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.

The event a Watkins Glen International began with controversy. An injunction granted to Krohn Racing and driver Colin Braun by the New York State Supreme Court cancelled Thursday's Daytona Prototype practice sessions. The issue was a contract between the Indy Racing League (IRL) and Watkins Glen International, which prohibited competitors under 18-years old from competing in any on-track activities at the same racing facility and on the same weekend as an IRL event. It was mandated that a minor is not allowed to race at the facility when it is sponsored by a tobacco company. One of the IRL’s high profile teams, Penske Racing, was sponsored by Marlboro cigarettes. Krohn Racing employed 17-year old Colin Braun as a driver.

With the prospect of Grand Am teams not being allowed to race until Monday, team principal, Tracy Krohn decided to drop the case and the event was able to continue with some adjustments to the schedule.

As so much track time was lost during the injunction, officials decided to cancel the qualifying session and set the grid by points. This meant the points leaders, Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz driving the Chip Ganassi Racing Riley started on the pole. Joining them on the front row was Playboy/Uniden Racing Crawford DP03 shared by Michael McDowell, Memo Gidley and Guy Cosmo. A total of forty-six entries started the race.
If practice times had determined the grid, the Alex Job Racing Crawford would have been on the pole and the Ganassi entry would have started ninth. However, Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz were fortunate to have the grid set by points and started first. On this weekend, Diaz and, the 2004 Daytona Prototype champion, Pruett could not match the pace of the leaders and finished one lap behind the winners in seventh.
Starting second in the GT category were Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler. Liddell recorded the fastest time in the evening practice session. It was a difficult race with the changing weather conditions but the duo decided to stay on the dry tires. The strategy paid off and Liddell and Henzler won their second event of the season (the first was at Laguna Seca). They were now within ten-points of the class leaders.
Entering Watkins Glen, the Grand Touring point’s leaders were Marc Bunting and Andy Lally. As a result, the No. 65 The Racer’s Group Pontiac GTO-R started on the class pole. Under challenging circumstances, they were no match for the Tafel Racing and TPC Racing teams. At the checkered flag, they finished twenty-fifth overall and fourth in class – but retained the points lead.
With the injunction lifted, Tracy Krohn had to fill the seat vacated by Colin Braun. The choice was pair Boris Said with the team’s regular driver, Jorg Bergmeister. The pair started fourth in the Ford-powered Riley MK XI. Bergmeister drove most of the race and moved into the lead for the final time when the Gainsco entry pitted for fuel on lap-21. This was his first victory of the season and gave him the points lead.
Michael Levitas’s TPC Racing team won the opening round at Daytona International Speedway. Driving the No. 36 Porsche GT3 Cup at Watkins Glen were Randy Pobst and Ian Baas. Early in the race, the team battled for the lead with the Tafel Racing entry driven, Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler. At the end of six hours, they had fallen a lap behind the Tafel Porsche and finished second in Grand Touring and twentieth overall.
The Gainsco/Blackhawk Racing Riley MK XI driven by Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and team owner, Bob Stallings started seventh. Early in the race, there was contact with another competitor and the trio lost a lap when the crew replaced the nose. Despite this setback, the team clawed their way into contention and led forty-five laps. A late race pit-stop removed them from the lead and they finished 3.495-seconds behind the winners.
The second, The Racer’s Group Pontiac GTO-R started twenty-eighth overall and third in class. Driving the No. 64 Pontiac were Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins. This duo had the most victories to date (three-wins – Mexico City, Homestead-Miami and Phoenix) but some poor results prevented them from leading the points. At Watkins Glen, they finished two laps behind the class winners in third place.
Driving the No. 10 Riley MK XI were Max Angelelli, Ryan Briscoe and team principal, Wayne Taylor. The highlight for the team thus far had been a victory a Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca when Jan Magnussen co-drove rather than Briscoe. The team’s points to date gave them the third starting position. The trio remained in contention during the six-hours and Angelelli battled with Gurney for second – he fell short by 0.045-seconds.
The Riley MK XI dominated the Daytona Prototype category at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen – capturing the top four positions. The ‘best of the rest’ was the Pontiac-powered Crawford DP03 shared by Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger. The Howard Boss Motorsports Crawford started in the tenth grid position and finished fifth.
The top three Daytona Prototype finishers at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen gather in the press room for questions from the media. To the left are the third-place finishers from SunTrust Racing – Wayne Taylor, Ryan Briscoe and Max Angelelli. And, on the right is the duo from Gainsco Racing – Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. In the center, victorious for the first time in 2006 are Jorg Bergmeister and Boris Said.

1DPBergmeister / SaidRiley Mk XI Pontiac154-
2DPGurney / Stallings / FogartyRiley Mk XI Pontiac154-
3DPTaylor / Angelelli / BriscoeRiley Mk XI Pontiac154-
4DPNegri / PattersonRiley Mk XI Lexus154-
5DPWallace / LeitzingerCrawford DP03 Pontiac154-
6DPGidley / McDowell / CosmoCrawford DP03 Ford153-
7DPPruett / DiazRiley Mk XI Lexus153-
8DPBorcheller / BrixDoran JE4 Ford153-
9DPFrisselle / Frisselle / UnserDoran JE4 Porsche153-
10DPDalziel / FiggeRiley Mk XI Pontiac153-
11DPGoossens / Duno / JohanssonRiley Mk XI Pontiac152-
12DPValiante / Finlay / CosmoCrawford DP03 Ford152-
13DPFittipaldi / Cheever, Jr. / OrsiCrawford DP03 Porsche152-
14DPMears, Jr. / Borkowski / ConstantineRiley Mk XI Lexus152-
15DPLong / RockenfellerCrawford DP03 Porsche151-
16DPKrohn / JonssonRiley Mk XI Ford150-
17DPDonohue / LawFabcar FDSC/03 Porsche149-
18DPRuhlman / GuenetteRiley Mk XI Pontiac149-
19GTHenzler / LiddellPorsche GT3 Cup149-
20GTPobst / BaasPorsche GT3 Cup148-
21DPTuttle / MacLeodRiley Mk XI Pontiac147-
22DPZacharias / KuttnerDoran JE4 Pontiac147-
23DPLewis / StantonRiley Mk XI BMW147-
24GTEdwards / Collins / PilgrimPontiac GTO.R147-
25GTLally / Bunting / ValentinePontiac GTO.R147-
26GTMurry / KeenPorsche GT3 Cup147-
27GTPace / LowePorsche GT3 Cup146-
28GTDumoulin / Longhi / AssentatoPorsche GT3 Cup146-
29GTDavis / TafelPorsche GT3 Cup146-
30GTLux / EspenlaubPorsche GT3 Cup145-
31GTLacey / Wilkins / WilkinsPorsche GT3 Cup144-
32GTNearn / Thornton / JohnsonPorsche GT3 Cup144-
33GTConnolly / SchultzBMW M3140-
34DPFernandez / HaberfeldRiley Mk XI Pontiac139-
35GTMichaelian / Sahlen / FrostPorsche GT3 Cup133-
36GTSolley / Kroczek / MardenPorsche GT3 Cup131-
37GTGaffney / Reese / TolsmaChevrolet Corvette107-
38GTDeFontes / Baughman / YeakleChevrolet Corvette75Did Not Finish
39GTMacLeod / SigalBMW M375Did Not Finish
40DPFrance / Christopher / HaywoodFabcar FDSC/03 Porsche70Did Not Finish
41GTAuberlen / Alhadeff / HandBMW M362Did Not Finish
42GTO'Connell / Speakman / BowlesPorsche GT3 Cup55Did Not Finish
43DPGoad / GregoireCrawford DP03 Pontiac27Did Not Finish
44DPDyson / Dyson / SmithCrawford DP03 Pontiac20Did Not Finish
45GTRice / Riggins / Cicero IIChevrolet Corvette18Did Not Finish
46GTPumpelly / AngelonePorsche GT3 Cup5Did Not Finish

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