Magnussen and Angelelli were the dominant force after that, and were never seriously challenged for the win. The No. 99 Gainsco Pontiac/Riley of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty chased them to the checkered flag, followed by the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford/Riley of Jorg Bergmeister and Colin Braun.
In the GT class, the No. 72 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup of Wolf Henzler and Robin Liddell claimed its first win of the year in 21st overall, holding off the ever-potent No. 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R of Andy Lally and Marc Bunting, with third in class going to the No. 17 SAMAX Porsche GT3 Cup of Ian James and guest driver Ryan Hunter-Reay.
The series’ reputation for hard-nosed, door-banging action was borne out at Laguna Seca, as seven caution periods kept what had been scheduled for 112 laps to 88, all that could be completed in the two-hour-45-minute TV window. There was lots of fender-banging and spinning, and the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus/Riley of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz was victimized three different times, winding up 10th. The besieged duo of Eddie Cheever and Christian Fittipaldi also got banged around a couple of times, finally being parked with rear suspension damage.
Those sustaining damage won’t have much time to affect repairs, as the series will race again next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
Grand-Am Rolex Series Top Five:
1) Max Angelelli/Jan Magnussen, No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac/Riley, 88 laps
2) Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty, No. 99 Gainsco Pontiac/Riley, -2.798sec
3) Jorg Bergmeister/Colin Braun, No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford/Riley, -10.134sec
4) Michael McDowell/Guy Cosmo, No. 19 Finlay Motorsports Ford/Crawford, -11.014sec
5) David Donohue/Darren Law, No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche/Fabcar, -21.316sec
NHRA: Kalitta, T. Pedregon and Connolly Win at Atlanta
Doug Kalitta, Tony Pedregon and Dave Connolly were the big winners at Atlanta Dragway on Sunday, where the action was delayed by persistent rain showers. Kalitta snagged his second Top Fuel win in a row, beating points leader Melanie Troxel in the final round to vault himself into second in the championship standings. Kalitta’s 4.469sec/327.57mph pass, the second-quickest run of the weekend, was more than good enough to beat a tire-smoking Troxel, who was done 100 feet into her sixth final-round appearance in the last seven races. Kalitta beat David Baca, Tony Schumacher and Larry Dixon to get to Troxel, who defeated Bob Vandergriff, Hillary Will and Morgan Lucas on her way to the finals.
In Funny Car, Tony Pedregon made his first final-round appearance of the year, taking a holeshot squeaker (.067 to 078) over Robert Hight, 4.740/325.69 to 4.738/321.81. Pedregon started his day by outrunning Whit Bazemore, and then had to face all three members of his former team, John Force Racing. He took out Force and Medlin before getting to Hight, who drove past Mike Ashley, Cruz Pedregon and Del Worsham in the semis.
Dave Connolly became the seventh different Pro Stock winner this season, and did it by beating Greg Stanfield in the final round, 6.695/205.69 to 7.531/127.34, after Stanfield beat him on the holeshot .014 to .038 but then got out of shape and had to back out of the throttle. Connolly trailered Jason Line and Allen Johnson and Larry Morgan to get to the final round, while Stanfield bested Greg Anderson, Mike Edwards and Jim Yates.
The series will be back in action at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio in two weeks.
Grand-Am Cup: Steve Bernheim and Dwain Dement claimed their first-ever victory in the Grand-Am Cup Series GS class at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, crossing the finish line first in their No. 03 Bernheim Racing Porsche 996 ahead of the No. 81 Synergy Racing Porsche 996 of Patrick Long and Brent Martini and the No. 90 Automatic Racing BMW M3 of Jeff Segal and Joao Barbosa. In the ST class, Eric Curran and Jamie Holton won their second straight race in the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS, ahead of the No. 00 team car of Daniel Colembie and James Holton (Jamie’s father), while the No. 12 Performance Motorsports BMW Z4 of David Tuaty/Jason Potter was third in class. The series will accompany the Rolex Sports Car Series to Phoenix International Raceway next weekend.