Wilkins, Frisselle Win Second
One week after scoring an improbable first victory in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, AIM Autosport made victory number two look easy Friday night at Watkins Glen International.
Brian Frisselle and Mark Wilkins led 78 of the 82 laps to win the Crown Royal 200, Round 12 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Series season showcasing the Daytona Prototypes.
Wilkins took the checkered flag in last Saturday’s Montreal 200 only .064 seconds ahead of Antonio Garcia to win the closest finish in series history. Friday evening, Wilkins won by 1.986 seconds over Alex Gurney.
Gurney and Jon Fogarty finished second in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley, cutting the championship lead of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas to 49 points with three races remaining. The six-time race winning No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley was never a factor, placing 13th – two laps down – for the team’s worst finish of the season after scoring eight podium finishes in 10 races.
Law and David Donohue finished third in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley, followed by Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Porsche Riley and the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola of Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson.
Frisselle started from the pole and led throughout his 30-lap shift. Wilkins took over and led the 31st lap, before being passed on pit road by Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 16 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Pontiac Coyote. Fittipaldi pitted four laps later, turning the lead back to Wilkins.
Wilkins had built up a 19.939-second lead over Gurney on lap 56, when caution waved to retrieve the stalled No. 4 Childress-Howard Motorsports Pontiac Crawford of Andy Lally.
On the restart, Eric van de Poele lost control, spun in turn 11 and slammed the tire wall, nearly flipping the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola.
That bunched the field for the restart with 19 laps /32 mintues remaining, but Wilkins pulled away. He was passed by Joao Barbosa in late stages of the race, but the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley was two laps down.
The No. 91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley was eliminated in a first lap incident when the No. 47 Brach’s/CDOC Ford Dallara of Ricky Taylor was turned around in turn one and was T-boned by Jim Matthews. It marked the fifth time in six races that the Riley-Matthews team was involved in an incident, threatening to drop Matthews and Marc Goossens out of the top 10 in the point standings.
The next action for the Grand-Am Rolex Series will be held August 23 at Infineon Raceway, featuring the Daytona Prototypes racing with the IRL IndyCar Series. The next combined Daytona Prototype/GT race will be August 31, the Supercar Life 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.