Dalziel Denied Daytona Podium
Orlando, Florida (July 04, 2008) – Ryan Dalziel steered the #2 SAMAX Motorsport BMW-Riley Daytona Prototype to within eight laps of a podium finish in last night’s ‘Brumos Porsche 250’ before contact resulted in retirement short of the checkered in Round 8 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16, at the Daytona International Speedway, Florida.
Dalziel was on course to record Florida-based SAMAX Motorsport’s third podium of the season having charged through the Daytona Prototype running order in another typically gutsy performance from the 26-year-old. Passing Ricardo Zonta in the #76 Krohn Racing entry for third on lap 62 proved to be the turning point in Ryan’s race as although he gained the position the Brazilian side swiped the Scotsman’s car at Turn 2 which resulted in a broken drive-shaft and a second-straight retirement shortly after for Dalziel.
With practice, qualifying and the 70-lap race all condensed into the one day, the on-track action was as frantic as ever on the 3.56-mile part-oval, part-road course Daytona circuit. Ryan’s team-mate, Henri Zogaib, once again handled qualifying duties and remained behind the wheel for the opening stint of the 2-hour 45-minute, 250-mile race. Keeping the car on the lead lap he eventually pitted under green after thirty minutes to allow Ryan to begin his customary sprint to the front.
Dalziel again reveled in the pace of the team’s BMW-Riley and quickly laid down a series of hot laps to bolster his position. The team then opted to have Ryan pit again as early as they could to refuel through to the finish, as was the case with much of the opposition. Setting the third fastest lap of the race on lap 59, a 1m42.827s, Ryan quickly found himself in podium contention with the race clock counting down. While he briefly claimed third having passed Zonta, the damage done to the drive-shaft following contact between the two cars quickly resulted in Dalziel’s retirement from the race.
The Chip Ganassi Racing duo of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas recorded their fifth win of the season in the #01 Lexus Riley. Pruett’s last corner move on the #99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley, shared by fellow American’s Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, delivered the win – the closest ever finish in Grand-Am history, with Zonta and his Krohn Racing team-mate Nic Jonsson rounding out the podium.
“It’s an unfortunate end to what would undoubtedly have been a podium finish,” reflected Dalziel post-race. “The leaders were too far gone but having taken third, I was confident I was going to be able to hold onto it through to the checkered. We knew we had a fast car despite missing out on some running time earlier in the day.
“Strategy-wise everything was looking good. We refueled as soon as we could to make sure we could have a strong run to the flag and we weren’t alone in thinking that way. To go from fourteenth to third was a great performance but it wasn’t to be. The drive-shafts on these cars can be pretty fragile and if you get hit square on the wheel it tends to be game over, as was the case when Ricardo hit my car. That said we were encouraged by the overall performance and look to build on it next time out.”
Round 9 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16, the ‘Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant’, takes place at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, Friday 18th – Sunday 20th July – www.grand-am.com