The Fitzgerald Chronicles: Mid Ohio (Grand Am Cup and Rolex)
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The GT Race
The Rolex event was later that night. It was a 5:30pm start, but darkness wasn't an issue because the race was scheduled to end at 8:15pm and it was light out until after 9pm. I started the race since I qualified. Our plan was for Bruce to drive the middle section and for me to finish up.

The paperwork snafu that had us starting from the back was compounded by the annoying rule that prohibits passing prior to the start finish line. To make matters worse there was a really irritating Porsche that weaved back and forth across the track in order to protect nineteenth position with two hours and forty minutes remaining in the race.
I finally got past him, but with his assistance I had only passed a few cars by the time the first full course caution arrived at about the twenty minute mark. Since I was still very near the back of the field I came in and got fuel, which put me back at the rear again.

Shortly after the restart I came up behind the Porsche again, who was still driving like it was the final lap of the Grand Prix of Monaco. Once dispatched, the rest of the drivers were more reasonable and we moved up the order quickly.

The next yellow arrived at the one hour and ten minute mark. We took advantage and made our driver change. Bruce took over the controls and we took right side tires and fuel. Once we got Bruce underway we were in seventh position and one of only seven cars still on the lead lap in GT.

Bruce's stint went off without a hitch and toward the end he ran some good lap times, especially considering his lack of experience at Mid-Ohio. With a little less than one hour remaining another full course caution came out and we pitted for fuel, left side tires and a driver change.

I'm not really sure what our position was at this point, but there were a few more cars on the same lap as us, so I just put my head down and did what I could. We didn't have very good radio reception so I spent most of the last stint in the dark as to our situation.

With about five laps left in the race I saw a group of GT cars in my rear view mirror. They looked like the cars that I expected would be leading the GT class. The first one in line appeared to be one of the TRG Pontiacs and since we were a few laps down at this point I really just wanted to keep from getting in the middle of the battle for the lead.

As I approached the keyhole I broke a little early and moved over to let the Pontiac through. In my mirror I also saw a BMW come diving in behind him. I ran wide around the outside of the keyhole and left a lane, but I think the momentum from braking so late pushed the BMW wide and he proceeded to drive right through the rear of my car so as not to upset his momentum. It did hurt my momentum, however, because the impact spun me around and I had to sit and wait for everyone to go past before I could reenter.

I don't really know whether or not it cost us any spots because I didn't really know where we were at the time, but I later found out that the TRG Pontiac was actually the TRG Porsche with the same paint scheme - hopefully not for position, since I moved over and ushered him through.

The next lap as I came down the back straight I came up on the end of what looked like a horrific crash. The same BMW that had punted me was on its roof minus almost everything on the car but the roll cage. Apparently, he had gotten nudged from behind, sent into the grass and hit the access road, which flipped him eight or ten times. The track had been recently repaved and when they did the repaving they just added asphalt on top of what was there, but left the grass alone, which created a six to eight inch cliff all the way around the track, including the access road. From what I have heard, the driver was okay.

The race ended under caution and we finished Tenth. Considering that we were running an older car and we had to start in the back, the team was very pleased with the result. The car had a 19
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