BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – July 14, 2014 – Although Doran Racing’s #14 Nissan NISMO 370Z RC led five laps of Saturday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and its fastest race lap was quicker than two of the three cars that made the podium, drivers Brad Jaeger and B.J. Zacharias ended up 14th in the Grand Sport class after 2 hours and 30 minutes of competition Saturday afternoon.
The race was the series’ only event in Canada this year and it was part of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance.
Jaeger, of Charlottesville, Va., ran in seventh or eighth place throughout his stint after starting eighth. He set the car’s fastest lap of the race on lap six with a time of 1:28.935 while he was embroiled in a torrid battle with Jade Buford in the Mustang that finished third and Ian James in another Mustang that finished second.
Jaeger had contact with two slower Street Tuner cars he was passing during his stint but he was able to continue. He was still a solid seventh when the first of three full-course cautions waved on lap 34, triggering pit stops by all the front-runners, including the #14.
Zacharias began his stint in tenth place with almost exactly an hour and a half of the race remaining. The Cincinnati-based driver got to work on the restart on lap 40, and passed David Levine’s Mustang for ninth place in only three laps. By lap 49 he was up to seventh after he passed Bill Auberlen’s BMW and Robin Liddell’s Camaro on the same lap.
He moved into sixth with one hour remaining when Andrew Aquilante’s Mustang dropped from fifth to eighth. Shortly thereafter he moved up even further and led for five laps from laps 60 through 64 as other front-runners made their second pit stop under green.
Unfortunately a Porsche Cayman Street Tuner car went off course to bring out the race’s second full-course caution just as Zacharias was pitting, and due to the slow pace under yellow he was 13th instead of sixth or seventh for the restart on lap 67 with only 37 minutes remaining.
He passed Dane Cameron in another Nissan for 12th almost immediately, and broke back into the top 10 on lap 71 by re-passing Kyle Marcelli’s Porsche and Auberlen’s BMW.
At that point Joe Nonnamaker had an accident with his Porsche Cayman to bring out the third and final full-course caution on lap 73, and Zacharias spun in a separate incident to drop from tenth to 17th.
Only 19 minutes remained when the race restarted on lap 77. Zacharias passed Cameron one more time on lap 78 to get 16th. He passed Auberlen for the third time on lap 85 to get 15th, and he got 14th when Marcelli’s Porsche 997 dropped from 11th to 15th on lap 89. One lap later the checkered dropped on Andy Lally’s Camaro in first and the #14 in 14th place.
The Lebanon, Ohio-based team had to burn the midnight oil to get a new #41 Tower Events Nissan 370Z ready for Toronto-based drivers John Farano and David Empringham to drive in this event after that car crashed at the most-recent race at Watkins Glen, N.Y. a couple of weeks ago. A problem with the car’s brakes forced it to start at the rear of the Grand Sport field on Saturday, but Farano had worked his way up to 14th in the first 25 laps.
He was tenth when he pitted under yellow 10 laps later for Empringham to take over, and the latter started his stint in 13th place at the restart on lap 40.
Two laps later Empringham was 12th and three laps after that he moved into 11th by passing Brett Sandberg. He set the entry’s fastest lap of the race with a 1:29.602 on lap 46, but unfortunately he only made one more lap. He pulled safely off the course with engine problems with 47 laps complete, avoiding being the cause of a full-course caution. The car was 19th in the Grand Sport class in the final rundown.
Saturday’s race is scheduled to be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on Fox Sport 1 at 10 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, July 20.
One of the biggest races on the CTSCC schedule is next, as the series appears at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 24-25. The Doran Racing #14 Nissan won the pole for that race in 2012.
For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com and the team’s Facebook page. The series’ Web site is at imsa.com.
Post-race quotes follow:
Brad Jaeger: “We had a few unfortunate events in this one.
“I had an OK run. It’s a difficult track to pass on. Once a ST car pulled out in front of me and I ran into the rear of it. Then a little later I had a bit of contact when I got cut off by another ST car, but I was able to continue. The car wasn’t perfect when I handed it over to B.J., but it was driveable.
“The car led a few laps with the pit stop cycling, but we weren’t able to capitalize on it. A full-course caution came out when we were already committed to a pit stop. If that full-course caution had come out five seconds later we would have come out of that pit stop in sixth or seventh, not 15th or so. That was just unfortunate.
“B.J. did a good job. He had a spin in Turn 5, but he made up a few spots after it.
“This race was just a series of unfortunate events for us; we hope for better luck at Indy!”
B.J. Zacharias: “We had a lot of different obstacles to overcome in this one. And even though not all of them were bouncing our way, we still had a shot.
“The full-course caution with 50 minutes remaining couldn’t have happened at a worse time. I was actually transitioning over to make our final pit stop and the lights came on. This really killed us.
“After the pit stop we were making some headway, but we couldn’t make time on the places on the track where our car was best due to traffic.
“Then coming into Moss corner once the back stepped out a bit. I corrected it and thought I had it. It was a very long slide. But eventually I ran out of input and it came around. This dropped us many positions.
“We were seriously caught between gears at this track.”
David Empringham: “The 41 had an engine issue. On to the next one!”