Picture-perfect weather Saturday afternoon for the two Grand-Am races, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16. Warm and sunny with a breeze off Monterey Bay which kept one alert. They were the last two races of the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The grid for the Rolex race seemed like a flash mob. It was jam packed, and then it was cleared for the start of pre-race ceremonies and the start. Choreographed chaos.
I always find it to be a visual feast, with all the colors and designs, cars, uniforms, equipment and graphics everywhere. Sensory overload, and I mean that in a good way.
Speaking of graphics, many cars in many series now run decals instead of real headlights. In Grand-Am, there are rules. The Rolex Series cars must run the real headlights for a night race. Laguna Seca’s two hour forty-minute minute ‘sprint’ race is not a night race. This means the cars are free to run decals instead of headlights.
However, on the rear, the cars are required to have two tail lights. These can be surrounded by decals. Again, if it is a night race, they have to run tail lights.
Production cars, a la GT class, must run real lights.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Series must run real lights all the time.
Another thing I tracked down via Grand-Am/NASCAR was a comment I heard that Grand-Am races never run against a NASCAR Sprint Cup race. NASCAR now owns Grand-Am, so that makes sense. I was told by a Grand-Am official that “GRAND-AM doesn’t have a “policy” of not racing on Sundays to avoid Cup. Rather, our schedule is done in cooperation with our parent company NASCAR and our broadcast partner SPEED, to ensure the best scheduling possible for our fans and our business.” You heard it here first.