Bergmeister & Braun Look For Hat Trick
Sports fans in upstate New York are undoubtedly familiar with the hockey term "hat trick"¿which to the uninitiated means a player has scored three goals in a game¿especially given the recent success enjoyed by the Buffalo Sabres in the National Hockey League.
Daytona Prototype points leader Jörg Bergmeister and his 17-year-old co-driver Colin Braun will be looking for a different kind of "hat trick" as the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve returns to Watkins Glen International for the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen on Friday night (SPEED, 9 p.m. ET).
The No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley co-drivers head back to Watkins Glen in search of their third consecutive victory, following triumphs in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park last month and the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in late June. If they are successful, Bergmeister and Braun will become the first set of co-drivers to earn three straight overall victories since 2003 Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller and then-co-driver Forest Barber went back-to-back-to-back at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Daytona and Watkins Glen in 2003.
Already armed with a substantial, 39-point lead in the Daytona Prototype driver standings over Max Angelelli (393-354), another victory for Bergmeister would further strengthen his grasp on the title. In addition to his back-to-back victories with Braun, Bergmeister also co-drove to victory in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June with road racing superstar Boris Said and has not finished worse than eighth in any feature race this season.
A strong, 26-car Daytona Prototype field will look to bring the Krohn Racing juggernaut to an end in the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen, and leading the charge will be Angelelli and Australian racer Ryan Briscoe in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. Angelelli won last year's Crown Royal 200 with car owner Wayne Taylor as his co-driver and has finished inside the top four in his last eight Rolex Series starts, including a third-place run in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen alongside Taylor and Briscoe.
No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz are currently tied for third in the Daytona Prototype driver standings and head to Watkins Glen looking to move back into striking distance of Bergmeister with three races remaining on the 2006 calendar. Pruett won the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in 2004, and both he and Diaz have visited the Watkins Glen podium on more than one occasion. Both rate among the drivers to watch on Friday night.
Pruett is one of several drivers in the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen field who will pulling extra duty this weekend, as he is also scheduled to compete in both Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series race and the NEXTEL Cup Series race on Sunday. Said will also attempt the triple, co-driving the No. 8 Synergy Racing Porsche Doran with Patrick Huisman in addition to the Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup races.
Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR champion, will share the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford with Guy Cosmo on Friday night in addition to Sunday's NEXTEL Cup race, while No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley owner/driver Adrian Fernandez and No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford driver Butch Leitzinger are both planning to compete in Saturday's Busch Series race.
Fernandez will be looking for his second Rolex Series victory of the season on Friday night alongside co-driver Mario Haberfeld, while Leitzinger and co-driver Andy Wallace head back to the Finger Lakes region in search of their first Rolex Series win of 2006. Both Leitzinger and Wallace have won Rolex Series events in the past at The Glen.
No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford co-drivers Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller will be looking to extend their streak of podium finishes
to three in the Crown Royal 200. The duo finished second in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona in June and finished third in the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park less than two weeks ago.
No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley teammates Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty head into the Crown Royal 200 looking for their first career Rolex Series victory. Gurney and Fogarty have finished inside the top-eight positions in each of their past six Rolex Series starts, including three podium appearances, and appear to be poised for a breakthrough victory at any time.
Other strong contenders to earn their first feature race victory of the season include Craig Stanton and Shane Lewis in the No. 3 Southard Motorsports BMW Riley, Rob Finlay and Michael Valiante sharing the No. 5 Make A Wish/Z-Line Designs/Finlay Motorsports Ford Crawford, Burt Frisselle and Mike Borkowski in the No. 6 Playboy/Michael Shank Racing/Mears Motor Coach Lexus Riley, Christian Fittipaldi and Tommy Erdos co-driving the No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve/Cheever Racing Porsche Crawford, David Donohue and Darren Law in the No. 58 Red Bull Porsche Riley for Brumos Racing, Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri sharing the No. 60 Flight Options/Net App/TSP Lexus Riley, Tracy Krohn and Nic Jönsson in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Riley, Borcheller and Harrison Brix co-driving the No. 77 Kodak/Amp'd Mobile Ford Doran and Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge sharing the No. 89 Vonage/Playboy/Palms Casino Pontiac Riley.
Completing the talented entry list are Brian Tuttle and Jonathan Cochet in the No. 7 Tuttle Team Racing Pontiac Riley, Milka Duno and Joao Barbosa in the No. 11 CITGO Racing by SAMAX Pontiac Riley, New Yorkers Chris and Rob Dyson co-driving the No. 16 Thetford/Norcold Pontiac Crawford, two-time Rolex Series GT champion Bill Auberlen and co-driver Matthew Alhadeff in the No. 30 4M/Motul/enVista BMW Riley, Randy Ruhlman and Paul Dallenbach sharing the No. 40 Preformed Line Products/Key Bank Pontiac Riley, Tomy Drissi and Estonian racer Tonis Kasemets in the No. 50 Rocketsports Racing Ford Crawford and the legendary Hurley Haywood with co-driver JC France in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar.
The Crown Royal 200 at The Glen is the second and final "stand-alone" race for the Daytona Prototypes, joining April's Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach. The Rolex Series GT machines will return to action alongside the Daytona Prototypes for the penultimate round of the 2006 season at Infineon Raceway on August 26.
The two-day schedule for the Crown Royal 200 will see the Daytona Prototypes on track for four different practice sessions on Thursday, with qualifying slated to run from 4:30 to 4:45 p.m. The Crown Royal 200, Round 12 of the 14-race 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, takes the green flag at 6:30 p.m. ET with a scheduled distance of 200 miles (82 laps) and a two-hour time limit.
SPEED will televise the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen on a slight tape delay with coverage slated to air beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET. Live coverage from throughout the weekend, including audio webcasts and live timing & scoring data, will be available at the official web site of the Grand American Road Racing Association, www.grandamerican.com.