For the second straight year, Starworks Motorsport came out on top at the Brickyard Grand Prix as drivers Ryan Dalziel (pictured, right) and Alex Popow (pictured, left) drove the No. 2 BMW/Riley to victory on Friday evening at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With nine and a half minutes left in the three-hour race around the 2.53-mile IMS road course, Dalziel took the lead for good after Formula One and IndyCar veteran Rubens Barrichello was forced to pit the No. 77 Doran Racing Ford/Dallara for a splash of fuel (he and co-driver Doug Peterson eventually settled for fifth). Dalziel went on to a 3.438-second victory over Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing BMW/Riley.
The win also puts Dalziel and Popow on top of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series’ Daytona Prototype class standings. They now lead by ten points, 229-219, over the No. 99 Bob Stallings Racing duo of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, who took third place this evening.
“This is what we needed – five races to go, we had to start winning races,” Dalziel told MRN Radio after the win. “…We’ll see how the next four go, but today’s a good day.”
Pruett and Memo Rojas’ runner-up finish was enough to give themselves the North American Endurance Championship DP title, which nets them a $100,000 bonus prize. In addition to today’s race, the NAEC included the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of Watkins Glen.
The NAEC crown should be a boost to the Ganassi camp after what’s been an up-and-down year so far for their full-time regulars Pruett and Rojas, the defending DP class champions in the Rolex Series.
“For us to come back after some pretty ugly races and win the North American Endurance Championship is huge for us,” Pruett told MRN. “We’re just gonna see if we can keep on going.”
In the GT class, Jeff Segal and Indy 500 veteran Max Papis earned top honors in the No. 61 R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia, ahead of the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro of John Edwards and Robin Liddell. Like Pruett and Rojas in DP, the second-place showing from Edwards and Liddell was enough for them to lock up the NAEC GT crown.
Sylvain Tremblay and Tom Long brought home the GX class win in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda, but runner-up Dr. Jim Norman (No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche) clinched the NAEC GX title.
Reigning Indy 500 champ Tony Kanaan finished ninth with co-driver Joey Hand in the No. 02 Ganassi BMW/Riley, which made him tops among the three drivers in the field that have competed in the IZOD IndyCar Series this year. A.J. Allmendinger was 10th for Michael Shank Racing, and Sebastien Bourdais was 11th for 8Star Motorsports.