Connect with us


BARBOSA: Road America Debrief

Joao Barbosa files his latest Sportscar365 column after Road America…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

We had great expectations arriving at Road America. We finished second in last year’s race and we entered the race weekend leading the championship by two points. We wanted to protect that lead by not only finishing in front of the No. 10 car but by also getting a strong result in the race.

We had a good car right from the beginning of the first practice but obviously with the new rule changes, we had to adjust, and with the help of EMCO gears, find the perfect gears.

By the end of the third practice, we felt that we were in very good shape for the race with all the changes and decisions we made up to that point.

Qualifying would give us an idea of how we’d stack up against the competition. Christian did a great job in placing us as the best Daytona Prototype. We were starting second behind the No. 1 P2 car.

This was very encouraging as normally we race much better than we qualify and starting second gave us a good shot at the win.

Christian had a great start and quickly jumped to first place in Turn 1. Everything looked good until that point but during his stint, Christian reported that he was starting to have problems with the brakes. The pedal was getting long and wasn’t as effective.

The Action Express Racing team quickly gathered together to talk about the problem and came up with a solution.

But before we could come to the pits to make the repair, there was a situation that occurred between our car and the 10 car driven by Ricky Taylor.

Both drivers were racing hard when Ricky tried to overtake Christian going into Turn 3. There was contact that sent Christian spinning off course where we lost some positions! Luckily there was no damage to our car and Christian was able to continue.

When we made our first pit stop it was routine with fuel, tires and driver change. The Action Express guys rose to the occasion and found and fixed a small oil leak in the hydraulics going to the left rear brakes.

The problem was solved quickly and we were on our way. We lost some track position there but with the problem solved and plenty of racing still to go, we were feeling confident.

When I got in the car I felt that we had a very good race car. I was on track behind the DeltaWing and this car is fast on the straight line and definitely the driver wasn’t there to make my life easy! But I couldn’t lose my calm and jeopardize our race, so I analyzed what I could do and where he was the weakest to make a decisive move.

When I went by him I closed the gap pretty fast to the top guys. I knew then at that point that we could win the race.

Contrary to the last few races, there were more caution periods than usual. Again, the Action Express team stepped it up and made a great call to pit with an hour to go, when most of the other cars didn’t. We again lost some track position but we knew everyone else had to pit and we were good and would make those positions back!

And then it was time, there was another yellow, and all of the cars in front of me pitted and I got the lead. Our plan was working perfectly.

Obviously you don’t want to wish any harm to your competitors. This racing thing can turn around pretty quickly, but when I saw that the No. 10 car had a mechanical failure, I thought “I need to win this race and our points lead will be quite considerable!”

The restarts were great. Our Corvette was performing the best it has been and for once, the team gave me the okay to use the best engine mapping!

I had a blast in the last run. I was pushing hard, still not taking any risk, and the car was really good – the best it has been this year. I pulled away from the rest, setting the fastest lap of the race with two laps to go.

What an amazing weekend for the entire Action Express Racing team. They rose to the occasion and proved, once again, that they are one of the top teams in this championship. This didn’t start over night, the work for this year started when we finished last season!

We definitely have a good points lead now, but as I mentioned, just one bad day for us and it can be a game changer!

We just need to do what we have been doing up until now and we will be in good shape. Don’t change something that’s working, and the best way to protect our championship goal is to win more races!

The latest news, photos and video features from the trusted Sportscar365 web staff.

Click to comment

More in Commentary