CORVETTE DPs AT WATKINS GLEN: Breakthrough Win for Spirit of Daytona Racing
Westbrook, Valiante score victory; Barbosa, Fittipaldi third for Action Express Racing
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 29, 2014) – Richard Westbrook led a strong showing by Corvette Daytona Prototypes with a thrilling victory alongside Michael Valiante in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday. Westbrook, in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP, won a last-lap dash to the finish by 0.877 seconds.
Corvette DPs took two of the three podium spots in the sixth race for prototypes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Action Express Racing’s Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi were third in their No. 5 Corvette DP.
“Congratulations to Troy Flis, Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiante and everyone at Spirit of Daytona Racing on today’s outstanding victory,” said Mark Kent, Chevrolet Director of Racing. “This was a demanding six-hour race at Watkins Glen. This win – made possible by strategy, performance and execution – helped cap a fantastic weekend for Team Chevy.”
In all, three Corvette Daytona Prototypes led in the race as Chevrolet won overall for the fourth consecutive year at Watkins Glen International and third in a row with the Corvette DP. Four of the top five spots went to Corvette DPs. Burt Frisselle, Brian Frisselle and Jon Fogarty were fourth in Action Express’ No. 9 Corvette DP, and Prototype championship leaders Jordan and Ricky Taylor were fifth with Max Angelelli in Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Corvette DP.
Chevrolet increased its lead in the Prototype engine manufacturer championship standings.
“There are several reasons to celebrate today,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet’s Corvette Daytona Prototype Program Manager. “All five of our Corvette Daytona Prototypes ran competitively and trouble-free. Our Chevrolet V8 engines are showing excellent reliability, as evidenced by strong showings at Daytona, Sebring and now Watkins Glen. We maintained leads in the engine manufacturer, driver and team championship standings thanks to Spirit of Daytona’s victory and a third-place finish for Action Express Racing. The momentum in the TUDOR Championship appears to be in our favor heading into a critical stretch of events.”
The next round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The race – set for 2:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 13 – will mark the first visit to the historic track for the Corvette DPs.
RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA RACING CORVETTE DP
“That yellow made things complicated for us at the end because we were good on fuel and we just needed it to go green. But you know you can’t count on that in racing. The yellow came, it was unfortunate for Alex (Brundle) as he got caught up with the No. 9 car on the restart so I got a really good run and I made it stick. Well done to Michael (Valiante). His stints were incredible, fast and still saving fuel. I’m just so thrilled for everyone on this Visit Florida team. It’s just a massive achievement. We just needed a podium. It has taken awhile, but we just want to make this a habit now like we did in 2012, finishing on the podium. I’m really proud to be part of this team.”
MICHAEL VALIANTE, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA RACING CORVETTE DP
“I knew Richard would be great on the restart. I knew if he could get a run into Turn 1 we would be OK. This whole race was just like qualifying laps. Our approach was to just keep the car safe and be in position to podium. We’ve had quick cars and the team has been doing a great job. The racing is really close in this series and we would like to keep this roll going with some more podiums.”
JOAO BARBOSA, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP
“Even if we were – I can’t say disappointed – but if we were not 100 percent happy, it’s because we know we could have done better. We had a strong car through the whole stint and the whole race. Unfortunately, the strategy in the race situation didn’t work in our favor with the last yellow flags. But it was a great points day for the Patron Endurance Cup and we probably extended our lead a little bit more. I know we were leading at the three-hour mark, which was one of our goals. We just closed the gap on the No. 10 car in the championship and overall, and that’s what we were looking for when we came here. We were looking also for the win and though we didn’t get that, overall still positive.”
(Could he have caught the No. 90 without the last caution?) “I think so. We had a very competitive car and I was pushing; I was doing really good lap times. I felt we had a chance at the end. On the yellow before the last one, I was caught behind (another car) a little bit and he slowed me down just enough so I couldn’t close the gap on the leaders. But on the last situation, I was able to go by him but there was just not enough time… one lap is not enough to get by.”
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP
“Yeah it was a good day. Obviously, not exactly what we were looking for but I also can’t complain. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way. The drive-through penalty (for listing the incorrect starting driver) definitely didn’t help us because we fell back and then the yellow came right after. Then the gap between the leader and Joao was pretty big – 35 or 40 seconds – just because he got caught up in traffic. So that really didn’t help. But we win as a team, we lose as a team. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way. We’re gonna turn the page and go on to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. On the other side, we closed the gap on the No. 10 car (in the driver’s championship), which is good, and we opened the gap to the No. 01 and were leading at the three-hour mark. So for the Patron Endurance Championship, it went really well.”