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Starworks Shines, Wins Indy Grand-Am Race

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, July 26 2013

Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow won the Brickyard Grand Prix on Friday.

Ryan Dalziel took the lead with 9 minutes remaining and went on to take checkered flag for his Starworks Motorsports team Friday to win the Rolex Grand-Am Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Sharing the wheel with Dalziel in the BMW Riley DP car was co-driver Alex Popow. The victory was the second straight at Indy for Starworks and Popow.

Dalziel inherited the lead when former Formula 1 driver  Rubens Barrichello had to make a late pit stop for fuel. Dalziel then held off hard-charging Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Pruett by 3.438 seconds.

The Starworks victory came in the first race since the team announced it was switching from Ford to BMW engines. The win moved Dalziel and Popow into the points lead.

“It’s just crazy,” Dalziel said. “I said to the guys on the radio, ‘I don’t know if I should kiss everybody or kiss the bricks first.”

At the beginning of the week Starworks announced its return to BMW power. The 2 car  of  Dalziel and Popow was fitted with the new BMW 4.5 L engine, while the No. 8 Starworks car of Pierre Kaffer and Brendon Hartley had the current 5L power plant. The crew and tuners Dinan Cars worked to fit the new engines in time for the weekend and to run what were essentially familiarisation laps during the free practice and qualifying sessions.

On Thursday the 8 car qualified P8 with Pierre Kaffer behind the wheel, while Alex Popow qualified P12 in #2 Starworks.

“We got our new BMW engine only a week ago. We felt we had a pretty special car this year. We were missing just that little bit, and now we have it with the engine.”

Said Popow, “It’s amazing being here for the second time in a row winning at Indy.”

Alex Gurney of GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, was third in the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype race on IMS’s 2.534-mile, 13-turn road circuit.

Tony Kanaan, Barichello’s teammate when they drove for KV Racing Technology in the IZOD IndyCar Series last season, finished ninth after winning the Indianapolis 500 two months earlier. Kanaan was driving the No. 02 BMW Riley for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Jeff Segal and Max Papis gave Ferrari its first victory of the year, winning GT in the No. 61 R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport Ferrari 458.

Segal crossed over Indy’s famous line of bricks for the final time Friday with a more than 10-second margin of victory. The win immediately went a long way in erasing the disappointments and bad luck that has plagued the first-year R.Ferri/AIM Ferrari team this season.

“This was the complete performance we have been capable of all year but finally were able to achieve today,” said Segal, who earned his ninth career series GT win. “Everything finally went our way today, from great strategy to great setups and outstanding pit work. Everybody at R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport has been giving this type of effort all year and it was nice to be able to finally win one for us and for Ferrari.”

Stevenson Motorsport won the GT NAEC title with a second-place finish for John Edwards and Robin Liddell in the No. 57 Camaro, while Sylvain Tremblay and Tom Long took both race and GX honors in the No. 70 Mazdaspeed/SpeedSource Mazda 6.

Getting a second straight Indy win sat very well with Peter Baron, owner of the two Starworks cars.

“I am so thrilled for everyone; this win is great,” Baron said. “We can’t thank everyone at BMW North America and Dinan Cars enough for getting us here in a week. Our crew was also unbelievable to get to grips so quickly with a new engine, a different handling car and the drivers were all amazing too. It feels so great that we are kissing the bricks again and now, with a 10 points lead in the Championship, this win could not have come at a better time for our title bid.”

Popow’s win in 2012 came when he was paired with Sebastien Bourdais. Winning with Dalziel was just as much fun, Popow said.

“It’s amazing, a real come back,” Popow said. “We come back to Indy and I have my second victory and my second here! I want to thank BMW and Dinan who put us back on top; it’s been a crazy week and it feels very good. The whole team has worked very hard and I am very happy that it has paid off for them and for our championship fight going forward.”

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, July 26 2013
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