The sun came out and it was beautiful at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca-mid-sixties. The stiff breeze kept it from being hot for the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazda. For the most part, all the race cars behaved themselves fairly well, although there were some black flag all situations so the track could be cleared up.
The Sun Trust Racing No.10 Chevrolet Dallara driven by MAX ANGELELLI and RICKY TAYLOR was the fastest Daytona Prototype in the first Rolex Series practice, at 1:21.294/99.107 mph. Points leaders, SCOTT PRUETT and MEMO ROJAS/No.01 TELMEX BMW Riley were second, followed by JON FOGARTY and ALEX GURNEY/No.99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley.
The fastest GT car was the No.59 Brumos Racing Porsche GT3 driven by LEH KEEN and ANDREW DAVIS, at 1:29.726/89.793 mph. Second in class were BILL LESTER and JORDAN TAYLOR (brother of Ricky and son of Sun Trust team owner, WAYNE TAYLOR); and local driver, JONATHAN BOMARITO of Monterey and team owner SYLVAIN TREMBLAY/No.70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 were third.
During the noon break, while fan laps were keeping the track warm, the Grand-Am Rolex Series drivers were holding autograph sessions in front of their respective transporters. There were crowds of eager people seeking photos and autographs from their favorite drivers. It was easy to spot where was actor and two-car race team owner, PATRICK DEMPSEY. He and the two Mazda drivers for his second car, DANE CAMERON and JAMES GUE/No.41 Dempsey Racing GT, had a huge queue; and Dempsey very obligingly posed for pictures with almost everyone who came through his line.
Dempsey drives No.40 Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 GT with JOE FOSTER and CHARLES ESPENLAUB. Foster is also racing in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series – No.15 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang Boss 302R GS, co-driving with SCOTT MAXWELL. Foster and Maxwell were the fastest in the CTSCC Grand Sports class in their first practice session. SARAH CATTANEO, one of two female drivers in Grand-Am this weekend, and co-driver OWEN TRINKLER were the fastest Street Tuner CTSCC car in No.198 RSR Motorsports Mini Cooper.
Dempsey has been working long and hard to film GARTH STEIN’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, which has been on best seller lists for the past two years. Dempsey will play the lead role, driver DENNY SWIFT, when Universal Studios finds a director and can start the filming – hopefully this fall.
The Chip Ganassi drivers, Pruett and Rojas, seated next to the Mazda drivers, also had long lines.
MIKE COOPER/No.6 AMG was the fastest driver in the first of two practice sessions for the SCCA Pro Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup R6 driver at 1:42.289/78.655, which topped JUSTIN HALL/No.4 AMG Racing in the second session with 1:43.708/77.687 mph. Cooper was first overall in the combined times.
The Grand-Am cars have another practice before their late-afternoon qualifying.