Press Contact: Dennis Punch Howard Motorsports (704) 530-4754 cell
HOMESTEAD, FL March 24, 2007 — Question: What do you get when you combine Andy Wallace, Chris Dyson, the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford Team, and the Homestead-Miami Speedway? Answer: High hopes! Unfortunately, the talented duo had their high expectations dashed with steering problems and were forced to retire from the Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami after completing only 58 laps.
The return of Howard Motorsports and the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford team to Grand-Am Rolex Series competition after a one-race absence brought a great deal of excitement for the Denver, North Carolina based group. With the winning combination of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson co-driving the potent #16 Porsche Crawford, everyone in the garage area took notice of their entry. And with good reason. Wallace and Dyson teamed to give Crawford Race Cars their first ever Rolex Series victory at the Virginia International Raceway in 2002 driving the SSC2K Crawford. In addition, Wallace has two Rolex Series wins at the Homestead-Miami Speedway capturing both events held at the 2.3-mile, 11-turn course in 2004.
Wallace was selected to qualify the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford on Friday and responded with a fast lap of 1:15.269 / 110.005 mph to earn the 8th starting position in the 44-car field.
It only took three laps before the first caution of the race waved for the #76 of Tracy Krohn in the turn 1 gravel trap. On the restart on lap 7, Andy Wallace was forced to make an evasive move to the left to avoid hitting another prototype car, but was flagged for being out of line. The resulting penalty was a drive-through the pit lane on lap nine. After Wallace served his penalty, he would rejoin the field in the 18th position.
Wallace would gain three positions on the track before caution waved again on lap 21. The veteran sports car ace took advantage of this caution to come to pit road for a fuel only stop. He would restart in the 13th position on lap 26. During the next 17 laps, two cautions periods would slow the action for 12 circuits.
Wallace was running in the 14th position when he came to pit road on lap 50 for service and a driver change. Chris Dyson would climb aboard the Porsche Crawford and begin his stint on lap 51 in the 16th position. When the race restarted on lap 57 after the fifth caution of the race, Dyson radioed to the crew that he was having a problem. Dyson came to pit road where the crew changed tires. However, after rejoining the race, the problem was still there and the veteran racer came back to pit road to the attention of his crew. After a thorough inspection, it was determined that there was a major issue with the steering that would force the retirement of the car. Completing 58 of the 91 total laps, the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford would be credited with a 20th –place finishing position in the Daytona Prototype Class.
“We really had high expectations for this event,” Rick Howard, President of Howard Motorsports stated. “With the talents of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson, together with the really good race car that we had, everyone felt as though we were going to have a strong race. This was a very unusual race with lots of caution laps. In fact, nearly one-half the laps we ran were under caution today. Of course, we missed Rob Dyson with us this weekend, but we understand his business commitments. For the second consecutive race, the Grand-Am Rolex Series had a first-time winner. That’s a positive for the overall Series, and certainly shows the competition level in the Rolex Series.”
The next event on the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Series schedule is the VIR 400 at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, April 29th. Qualifying will be held on Saturday, April 28th, with the VIR 400 set for a 1 PM ET start on the 29th. SPEED will provide live television coverage of the fourth event on the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Series schedule.