Grand Am: Action Express Rd3 Preview
The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series travels to Barber Motorsports Park this weekend and Action Express Racing is set for its return to the 2.3-mile Alabama road course as GRAND-AM stages Round 3 of the 2013 championship with Saturday’s two-hour Porsche 250 event. The team targets a strong result at the track with an adept driver line-up of Christian Fittipaldi and Brian Frisselle in the No. 5 Corvette DP and Joao Barbosa and Burt Frisselle in the No. 9 Corvette DP.
All four drivers have a wide range of experience at the picturesque facility, with each having multiple starts at the track dating back to 2003. In fact, Barbosa was part of the history-making 2003 race, scoring a victory in GRAND-AM’s first-ever Barber Motorsports Park event driving the No. 31 Chevrolet for Mosler Automotive in the GTS class. The third Rolex Sports Car Series event of the year marks the shortest race of the season to date as the team looks to build early momentum in the GRAND-AM championship.
Action Express Racing opened the 2013 season with results of fourth and eighth in the Rolex 24 for the No. 9 and No. 5 Corvette DPs, respectively. That effort was followed up in GRAND-AM’s debut at Circuit of the Americas with a fifth place result for the No. 5 DP of Christian Fittipaldi and Brian Frisselle. That same race saw the Action Express group experience a range of highs and lows with the No. 5 Corvette spending time at the front of the field to lead laps (the fifth consecutive race that an Action Express Corvette DP has led laps) on the way to finishing fifth.
The sister No. 9 Corvette DP machine suffered significant suspension damage following an on-track incident early in the race, forcing the car back to the pits and then behind the wall for repairs. Despite the setback, the ‘2 cars, 1 Team’ crew valiantly went to work on the No. 9 during the race in order to return the car to the circuit, and those efforts saw all four Action Express Racing drivers earn points toward the championship. Underscoring the quality of the in-race repairs, Barbosa posted the fastest lap of the race after returning to the track.
“It was a big effort from the guys to get the No. 9 car fixed and back in the race,” said team manager Gary Nelson. “Both of our Corvette DPs had a race winning pace in Texas, we just didn’t have the racing luck. I am really proud of the tremendous effort the entire AXR team has put into the Barber event, testing in New Orleans plus making significant improvements to our cars and equipment. This weekend at Barber is a new opportunity for us to be successful as a team, our plan is to do what we’ve done in many other events…be the team everyone is chasing.”
The Porsche 250 event kicks off on Wednesday with a promoter test day. Official practice will take place on Thursday. A 15-minute qualifying session on Friday morning will determine the grid for Saturday’s 2-hour sprint event which is set to begin at 1:45 PM (ET).