August 17th will be a first time for the Grand Am Rolex series will compete at Kansas Speedway. The speedway closed down last year for a period and created a new “Roval” layout which incorporates six turn road course in the infield and then exiting onto the outer 1.5 mile banked oval portion to complete the 2.35 mile lap. This will be the 3rd new track for Grand Am this year, after a trip to Circuit of the Americas in Texas and Road Atlanta in Georgia. Grand Am has seen visits to other “Roval” type courses with appearances at Daytona, Indianapolis and even Iowa Speedway several years back. Being a native of Kansas I am interested to see if this venue will stay on the calendar as tracks compete for races next year after the ALMS and Grand Am become United Sports car.
This event comes right on the heels of the combined Grand Am/ALMS event just last weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin. The Grand Am Rolex DP championship points were shaken up last week as mechanical failures took the point’s leader out of the race, and a late race caution. The #42 Sahlens car surprises many with pole being taken by Dane Cameron. The #42 led much of the early parts of the race until a drive line issue ended the race for the team. Starworks Motorsport’s Brendan Hartley claimed the DP win and shared the podium with both of the Action Express Racing cars with the number 5 and number 9 in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Will Kansas be a chance for Wayne Taylor Racing to finally get some luck and show what Max Angelelli and Taylor’s son can do, or can Pruett and Rojas, leverage the power of the new smaller Dinan powered BMW V8?
The GT field will be another hard fought battle, Carmaros, Ferraris, BMW’s and Magnus Racing Porsche are bound to put on a great show. Will the aerodynamics of the Porsche provide a benefit over the mid-engine handling of the Ferrari’s or will the speed of the Camaro again show its strength here in the center of the country. It is hard to count out the Turner squad, the Turner team gambled and ran it to the wire on fuel at Elkhart Lake, the gamble paid off for another check in the win column. Will another strategy call make a difference of who sits on the podium, without much experience here in Kansas, it’s tough to predict.
One thing we do know, the competitors will bring their best, and we will see who can adapt to a new surface, new track and new location. The weather is supposed to be great for the Midwest, warm and reasonably cool. Here is to watching some great racing at a new another venue.