July 07, 2012 | By Tom Surber
Fast Speeds, Hot Temps At IMS As GRAND-AM Test Concludes
GRAND-AM Road Racing drivers and teams demonstrated more familiarity with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 13-turn, 2.534-mile Grand Prix course by running faster on the final day of a two-day test Saturday, July 7.
Air temperatures soared past 100 degrees for the second straight day at IMS, but the No. 10 Sun Trust Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype, shared by co-drivers Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli, still posted the quickest lap time of the test of 1 minute, 23.962 seconds, 108.649 mph. Taylor and Angelelli drive for Indianapolis-based Wayne Taylor Racing.
“The track was rubbering up a good bit, and the speeds kept getting faster even though the temperatures were climbing,” Taylor said. “This means a lot to us, especially with our team being based in Indy. We’re really looking forward to coming back for the race.”
More than 100 cars from the Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge participated in the two-day test, preparing for the inaugural GRAND-AM event at IMS on Friday, July 27.
The second-quickest time Saturday and overall was turned in by the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley DP car shared by Joao Barbosa and Darren Law, at 1:24.195.
In the GT class, the quickest time of the test was posted this morning at 1:31.355, 99.857 by the No. 31 Marsh Racing Whelen Engineering Corvette driven by Boris Said and Eric Curran.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge sessions were led – in the Grand Sport class and overall – by the No. 61 Roush Performance Mustang co-driven by Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. at 1:37.042, also the top time of the test. The fastest time in the Street Tuner class during the two days of testing was posted today at 1:41.913, 89.512 by Chad Gilsinger in the No. 92 Hart Honda Accord.
Indianapolis native Gilsinger grew up enamored with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was born on May 30, 1976, the same day Johnny Rutherford won the 60th Indianapolis 500.
“This track is really special to me,” said Gilsinger, who co-drives with Steve Eich and John Schmitt.
“We were able to run pretty quick times this weekend, so I think we have two really good cars to bring back at the end of July. As long as we can maintain this pace, then I think we’ll be pretty good.”
Veteran driver Joe Nonnamaker was unhurt after making contact with the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 13 of the Grand Prix road course in the No. 43 Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8.
GRAND-AM will conduct separate races for its Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at IMS for the first time Friday, July 27. These races will join with the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International in determining the winners of the prestigious new North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com for 2012.
The inaugural Indiana 250 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series will return racing to the 2.5-mile IMS oval on Saturday, July 28, and the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take place Sunday, July 29.
An extra day of GRAND-AM testing will take place Monday, July 9 for a few GRAND-AM teams unable to participate in this two-day test due to other driver commitments. Among the most notable drivers testing Monday are 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and 2010 Brickyard 400 winner Jamie McMurray, who will turn laps in the No. 02 Chevron BMW-Riley of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates that they will share in the GRAND-AM race July 27 at IMS.
Montoya and McMurray are racing in the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Saturday night, July 7.
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