Although their Rolex Series championship-leading duo of Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow failed to finish due to a loss of engine power, Starworks Motorsport was still victorious this evening at Road America as Brendon Hartley took their No. 8 BMW/Riley to the checkered flag in the GRAND-AM VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250.
As the race stretched into its final hour, it appeared that the No. 42 Team Sahlen entry of Dane Cameron would be set for a win in Wisconsin. Unfortunately for Cameron, his car suffered a terminal gearbox problem with 42 minutes remaining to end his run. Shortly afterwards, Sahlen’s sister car, the No. 43, went into the tire barrier at Turn 3 to bring out a full-course yellow.
That brought the leaders to pit road for fuel-only stops, but Hartley stayed out to assume the lead for the final restart with 24 minutes left. He managed to keep the point and go on to the win for both himself and co-driver Scott Mayer.
Action Express Racing collected the other spots on the podium, with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi taking second in the No. 5 AXR Corvette and Brian and Burt Frisselle taking third in the No. 9 AXR Corvette.
“The car was really, really good today,” Hartley said to SPEED in Victory Lane. “This is quite an emotional win. We lost a win back in [March at Austin], so this one really meant a lot to me. It’s been a while since I’ve won a race, and it means so much.”
Hartley was referring to a potential win at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas that went away because of suspension damage following late contact with a GT car.
As for Starworks’ Dalziel/Popow combo, they were still able to maintain the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype championship lead despite finishing 28th on Saturday. Their lead, however, is down to four points on the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing duo of Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney, who finished eighth.
In GT, Bill Auberlen was able to stretch out the fuel load on the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 and hang on for a narrow class win over Patrick Long in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3. Auberlen took the lead from Long in Turn 5 with 17 minutes left in the race, but still needed every last drop in the tank to pick up the win for himself and co-driver Paul Dalla Lana.
Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez earned top honors in GX with a win in the No. 00 SpeedSource Mazda 6.