Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series’ RumBum.com 250 at Laguna Seca Race Recap

Setup II, racing reality show winner Chris Prey qualified the No. 06 Banner Engineering / Las Vegas BikeFest Pontiac GXP.R in ninth position. Prey got his first taste of the GXP.R on Friday morning and steadily improved his speed throughout the day to post a qualifying time of 1:28.614.

After qualifying, Prey commented, “I am still trying to get the maximum out of the car on a new set of these Pirelli tires in every corner. The team gave me alot of laps this morning to get a feel for the GXP.R. My first time out with the DP cars on the track took some getting used to. I focused on my line, giving them a little room and now the comfort level is really rising. The car is very good here. The handling is pretty neutral, so I can put the car where I want and it holds the track. I didn’t get 100% out of the car in qualifying, but turned my quickest time of the day and am good with a top ten qualifying position for tomorrow’s race in my first go with the car. The data shows that I’m giving up just a little time during corner entry in the brake zones so chalk that up to my learning curve of these amazing brakes and move forward to focusing on the race.”

After the green flag was thrown, Prey was able to move up a couple of positions before his car was hit in the side by another competitor. The contact caused him to spin and stall the car. By the time he restarted the LS2 motor he had lost valuable track position. At the races mid-point he turned it over to Leighton Reese who brought the car home in ninth.

“I had a good start,” Prey said. “About six laps into the race the 32 car came inside me late going into turn five and hit me right in the door after turn-in, sending me off into the dirt. The car stalled. I got it started and then had to wait until the leading DP traffic cleared before getting on course and lost a bunch of positions. The contact didn’t hurt the car at all and I got back going and focused on running clean fast laps. Leighton did a good job to finish out the race in ninth place.”

“This was an amazing opportunity,” Prey continued. “For Pontiac, GM Racing, Banner Racing and Leighton Reese to work to turn a test into a race weekend, it was just beyond my expectations. It was a dream come true and a great education to work with a professional team like Banner and the guys from Pratt & Miller. Now I have to take this experience and put it to use in my future racing endeavors.”

Co-driver and team owner Reese added, “Chris did a great job. We really threw him to the wolves and he performed professionally. He qualified well and in spite of the incident early in the race, he maintained his composure, took care of the car, and gave me a great hot rod at the mid-point. We lost a lap due to fuel strategy and pit stops and then nearly got it back. If we had been able to get back on the lead lap, I think we had a possible top 5 for sure.”

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