News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Auto Racing

July 28, 2012

Bordais, Popow take checkered flag after downpour

INDIANAPOLIS — While it never rained a drop during the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Super Weekend at the Brickyard certainly saw its share Friday as both the inaugural Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the Rolex Sports Car Series met with the wet stuff.

IZOD IndyCar regular Sebastien Bordais and his teammate Alex Popow took the checkered under caution, but with pride, winning the Brickyard Grand Prix for the Rolex Series. Bordais and Popow piloted the Starworks Motorsports Ford to victory amid the rain and wild on-track action. ”What a great year our team is having,” said team owner Peter Baron.

“A dream come true,” said Popow. “I’ve been chasing this all year. Coming here is so special.”

Bordais, who has won a race in various series nearly every year of his career, was having concerns since he has not found the success he wanted in IndyCar. “I knew the car was good, and I really felt strong. I thought we had a shot at this,” Bordais said. “It’s always unpredictable, but never boring.”

Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas finished second for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. “Crazy weekend,” said Pruett. “Driver changes, rain, tore up car. Under the circumstances we are pleased.”

With less than hour remaining, Rojas — after coming in for a stop — aggressively tried threading the needle around Ronnie Bremer of Stevenson Motorsports. Rojas’ move caused Bremer to hit the wall and damaged his own car. Prior to the stop, Rojas had moved up to second.

Rojas initially jumped back into the car relieving Pruett, because Pruett felt Rojas was doing a better job. After the incident, Pruett took over for Rojas and moved the team into the No. 2 position at the end of the race.

Sun Trust Racing with Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor finished third in a Corvette.

Often the track was a virtual slip-n-slide with the wet conditions and periods of rain for the 34 cars, 11 Daytona Prototype and 23 Grand Touring. On the start, drivers had little visibility during the few several laps and survival was the initial goal.

In the closing minutes the third and fourth-place cars of Ryan Dalziel and Juan Pablo Montoya collided, bringing out a full-course caution and sending Baron into a furious tirade about Montoya, who is not a series regular.

“Everyone knew [Montoya] was going to take someone out,” Baron said. Dalziel is in contention for the series title.

John Potter and Andy Lally finished 5th overall, but won the GT portion of the race for Magnus Racing. For Lally, winning at the Brickyard was special. “It’s Indy, and you‘ve just won. I’ve probably said it 60 times since I’ve taken the checkered flag.” He credited the team for the performance of the Porsche GT3. “You wouldn’t believe what they’ve done to get this car ready.”

The SpeedSource team of Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito finished second in GT. “It was a lot of fun,” said Bomarito. “It was hectic and a little crazy there at the end. Really tight racing.” SpeedSource finished 6th overall.

Another IndyCar driver, Scott Dixon, joined Montoya and NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray on the second Ganassi entry. Indy Lights drivers Sebastian Saavedra and James Davison also ran in the race in the GT division for Michael Baughman Racing.

Teammates Eric Curran and Lawson Aschenbach won the first of its kind race at the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge for the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The race finished under caution after heavy rain red-flagged the timed event.

“This is excellent,” said Curran. “Lawson and I got paired up over the winter, and this is just great.” This was the pair’s first win after several podium finishes. “Here at the top step of the podium and to do it here at Indy is very special for us.”

Achenbach had raced at the speedway once in 2005 in Formula 4 during the F1 weekend, getting a taste of what Indianapolis is like. “I don’t think it really sunk in until we crossed that checkered flag right at the end of the race, and kissing those bricks.”

Achenbach felt they pitted too early and then had to come back through the field, but found they had enough of a car to get back into second place before the final stop.

The rains fell heavily enough that the race was red-flagged for 25 minutes while crews pushed rivers of water away from pit lane. With about 40 minutes remaining in the event, the teams restarted under yellow, going green on lap 55 before going back to yellow on lap 57 after Tyler Cooke from the Street Tuner class spun on the front straightaway, making contact with the outside wall. The checkers were thrown under caution on lap 59. Curran and Aechenbach climbed the fence in Heli Castroneves’ winning fashion to celebrate their victory.

Jeff Bucknum and George Richardson in the Mitchum Motorsports Camaro GS.R finished second. “This the best finish in Mitchum Motorsports history. To be able to come in as a fill-in driver and help that happen is great,” said Bucknum

Shelby Blackstock, son of country music star Reba McIntire, and his teammate Joey Atterbury finished 11th. “It’s not really where I’d liked to have finished, but the car finished. I love this place and can’t wait to come back,” said Blackstock.

Seth Thomas and Daniel Rogers combined to win the Stock Tuner (ST) class in the #82 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i. They finished 18th overall.

Today returns to NASCAR action as the first session of Sprint Cup practice begins at 8:30 a.m. with qualifying beginning at 2:10 p.m. Nationwide Series qualifying begins at 12:35, with the Nationwide Series race beginning at 4:30.

Gates open at 7 a.m. and general admission seating is $25.

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