Action Express Racing Canada Notes & Quotes 7-6-16
LAST WEEK AT WATKINS GLEN: Last Sunday (July 3), the Action Express Racing team recorded a one-two finish in the six hour endurance race at Watkins Glen International. The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi crossed the finish line first followed by teammates Dane Cameron and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen/Team Fox Corvette DP. Race-winners Barbosa and Fittipaldi combined to lead more than half the race (107 of 197 laps), including the final 22 circuits around the Watkins Glen permanent road course. En route to the runner-up result, Cameron and Curran led 26 laps.
WIN No. 1: The win at Watkins Glen was the first of the 2016 IMSA season for Action Express Racing. It was also the third win for the team – and Barbosa – at Watkins Glen. Barbosa previously finished first at Watkins Glen in 2012 (with Darren Law) and in 2013 (with Fittipaldi).
BREAK OUT THE BROOM: The one-two finish for Action Express Racing marks the third time the team has recorded a sweep of the top-two finishing positions in sports car competition. Along with the one-two result at Watkins Glen this past weekend, the team has also finished first and second at Wisconsin’s Road America (2015) and The Raceway at Belle Isle, MI (2012). At Road America last year, Cameron and Curran captured the checkered flag with Barbosa and Fittipaldi ending up in second-place.
POINTS PACE: The win at Watkins Glen enabled Barbosa and Fittipaldi to move into sole possession of first-place in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Championship Prototype standings with 187 points. Cameron and Curran are tied for second in the standings with 180 points. Following Watkins Glen, Barbosa and Fittipaldi now also lead the IMSA Patron North America Endurance Cup standings with 35 points.
COMING TO CANADA: This year, the Action Express Racing lineup at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will be the same as it was one year ago at the 2.459-mile permanent road course. Barbosa and Fittipaldi will team up in the No. 5 entry, while Cameron and Curran will be back behind the wheel of the No. 31 race car. In 2015, Cameron and Curran crossed the finish line second in the No. 31 Corvette DP after leading 54 of 128 laps. The No. 5 entry (Barbosa and Fittipaldi) was leading the field before a flat tire with about 11 minutes remaining in the race. They recorded a fifth-place result after leading the field for 17 circuits. Two years ago in 2014, Barbosa and Fittipaldi also finished fifth at the track
WORK WEEK: Rather than return to the team’s North Carolina race shop following the Watkins Glen race, the Action Express Racing team spent a few extra days at the upstate New York track preparing the race cars for the event in Canada. The team spent Monday and Tuesday at Watkins Glen before traveling to Canada.
KEEPING TRACK: Action Express Racing has recorded wins at six of the 10 tracks on the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule. The team has registered victories at Belle Isle, MI (2012 and 2015), Daytona (2010 and 2014), Road America (2014 and 2015), Road Atlanta (2015), Watkins Glen (2012, 2013 and 2016) and Sebring (2015).
HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS: Since Action Express Racing was formed in 2010, the team has captured back-to-back titles in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (2014 and 2015), as well as consecutive Patron North America Endurance Cup championships (2014 and 2015). Last year, the team collected four wins during the season (Sebring, Detroit, Road America and Road Atlanta) and the team has 14 career victories.
DANE CAMERON, No. 31 Whelen Corvette DP, Action Express Racing
Are there any challenges to having back-to-back race weekends?
“Back-to-back race weekends are much more challenging logistically and for the crew guys – from the standpoint of hours and work – compared to the drivers. I really enjoy the back-to-back races. We have 10 races on the schedule, so when there are two in a row you’re a bit fresher when you get back into the car the next weekend. I think when you’ve been out of the race car only a handful of days rather than a couple weeks – that makes a big difference. Getting through the weekend is a lot tougher on the team, but it only happens one time a year – so we’ll power through it.”
Do you enjoy racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park?
“It’s one of my favorite race tracks. I’ve been there a number of times in a number of different race cars, and always seem to do well at the track. I haven’t won there yet, but I’ve been on the podium a number of times. Eric (Curran) and I had a really strong run there last year, but came up a little short. I’m confident we can go back there and challenge for a win.”
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, Action Express Racing
Are you looking forward to the race in Canada?
“Obviously, we are very happy with the Watkins Glen finish because it was a strong win. As a team we worked hard to earn that win and finishing one-two was an excellent moment. I’m looking forward to going back to Canada. Historically, we’ve been strong there and have had good race cars at the track. We’re looking to carry the momentum from our performance at Watkins Glen into Canada.”
How did it feel to get the first win of the season at Watkins Glen?
“It feels really great because this is the first race of the second part of the season and we couldn’t have started any better. If you’re looking to go for the championship — you have to be strong everywhere you go. It was definitely a strong race for us from lap one. We drove on the limit the whole time. A big part of the reason for our success was pure race craft — we were perfect on the pit stops and we were really good in traffic.”
JOAO BARBOSA, No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, Action Express Racing
How did it feel to win at Watkins Glen last weekend?
“It was probably one of the fastest pace races that I’ve done in a while. They did an amazing job with the (repave of the) surface. We were able to keep up the pace for a long time. This team has been working really hard to get a win, and we did it in great style. We were really matched with our teammates in the No. 31, so track position was really important. When I got out in clean air, I felt like I had an edge on the No. 31 and then just had to maintain the gap. It was a great day for Action Express Racing.”
What are your expectations for this weekend’s race in Canada?
“We’re hoping to have the pace we had last year. We were leading the race and then the flat tire happened with just a handful of laps remaining. So, we were unable to get any positions back before the race ended. We look forward to returning to Canada and following our strong performance last weekend at Watkins Glen with another good race weekend.”