECA FLM09 Running
23 6 PC 25 (Diaz*)/Rayhall 104 4 Laps ORECA FLM09 Running
24 8 GTLM 91 (D.Farnbacher)/Goossens* 103 5 Laps Dodge Viper SRT Running
25 1 GTD 63 Balzan*/(Westphal) 102 6 Laps Ferrari 458 Italia Running
26 2 GTD 48 Haase*/(B.Miller) 101 7 Laps Audi R8 LMS Running
27 3 GTD 33 J.Bleekemolen*/(Keating) 101 7 Laps Dodge Viper SRT Running
28 9 GTLM 17 Henzler/(Sellers*) 101 7 Laps Porsche 911 RSR Running
29 4 GTD 555 (Sweedler)/To.Bell* 101 7 Laps Ferrari 458 Italia Running
30 5 GTD 22 (MacNeil)/Keen* 101 7 Laps Porsche 911 GT America Running
31 6 GTD 23 (James)/M.Farnbacher* 101 7 Laps Porsche 911 GT America Running
32 7 GTD 007 (Carter)/Davison* 101 7 Laps Aston Martin V12 Vantage Running
33 8 GTD 45 (Canache Jr.)/Pumpelly* 101 7 Laps Audi R8 LMS Running
34 9 GTD 27 (Dempsey)/A.Davis* 101 7 Laps Porsche 911 GT America Running
35 10 GTD 73 (Lindsey)/Skeen* 101 7 Laps Porsche 911 GT America Running
36 11 GTD 58 (Snow)/Heylen* 101 7 Laps Porsche 911 GT America Running
37 12 GTD 44 (Potter)/Lally* 101 7 Laps Porsche 911 GT America Running

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