The 2006 Grand American Road Racing Championship (Grand Am) was the seventh season of the series. A business model which controlled costs, had stable rules and avoided being dependent on automotive manufacturers attracted many private teams. Based on the failure, of its predecessor, the United States Road Racing Championship in 1999 critics suggested that the Grand Am would suffer a similar fate. This was proving not to be the case as entries were continuing to grow with each year.

In the first season of Grand Am competition there were five classes but in 2005 the series had reduced the number to two categories:

  • Daytona Prototype (DP): This class was introduced in 2003 and was established to replace the two existing Sports Racing Prototype groups. To control costs, the cars used a tube frame chassis rather than the expensive composites used to construct most prototype race cars. Also, expenses were contained by limiting modifications and implementing rules that would be in place for five years. Approved to produce the first generation of Daytona Prototypes - for a cost of approximately $400,000 were: Riley Technologies, Doran Designs, Crawford Race Cars, Fabcar Engineering, Chase Competition Engineering, Picchio and Multimatic. Costs were also controlled by restricting the engines to production based motors supplied by Pontiac, Lexus, BMW, Porsche, Ford and Infiniti. Engine displacement was used to determine the weight of a car and whether a five or six-speed transmission could be utilized.
  • Grand Touring (GT): In 2004, there were two production-based classes: Grand Touring and Super Grand Sport which initially competed in the Grand Am Cup division. These two categories were combined into a single class in 2005. Participating in this group are manufacturers such as Porsche, BMW, Chevrolet, Mazda, Ferrari and Pontiac. As with the Daytona Prototypes, engine displacement was used to establish the weight of different makes and models.

As in the past, the season opened in January with the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway and ended in Utah at Miller Motorsports Park. In between these two venues, there were events at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Long Beach, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, Watkins Glen, Barber Motorsports Park, Mid-Ohio, Virginia International Raceway, Phoenix International Raceway and Infineon Raceway. There was a total of fifteen events with the series competing at Daytona and Watkins Glen twice.

Mid-Ohio was race ten of the fifteen rounds contested during the 2006 Grand-Am season. Forty-five entries started the EMCO Gears Classic around the 2.258-mile thirteen-turn road course.

The front row for the 2006 EMCO Gears Classic. On the pole is the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Crawford DP03 driven by Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller. Sharing the front row is the Gainsco Auto Insurance sponsored Riley MK XI shared by Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. The Job and Gainsco entries were fourth and fifth quickest in qualifying but penalties assessed to the three fastest car gave them first and second on the grid.
The No. 12 Pontiac-powered Riley MK XI was the third fastest car at the conclusion of qualifying. After the session, a technical inspection determined that the Riley was too wide and it was sent to the rear of the grid for the start. During the race drivers, Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfield moved through the field. A single stop strategy on lap-41 allowed them to take the lead late in the contest and hold on for the victory.
This is all that was left of the GT pole-winning Matt Connelly BMW M3 after an incident on lap-93. Joey Hand and Chris Gleason shared the M3. Hand was behind the wheel and went off track when he and Paul Edwards made contact while battling for the lead. The BMW hit a drainage ditch causing the car to flip multiple times and land on its roof. Hand suffered some injuries but was at the track the following day.
Robin Liddell was third in the GT class when the BMW of Joey Hand and Paul Edwards in the Pontiac GTO-R made contact. The incident allowed Liddell to slip into the lead and when officials ended the race under a caution, he and his teammate, Wolf Henzler were assured of the win. They were victorious in the previous round at Watkins Glen Ė this marked the third time they were first in class at the checkered flag.
The penalty imposed on the three fastest qualifiers moved the No. 23 Alex Job entry to the top of the grid. Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller shared the Porsche-powered Crawford DP03 and were originally scheduled to start fourth. Unfortunately, they encountered an electrical issue which caused the battery to go flat. The pair dropped down the order and finished thirty-fourth overall and twentieth in class.
Paul Edwards was second in the GT category as the race drew to a conclusion. Edwards was battling with the class-leading BMW of Joey Hand when the two made contact on the back straight. He slowed when Handís car when end-over-end allowing third-place Robin Liddell to take the lead. Edwards maintained his position allowing him and his teammate, Kelly Collins to finish second.
Benefitting from a post-qualifying technical inspection, was the Bob Stalling entry which moved from fifth to second on the starting grid. The No. 99 Pontiac-powered Riley MK XI was raced by Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. Fogarty moved into the lead on lap-41 and led for thirty circuits before he pitted for fuel and surrendered the lead the Fernandez entry. He and Gurney would grab the final spot on the class podium.
Eighteen Grand Touring cars line-up behind the Daytona Prototypes. The fastest qualifier was Joey Hand in the No. 21 Matt Connelly BMW M3 which he shared with Chris Gleason. Beside Hand are the winners of the previous round at Watkins Glen, Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler. Behind the front row is the second Tafel Racing entry driven Andrew Davis and Jim Tafel and the Corvette of Leighton Reese and Tim Gaffney.
The No. 76 Krohn Racing Riley MK XI was one of the three entries that failed the post-qualifying technical inspection - the team was moved from the pole position to twenty-fifth. The car was driven by Colin Braun and Jorg Bergmeister. As was the case with the winning Fernandez team, they overcame the penalty and moved through the field and were second overall and in class at the checkered flag.
Eddie Cheeverís Porsche-powered Crawford DP03 was raced by Christian Fittipaldi and Hoover Orsi. When the penalties had been handed out after qualifying, Fittipaldi and Orsi found themselves third on the grid. During the race, Orsi was involved in an incident with Burt Frisselle, driving the Synergy Racing Doran JE4. The duo finished nineteenth in the Daytona Prototype category and thirty-second overall.
The Chip Ganassi entry was the third car deemed to be too wide and put to the rear of the Daytona Prototype field. Driven by Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, the Lexus-powered Riley was originally scheduled to start second. It would only get worse for the usually very competitive duo. Pruett was sixth when he was an innocent bystander in an incident between the Cheever and Synergy Racing entries. He and Diaz finished thirty-sixth.
Tafel Racing entered two very quick Porsche GT Cup cars. The No. 73 was shared by Andrew Davis and team principal, Jim Tafel. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, they qualified third in the Grand Touring category and thirtieth overall. Their best finish to date was a fifth in class at Mexico City. This weekend would be their worst result of the 2006 season as, after only four laps, they were the first team to retire.
The second The Racerís Group Pontiac GTO-R was driven by Marc Bunting, R.J. Valentine and Andy Lally. The trio teamed up to win the rounds at Virginia International Raceway and Lime Rock Park. They started the EMCO Gears 200 thirty-second overall and fifth in class. A poorly timed pit-stop caused the team to lose a lap but they still managed to finish third in class and retain the points lead.

POS.CLASSDRIVERSCARLAPSRETIREMENTS
1DPFernandez / HaberfeldRiley Mk XI Pontiac99-
2DPBergmeister / BraunRiley Mk XI Ford99-
3DPGurney / FogartyRiley Mk XI Pontiac99-
4DPTaylor / Angelelli / Briscoe / MagnussenRiley Mk XI Pontiac99-
5DPWallace / LeitzingerCrawford DP03 Pontiac99-
6DPDalziel / FiggeRiley Mk XI Pontiac99-
7DPNegri / PattersonRiley Mk XI Lexus99-
8DPDonohue / LawFabcar FDSC/03 Porsche99-
9DPBorkowski / ConstantineRiley Mk XI Lexus99-
10DPValiante / FinlayCrawford DP03 Ford99-
11DPFrance / HaywoodFabcar FDSC/03 Porsche99-
12DPRuhlman / BinghamRiley Mk XI Pontiac99-
13DPBorcheller / BrixDoran JE4 Ford98-
14DPDrissi / GentilozziCrawford DP03 Ford98-
15DPKrohn / JonssonRiley Mk XI Ford98-
16DPMorgan / MorganRiley Mk XI Porsche97-
17DPLewis / StantonRiley Mk XI BMW96-
18GTHenzler / LiddellPorsche GT3 Cup96-
19GTEdwards / CollinsPontiac GTO.R96-
20GTLally / Bunting / ValentinePontiac GTO.R95-
21DPDuno / BerettaRiley Mk XI Pontiac94-
22GTLacey / WilkinsPorsche GT3 Cup94-
23GTGaffney / ReeseChevrolet Corvette94-
24GTMurry / KeenPorsche GT3 Cup94-
25GTGleason / HandBMW M393Accident
26GTValentine / ZachariasPorsche GT3 Cup93-
27GTLux / JamesPorsche GT3 Cup93-
28GTBeachman / FitzgeraldChevrolet Corvette92-
29GTWorkman / ArnoldChevrolet Corvette91-
30GTLevitas / Pumpelly / AngelonePorsche GT3 Cup90-
31GTToussaint / ConnollyBMW M389-
32DPFittipaldi / OrsiCrawford DP03 Porsche89-
33GTMacLeod / SigalBMW M388-
34DPLong / RockenfellerCrawford DP03 Porsche88-
35GTHupfer / McKenziePorsche GT3 Cup88-
36DPPruett / DiazRiley Mk XI Lexus85-
37DPFrisselle / FrisselleDoran JE4 Porsche83-
38GTAuberlen / AlhadeffBMW M380-
39DPGidley / McDowellCrawford DP03 Ford70Did Not Finish
40DPGoad / CamirandCrawford DP03 Pontiac69Did Not Finish
41DPCummins / AveRiley Mk XI Pontiac57Did Not Finish
42GTNearn / JohnsonPorsche GT3 Cup38Did Not Finish
43GTBaas / Pumpelly / PobstPorsche GT3 Cup25Did Not Finish
44DPTuttle / CochetRiley Mk XI Pontiac25Did Not Finish
45GTDavis / TafelPorsche GT3 Cup4Did Not Finish


Copyright Notice:
All content (photographs and text) appearing on this website are the exclusive property of © www.zoompics.com and are protected under International copyright laws. The subject matter on this website may not be reproduced, copied, stored or manipulated.

© Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017

Return to home page.