News & Multimedia

Daytona Prototype, GT Teams To Fight For Bonuses In NAEC Finale

The Brickyard Grand Prix on Friday, July 26 will not only mark Round 8 of the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship, but the racers will also have something extra to fight for.

In fact, 150,000 extra things to fight for.

The three-hour Rolex Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also the third and final round in the North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com, also known as the NAEC.

Now in its second year, the NAEC is staged as a “championship within a championship,” similar to the new IZOD IndyCar Series “Triple Crown,” with three select events making up its championship.

With the opening round of the NAEC being the Rolex 24 At Daytona, round two at Watkins Glen, and the finale at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NAEC runs a veritable all-star roster of greatest tracks that GRAND-AM visits.

Last year was the first edition of the long-distance championship, and the Brickyard Grand Prix finale saw Starworks Motorsport emerge from a wet and wild race to score a huge, history-making victory to leapfrog its championship nemesis Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and score the inaugural NAEC title.

That victory, and the $100,000 in NAEC spoils, capped a storybook season for Starworks that also included a podium at Daytona, a World Endurance Championship and class victories at Le Mans and Sebring.

So how exactly does the NAEC pick a winner? Follow along.

Each of the three races has a maximum of a 20-point payout.

At the Rolex 24, points are awarded four times during the race, giving teams the chance to net points long before the checkered flag falls. At the six-, 12-, 18-, and 24-hour marks, the top-five teams score up to five points. So if a team led the race at the six- and 12-hour marks, but then blew up after that, they would at least bring home 10 points to go along with the story about how their car failed in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

For the Sahlen’s Six Hours at Watkins Glen, the points are counted based on running position at the halfway mark (three hours) and at the finish. This meant that some teams paid close attention to the clock at a time when they normally wouldn’t, just to score an advantage.

“You need to have a strategy to be upfront for the mid-race points payouts – like the Glen six-hour pays points at the three-hour mark,” said Starworks owner Peter Baron. "You need to be up front for that. Last year, Action Express had a low-key Daytona 24 but led both parts of (the Glen) and left the event with the NAEC lead. So we need to do well there and hopefully win again at Indy.”

For the Brickyard Grand Prix, the points payout is very simple. It is winner-take-all as the finishing order at the end of three hours is all that matters, with a healthy $100,000 bonus going to the team that takes the title.

So who has the hot hand heading into the Speedway?

The Ganassi squad, which includes full-time runners Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 01 BMW/Riley, opened the year with a perfect NAEC sweep at Daytona, leading at the six-, 12-, 18- and 24-hour marks to score a perfect 20 out of 20. But round two's run to fifth place at Watkins Glen left the duo four points adrift of the Action Express Racing squad and drivers in the NAEC standings.

“Hopefully we can shake the bad luck off,” Pruett said. “Time and time again I've seen it cycle out. Needless to say, it's been a bit frustrating, but we're looking forward."

Last year’s Brickyard Grand Prix race winner, Sebastian Bourdais, added to the drama heading into this year’s Brickyard. He bolted from the Starworks squad to join the new 8Star Motorsports for the final five races of the season, including the Brickyard Grand Prix.

"The No. 3 car [driven by Enzo Potolicchio, Stephane Sarrazin and Michael Valiante] has been pretty racey the past couple of races, and the No. 4 is pretty much the same car, so I'm pretty excited about the prospects to drive for a new team that's sorting itself out pretty quickly,” said Bourdais, who will co-drive with Emilio DiGuida at Indianapolis.

But the NAEC battle will not be all about the Daytona Prototypes. With $50,000 going to the title winner, the GT class battle once again should be just as competitive as the DP runners. The field includes envy-causing machines like the Ferrari F430, Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette, making this class a fan favorite with close racing and amazing cars.

Last year, Magnus Racing bolstered its dream season that included a Rolex 24 At Daytona win with a victory at the Brickyard, launching the team to the top of the NAEC charts to score a chance to lock lips with the Yard of Bricks, and $50,000 to boot.

Heading into the final round for the GT class, just two points separate the top two runners, with the top six contenders all within 10 points.

Stevenson Motorsports is riding a hot wave in its Camaro GT.R. After getting unceremoniously dumped into the wall by the No. 01 DP last year at the Brickyard, the Stevenson team has good reason to be hungry for vindication and victory Friday at IMS.

But to do so, the red, white and blue Camaro must take on a bevy of exotics, starting with the AIM Autosport Team FXDD with Ferrari, which won the Rolex Series GT Class championship last year, as well as the deep efforts of the Audi R8 that is backed up by the Audi Sport customer racing squad.

So, remember that there isn’t just one reason to catch the final round of NAEC competition – there are 150,000 of them!

North American Endurance Championship, Daytona Prototype top-five

1    Action Express Racing                                      32
2    Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates          28
3    8Star Motorsports                                             24
4    Wayne Taylor Racing                                        23
5    Starworks with Alex Popow                              19

North American Endurance Championship, GT top-five

1    Stevenson Motorsports                                     28
2    AIM Autosport Team FXDD with Ferrari            26
3    Audi Sport customer racing                               22
4    Scuderia Corsa                                                  21
5    Marsh Racing                                                    20

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Daytona Prototype, GT Teams To Fight For Bonuses In NAEC Finale
 
Daytona Prototype, GT Teams To Fight For Bonuses In NAEC Finale
The Brickyard Grand Prix on Friday, July 26 will not only mark Round 8 of the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship, but the racers will also have something extra to fight for.
Read More
Related Media
Ryan Blaney
 
Blaney Emerges as New Star of Summer after Stirring Pocono Victory
Blaney broke through for his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday, June 11 at Pocono Raceway. He passed two-time reigning Brickyard 400 champion Kyle Busch with nine laps remaining and held off 2003 Brickyard 400 winner Kevin Harvick by .139 of a second in a thrilling finish.
Read More
Darrell Wallace Jr.
 
Wallace Eager To Blaze New Trails This Summer in Sudden Cup Series Debut
Like any driver who aspires to reach the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, there have been triumphs and struggles for Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. But now that he’s on the cusp of his first start at the top of the sport this Sunday at Pocono Raceway, every rise and dip of his career roller-coaster has been worth it.
Read More
400 Fest
 
400 Fest Nightly Lineups Unveiled; Camping, Single-Night Tickets Available Now
The nightly lineups are set for 400 Fest, the new two-night concert at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 event, with global music superstar headliners Major Lazer on Friday, July 21 and The Chainsmokers on Saturday, July 22. Pretty Lights also was added to the Saturday lineup, as six acts will perform over two nights on the infield stage inside Turn 4 of the IMS oval. Gates open at 5 p.m. both nights, with performances starting at 7 p.m.
Read More
Jimmie Johnson
 
Jimmie Johnson Tames Dover in OT, Ties Yarborough on All-Time List
Jimmie Johnson passed Kyle Larson on an overtime restart to roar to his third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season Sunday at Dover International Speedway, tying NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough on the all-time win list. Johnson led just twice for seven laps in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism, his Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet taking the checkered flag under caution as a multicar crash ended the race on its lone overtime attempt. Johnson’s 11th win at the 1-mile track was the 83rd of his career in NASCAR’s premier series.
Read More
Austin Dillon
 
Dillon Would Love To Celebrate Another Big Victory at Brickyard 400
Dillon, 27, is keenly aware of that history and wants to add to it Sunday, July 23 in the 24th annual Brickyard 400 on the 2.5-mile oval. He has two top-10 finishes in four career Brickyard 400 starts, ninth in 2016 and 10th in 2014.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 739
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21