Top-10 Qualifying Effort for Joe Foster in No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GT at The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 10, 2012) – Joe Foster gave Dempsey Racing a top-10 qualifying effort Friday at Watkins Glen International when he turned the ninth fastest lap time of the session in the No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GT he will co-drive in tomorrow’s Continental Tire 200 with Patrick Dempsey stand-in driver Tom Long.
A two-hour sprint race that is Round 10 of the 13 events on the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series schedule, the Continental Tire 200 can be seen live on SPEED tomorrow, Saturday, August 11, at 6 p.m. EDT/3 p.m. PDT.
Third fastest Friday of the six Mazda RX-8 GTs competing at The Glen, Foster turned a top qualifying lap time of 1:14.879 (117.790 mph) in the No. 40 while Charlie Putman clocked in 13th fastest at 1:16.617 (115.118 mph) in the sister Dempsey Racing No. 41 FishingCapital.com/Bass 2 Billfish Mazda RX-8 GT. Putman co-drives with season-long teammate Charles Espenlaub.
Qualifying, and the one-hour twilight final practice session that followed, were the first dry sessions of the day for GRAND-AM Rolex Series competitors. Friday morning’s opening practice sessions were run in the rain.
“We are still definitely not as quick as we want to be, qualifying was the first time we ran in the dry, and, honestly, we missed the setup,” Foster said. “It was very, very loose and we actually stopped and made a spring change just before the last practice session. The car is a little more drivable now, but still slow, so we will keep working on it in the morning and try to figure out what the deal is.”
Long is standing in for Dempsey Racing team owner and driver Dempsey who learned at the last minute Thursday that his busy schedule in Hollywood was going to force him to miss this weekend’s race. Long also filled in for Dempsey earlier this season at the Grand Prix of Miami and is a frequent Dempsey Racing teammate in endurance races. He partnered Dempsey and Foster in the No. 40 two races ago at The Glen in the Sahlen’s Six Hours.
“Being able to drive with Joe Foster and Dempsey Racing is quite an honor,” Long said. “We are here again at Watkins Glen, we were here earlier this year, and look to improve our finishing position in the VISIT FLORIDA Mazda. This is my second time here at the ‘short course’ but I have been to Watkins Glen a whole bunch. It is going to be an all-out sprint but hopefully a few things will come our way and we will see where we end up. It is just a real pleasure to be here and to have had the chance to drive with Dempsey Racing so many times this year.”
Long’s first start on The Glen’s NASCAR “short course” that is being used this weekend came in last year’s race in a similar Mazda RX-8 GT.
Putman is making his Glen “short course” debut.
“It’s kind of fun, very high speed, not very many slow technical things, but it is still very challenging,” Putman said. “The uphill esses are always the uphill esses, no matter what configuration you run, and that’s always a real eye opener when you go up them. It’s a nice, wide track and The Glen is still just a great place to drive, it is one of the great tracks in the country.”
Putman and Espenlaub also made the most of Friday’s various on-track conditions in practice and qualifying.
“The rain didn’t hurt us too much, we may be racing in the rain tomorrow, who knows, so it gave us a chance to see the car in the wet,” Putman said. “We really got lucky this afternoon with the weather, had a dry qualifying session and then ran some setup laps in final practice. If we have a dry race we will be ready to go and I think if we have a rain race we will still be ready to go. That is one of the advantages of having a mixed day like today.”
About Dempsey Racing: A fulltime and year-round enterprise, Dempsey Racing (www.dempseyracing.net) is a professional sports car auto racing team based in the greater Atlanta area in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Owned by actor/driver Patrick Dempsey, the team races in support of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing (www.dempseycenter.org) in Dempsey’s hometown of Lewiston, Maine, and the Team Seattle Guild (www.teamseattle.com) to benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital Heart Center (www.seattlechildrens.org).
About Dempsey Racing’s Partners: Dempsey Racing (www.dempseyracing.net) is an official Mazda (www.mazdausa.com) racing team and has competed exclusively in Mazda RX-8 GTs in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series since 2007. A primary partner for the Mazda program is VISIT FLORIDA (www.VISITFLORIDA.com), the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, and its www.ShareaLittleSunshine.org and www.FishingCapital.com promotional programs, and the television show Bass 2 Billfish with Peter Miller. Additional Dempsey Racing partners include Trina Solar (www.trinasolar.com), a leading manufacturer of high-quality solar photovoltaic (PV) modules that deliver reliable, environmentally-friendly power to homes and businesses and value to customers, and Specialized Bicycle Components (www.specialized.com), a manufacturer and worldwide supplier of technically advanced bicycles and related components. New partners for 2012 include GNC Beverages (www.drinkGNC.com), built upon the 75 years of nutrition innovation from the leader in sports nutrition, Motegi Racing (www.motegiracing.com), a leading manufacturer of competition and high-performance tuning wheels designed and engineered for performance, Racing Electronics (www.racingelectronics.com), the number one source for professional race communications worldwide, and Silicon Tech Racing (www.silicontechracing.com) which provides high-tech corporations a dedicated marketing platform through sports car road racing focused on technology executives.