Although it is cold and foggy at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday morning, there’s plenty of visibility and the morning practice sessions (warm-ups) started on schedule at 8 am. All four groups race Saturday for the Continental Tire Sportscar Festival Powered by Mazda. As the morning wears on, the fog is lifting and there will be blue skies all around. Another great day for racing!
EDDIE LAWSON, four-time Motorcycle Grand Prix World Champion, won the World Superkarts race. That race preparation by DAN GURNEY did the trick. I spoke to ALEX GURNEY about his Dad’s interest in such vehicles. Gurney, whose team will start on the front row for the Grand-Am Rolex Series race, said his father is really keen on karts and working on them. Young Gurney said he went over to see Lawson’s kart and it was great to see the things that Dad had done.
Thirty-one of the thirty-six karts ran the race. Lawson’s best race time was 1:26.182, on the tenth of 14 laps.
The morning sessions were short – fifteen minutes. All 27 of the Rolex Series cars were on course. I asked DAVID DONOHUE/No.5 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley Daytona Prototype what does a driver or team accomplish in such a short session. “We run on a full tank, check out the bugs, more seat time to my co-driver DARREN LAW who didn’t have as much time in the car Friday etc. It’s a Hail Mary if we have to make a change.”
JOHN PEW/No.60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley DP was fastest overall and in class. LEH KEEN/No.59 Brumos Racing Porsche GT3 was fastest in the GT class. A car beached itself in the gravel and the session had to be black-flagged for the tow.
Friday during Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series qualifying, a Mini-Cooper lost a wheel in Turn Six and nose-dived into the gravel, which necessitated a lengthy and complicated rescue. The driver was OK, but the poor ST qualifiers got one lap of qualifying and the rest sitting on the grid waiting, and then the checkered flag.
There could be one less colorful car on the Rolex grid next season. Crown Royal has already notified Roush Racing in NASCAR that it will bot be renewing its sponsorship of MATT KENSETH’s No.17 Crown Royal Ford in the Sprint Cup Series. Pew and co-driver OSWALDO NEGRI are sponsored by Crown Royal. Team Owner, MICHAEL SHANK said “There was one last black cloud event for us this week…Crown Royal announced that they have pulled out of most of their motorsports sponsorships for 2012. We are really sad to hear this news as they have been great partners for us over the last 2 years, we will miss them very much and thank them for all their support!”
The Rolex Series also has sponsorship from Crown Royal. The full name is Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16. It takes a Grand-Am marketing person to say what exactly a presenting sponsorship means, and what if anything will happen to the current Crown Royal presenting sponsorship.