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DALZIEL: It’s Tight at the Top

Ryan Dalziel files his first Sportscar365 column ahead of Sunday’s GRAND-AM race…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

I want to start by taking this opportunity to thank John Dagys, for not only allowing me to be the first GRAND-AM driver to write a blog for his new venture Sportscar365, but also to thank him for all he does to keep North American Sports Car fans informed.

It’s been a interesting past 3 races for myself and Starworks Motorsport. After Watkins Glen 6 hour we made a really tough decision, one that we had to make to challenge for the championship and switched to the BMW Dinan power plant.

Rolling into Indianapolis we had never turned a wheel with the new 4.5-liter BMW but we had full confidence in Dinan and the dream came true and we won at the Brickyard and opened up a 10 point lead in the drivers championship.

Unfortunately since then lady luck has abandoned us and after an uncharacteristic motor failure at Road America and crash at Kansas we find ourselves right in the middle of the closest Rolex Series points battle in its existence.

Ten drivers occupy the top six positions in the driver championship and only separated by 6 points. In all my years of racing I have never seen this. On one hand it’s awesome for the fans especially with the spotlight on us for the 2014 USCR season, but I would much rather still have that 10 point cushion.

Going into the final two races we are going to two tracks that have been great to both Starworks and myself over the years starting this weekend with Laguna Seca.

Many of you might remember my 2008 victory there making a 3 wide pass on Pruett and Goosssens going up the hill, then fending off an outside move from Goossens into the cork screw. Even though I am Marc’s good friend and teammate in the SRT Viper, he has still not forgiven me, so please ask him about it if you see him at the track. You may get to see Marc’s feisty side.

Switching to the BMW was not a simple out with the old and in with the new. We have had to work really hard as a team to make adjustments to bring our chassis balance back to how good it was post Indy.

But with every race we are getting stronger and our race pace in Road America and Kansas showed that. We had a really good short test last weekend, mainly as a shakedown but we did get a chance to try some things that I hope will help us at Laguna Seca.

Not only has Starworks come a long way in the past 3 seasons I really feel I have matured a lot. I remember battling with Pruett last year in the final two races and through the personal stress of only accepting winning, I hit the No. 10 car at Montreal, got damage and a penalty, ultimately ending our title charge.

Driving in WEC last season really helped me be patient and get that ‘Yes I can win Championships’ monkey off my back.

So I am approaching the final two races with one goal and that’s, hit everyone off track and not get a penalty for it…… no no that’s not what I meant to say.

What I meant to say was I am approaching them to get maximum points and do the best possible job I can to bring home this championship, not only for myself but mostly for my amazing team, crew members and my teammate Alex Popow who has worked his ass off to make this all possible this year.

So with that said I hope for a couple of things to happen this weekend:

*A better race start than Baltimore
*A better race finish than Baltimore
*The Starworks BMW to be quicker than the Corvettes
*Jordan Taylor to stop posting Vine videos of his facial expressions
*Jordan Taylor to shave his mullet off for charity
*IMSA to give us some details on 2014

Is that too much to ask?

Thanks everyone for all the support this year, it means a huge amount to me and I hope to see you all at the track soon!

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