Press Contact: Dennis Punch Howard Motorsports (704) 530-4754 cell
Watkins Glen, NY (August 10, 2007) … The Crown Royal 200 at The Glen is the only “sprint race” on the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Series schedule. “Sprint” accurately described the style that Rob Dyson and Andy Lally used to post a 13th-place finish in the two-hour event on Friday evening.
The race marked the first time that Rob Dyson and Andy Lally have teamed in a Rolex Series Daytona Prototype event, and the first DP race for Lally in the 2007 season. Lally, the leader in the Rolex Series GT Class, with five wins in 2007, was subbing for Chris Dyson who was at Road American for an American Le Mans Series event this weekend. It was a combination that worked well.
Rob Dyson was chosen to qualify the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford on Thursday afternoon, and responded with a fast lap of 1:10.478 / 125.145 mph to earn the 18th starting position. The fact that the Porsche Crawford was able to qualify is a minor miracle after an “off-course excursion” caused the Thetford / Norcold crew to hastily make repairs to their Crawford prior to qualifying. However, all systems were “go” for final practice and the 200-mile sprint.
The race strategy called for Rob Dyson to drive the first stint, then hand the controls of the Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford over to Andy Lally for the final segment. During the first ten laps of the race, Dyson reported that his Porsche Crawford was “pushing just a little bit”, but that overall the car was pretty good. On lap 22, the leader (#99) passed Dyson to put the Howard Motorsports entry one lap down in 18th position. Dyson would remain 18th until his green-flag pit stop on lap 34. During this stop, the Thetford / Norcold crew changed four tires, refueled, and Andy Lally took over behind the wheel. Lally would rejoin the race in 20th position, two laps down.
Within the first ten laps of his stint, Lally had gained two positions in the running order and turning laps in the high 1:08 range. By lap 65, Lally had moved up to 16th and was chasing down the #7 car for another position gain. On lap 67, Lally caught and passed the #7 car for 15th. Two laps later, a full course caution waved and Lally reported to the crew that his Porsche Crawford was “a good car with good balance”.
With attrition eliminating several competitors, Lally would restart 14th on lap 72. His mission was to “hunt down” and pass the #8 car for 13th, the only other car two laps down. One lap after the restart, Lally shot past the #8 car to claim 13th, and turned his fastest lap of the race, 1:08.247, on lap 77. Lally brought the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford to the checkered flag in 13th position, a gain of seven positions during his stint.
“Our Porsche Crawford had a little push to start, but the Howard Motorsports team had a strong car for us today,” Rob Dyson stated. “I’m not running for points; therefore, I didn’t want to be in the way of the leaders racing for the win and a championship. I got off line a couple of times, and the buildup on the tires made handling a little tough. Andy (Lally) stepped in and did a marvelous job during the final stint. He’s a very talented driver who performed well.”
“This was a wonderful opportunity and experience for me,” Lally added. “I want to thank Rob Dyson and Howard Motorsports for this race. Their Porsche Crawford was a really good car with good balance. The team did a great job and it was a distinct pleasure to have the opportunity to team with Rob for this race.”
“This was a great way for our team to close our season,” Rick Howard, President of Howard Motorsports commented. “Rob did a great job in the car, and Andy really showed why he is considered one of the bright young stars in sports car racing. They both did a great job, as did our entire team. We had some misfortune early in practice, but our crew did a wonderful job preparing our car for the race. Everyone on our team was proud of the performance today, and to end the season with a strong race gives everyone momentum.”
The Crown Royal 200 at The Glen was the final scheduled race for the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford Team from Howard Motorsports for the 2007 Rolex Series season. Ironically, their best finish in the six-race limited season was the 13th in their final event on Friday evening. Howard Motorsports would like to thank everyone associated with their team (drivers, sponsors, crew, support staff) for an exciting 2007 as they look forward to a bigger and better 2008 season competing in the Grand-Am Rolex Series.