Dalziel Denied Homestead Grand-Am Victory
Damaged Radiator Forces Retirement from Race Lead
Homestead, Florida (05 March, 2011) – Round 2 of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series promised much but delivered little for Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel on Saturday as together with his team-mate, Canada’s Mike Forest, he had to kiss goodbye to a likely victory at the Homestead Miami Speedway, Florida.
Having taken the lead of the race for the second time in the No.8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley Daytona Prototype, Dalziel was forced to pit and then retire just an hour from the checkered flag thanks to a damaged radiator – tire debris the instigator of the team’s sudden and heart-braking reversal of fortune.
Playing the conservation game in practice and qualifying, the team literally running minimum laps to preserve their full compliment of tires for the race, Mike Forest took the start of the ‘Grand Prix of Miami’ last in class. Working his way up to sixth, Ryan then jumped in and set to work making the most of their pre-planned tire strategy.
Dalziel claimed the lead of the 2-hour 45-minute endurance sprint for the first time an hour into the race. A skilled braking maneuver on Alex Gurney, in the No.99 entry, reaped second place as the Scottish racer took advantage of the American’s tire degradation. He then wasted little time in placing a move on the leader, Ricky Taylor, to assume control of the race around the 2.3-mile speedway road-course.
He comfortably maintained his pace at the head of the pack, only surrendering P1 to Memo Rojas in the No.01 car on lap 61 as he pitted for a fresh set of rubber. Back on-track in seventh place, Ryan once again worked his way to the front and again took the lead, this time with just over an hour remaining on the clock. It was to prove short-lived however as the team called Ryan to the pits on the next tour to inspect the sudden over-heating issue.
With the punctured radiator proving too much to overcome, a promising outing was ultimately for nothing as the Fort Lauderdale-based Starworks Motorsport crew wheeled the No.8 back to the hauler after 73 laps, the team posting a second-straight retirement on the 2011 season.
“Well we couldn’t have had a better strategy to get the win today but it wasn’t to be,” reflected Dalziel. “We expected good things knowing we had plenty of tires to work with over the competition. It’s nobody’s fault but sadly the piece of tire debris was a one in a million shot to punch the radiator where it did and end our day. The win was definitely there for us, we’ll stay positive knowing that and move on!”
The ‘Grand Prix of Miami’ was eventually won by reigning champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the No.1 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car.
Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama hosts Round 3 of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Friday 8th – Saturday 9th April – www.grand-am.com