PHOENIX’S…DARREN LAW WINS WATKINS GLEN
Darren Law celebrated his first overall win in the Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday, his second Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series win of the season. Law, of Phoenix, and João Barbosa of Porto, Portugal, drove the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette-powered Coyote Daytona Prototype to victory on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Barbosa started third on the 32-car grid, but quickly moved to second. A fast pitstop put him into the early race lead, which he held until the second stop, 75 minutes into the race. He drove a double stint, then handed off from fifth to Law.
Law returned to the track sixth and worked his way through the field to lead at the halfway mark. He stayed in the top three through two more pitstops. Barbosa drove the final 90 minutes, taking the lead with 17 minutes remaining. He held the point to win by just two-tenths of a second.
Law said team pit strategy was the key to the win.
“We analyzed the strategies of other teams over the last couple of years – the other winners – and how they broke up their driver pairings. It really came down to having whoever finished the race be as fresh as possible. It’s such a long race, you really get worn out. So it paid off to have João fresh at the end.
“There was a lot of strategy through the whole race. We did fuel with no tires at the beginning, so that gave us track position. Then at the very end, we played a strategy call on the final pitstop, as well. We came in for fuel only, but we came in with an hour left in the race and there was no way we were going to make it on fuel. It was a gamble – we needed a yellow [caution period] to get us through. Luckily, it worked out that way.”
The victory puts Law a close third in Rolex Series Daytona Prototype driver standings and moves Action Express into the lead in the North American Endurance Championship, which awards points for team performance in the longer Rolex Series races, at Daytona International Speedway, Watkins Glen International and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Action Express earned double points for both the win and their half-distance lead at Watkins Glen.
“The prize for the winning of that championship is a hundred grand for the team! We actually conserved fuel mid-race to make sure we were leading – another strategy move,” Law noted.
He said he plans to celebrate with the crew who prepared his race-winning car. “I told the 9 crew, all the guys who work on the car, that I’d buy them all drinks tonight. So they’re pretty happy about that one!”