BRASELTON, Georgia – October 4, 2014 – Although Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season finale at Road Atlanta did not go as well as Doran Racing had hoped, neither its drivers, the team nor Nissan lost any positions in the final point standings for the year despite the fierce competitiveness of the series.
The Lebanon, Ohio-based team and Nissan remained fifth in the team and manufacturer point standings, respectively. Brad Jaeger of Charlottesville, Va., stayed in fifth place in the driver point standings while co-driver B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati rose one position to finish sixth for their work behind the wheel of Doran Racing’s NISMO Nissan 370Z #14 this season.
Toronto-based John Farano and David Empringham made their first start since Road America in August in the Doran Racing-prepared Tower Events Nissan 370Z #41, and they ended up tied for 27th out of 87 drivers who scored points this year in the series’ Grand Sport division.
Hopes were high for a fifth top-five finish this year for Jaeger and Zacharias’s #14 after Jaeger qualified fifth for Friday’s 2.5-hour race. Although it ran in that position at times during the race, unfortunately an alternator problem and an incident with a Mustang forced it to retire early and it ended up 16th in class in the final rundown with 65 laps completed.
Farano qualified 13th in the #41 and that car ran as high as 11th, but Empringham brought out the race’s fourth and final full-course caution on lap 72 when the car’s engine expired. The checkered waved just nine laps later, and the #41 finished 14th in class in the race, which was part of the Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda weekend.
Rain was forecast throughout the day. There were wet spots on the track when the race started and it sprinkled during the event, but weather was never really a factor and the race ended under dry conditions.
Jaeger started the race in the #14 and he had battles with Ian James, Tim Bell and Trent Hindman during his stint. His fastest lap was lap 10, when he turned a 1:33.762. He was in fifth place when he pitted on lap 31 with 52 minutes gone under the first full-course caution flag, which occurred after Mark Pombo crashed his Mazda into a wall rimming Turn 12 of the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course.
The pit stop went well and Zacharias began his stint in sixth place. He battled with Jade Buford initially. He was still in sixth place at the halfway point, but Pierre Kleinubing got around him shortly thereafter to push him to seventh.
Zacharias and Kleinubing both passed Buford on lap 49, and Zacharias was in sixth place when the second of four full-course cautions waved on lap 50 when Jon Miller crashed his Honda on the frontstretch.
Zacharias pitted under that yellow so the pit crew could work on the alternator problem. He returned to the fray but contact with an out-of-control Mustang a little later coupled with the alternator issue forced him to retire with 65 laps completed. He set the car’s fastest lap of the race five laps earlier, however, with a 1:33.137.
Farano started 13th. He battled Lukas Johnson, Ray Mason and Shelby Blackstock during his stint, and he was in 11th place when he pitted under the first full-course caution for Empringham to take the wheel.
Empringham began his stint in 15th place on lap 34, but he passed Kyle Marcelli and Tom Kimber-Smith on the restart and Andrew Longe on the following lap to rise to 12th by lap 36. He set the #41’s best lap of the race on lap 39 with a 1:33.327.
Empringham was still in 12th place by the halfway point, but on lap 46 he passed Brett Sandberg to rise to 11th. He ran in various positions after that, but he was never lower than 14th.
A top-10 finish looked likely when he passed Ricardo Flores for 13th on lap 64, Kimber-Smith for 12th on lap 66, and he got one more spot when a competitor ahead of him pitted. He was in 11th place on lap 70, but unfortunately his car started to smoke shortly thereafter and he coasted to a stop at the bottom of the esses to bring out the fourth and final caution flag on lap 72 with just 16 minutes remaining in the race.
The race will be broadcast at noon Eastern on Sunday, Oct. 12 on Fox Sports 1.
For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com and the team’s Facebook page.
Post-race quotes follow:
Brad Jaeger: “We had an alternator problem that created low voltage, and then B.J. had problems with one of the Mustangs in Turn 7 that caused left-front suspension damage. We made repairs but the voltage was still too low, so we parked it.
“I never got a low-voltage warning during my stint, but I think it was developing and then we caught it later.
“All in all Doran Racing did a great job this year. It’s a joy driving with B.J., and I want to thank everyone on the team for all their hard work.”
B.J. Zacharias: “I think Brad had an alternator issue during his stint too; it was just a bad deal.
“When you have low voltage it affects a lot of things. It affects the power but you can also lose your ABS. We gave it a try.
“I had a battle with Jade Buford for awhile but the brakes weren’t good because of the voltage problem, so I just let him go.
“We pitted and tried to fix it and got back out, but then I was just at the right place at the wrong time. A Mustang dropped his wheels off the track, came across the track and got into us.
“I want to thank everyone at Doran Racing for all their work this year. We didn’t finish the season like we wanted to, but it was just one of those racing deals.
“Some of the other teams had trouble today too. It’s good to finish in the top five in the team championship in a series as competitive as this one is.”
David Empringham: “I had a misfire throughout my stint, and we blew a motor at the end. Although it wasn’t the way we wanted to finish the season, I want to thank my co-driver, John, and everyone at Doran Racing for all their hard work this year.”