The 2007 Grand American Road Racing Championship (Grand Am) was in its eighth season. A business model which controlled costs, had stable rules and avoided being on dependent of 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 held at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, Watkins Glen, Barber Motorsports Park, Mid-Ohio, Virginia International Raceway, Montreal, Iowa and Infineon Raceway. New for this season were Montreal and Iowa and gone from the schedule was Long Beach and Phoenix International Raceway. There was a total of fifteen events with the series competing at Daytona and Watkins Glen twice.

Round four of the 2007 Grand American Road Racing Championship was conducted at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Competitors in the Daytona Prototype and Grand Touring categories would compete in separate races. This was the third of five weekends in 2007 where the two classes would not be combined. Each race was scheduled for two-hours, thirty-minutes around the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile road course.

For the first time this season it was an all Pontiac front row in the Grand Touring category. Kelly Collins was driving the No. 07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R and waited until the end of the qualifying session to record the fastest lap and grab the pole position. Starting on the outside of the front row would be the second Banner Engineering entry qualified by Leighton Reese. Reese was just 0.222-seconds slower than Collins.
R.J. Valentine qualified the No. 66 The Racers Group Porsche GT3 Cup twenty-second in a field of twenty-four starters. Sharing the Porsche will Valentine was Andy Lally. During the first caution, the team took the opportunity to replace Valentine with Lally. By lap-61, Lally was in the lead and opened a comfortable gap before a full course yellow. He led the remainder of the contest and earned his third victory in the last four events.
In the previous round at Watkins Glen International, the SpeedSource team had an accident which severely damaged the No. 70 Mazda RX-8. The car was rebuilt in two-weeks and back on track at Mid-Ohio. The crew’s efforts paid-off as Nick Ham was third fastest in qualifying. During the race, Ham and team principal, Sylvain Tremblay led a total of twelve laps. Tremblay drove the final stint and challenged the leader Andy Lally but finished second.
Kelly Collins qualified the No. 07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R and set a new lap record while winning the pole position. Sharing the Pontiac with Collins was Paul Edwards. During the first half of the race, they were with the lead pack, but a poorly timed pit-stop dropped them to sixteenth place. Despite a clutch problem, they moved through the field and finished third – earning their fourth podium of the season.
At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Blackforest Motorsports USG Sheetrock/Guardian Insulation team delivered their best result of the season. Sharing the Ford Mustang GT were Ian James and Tom Nastasi. Nastasi stared in the eighth position on the grid and was able to stay with the leaders. Midway through the race, James took over the driving and despite an extra pit-stop and a spin, the pair finished fourth.
An off-course excursion at turn-nine during practice didn’t appear to hinder the performance of the No. 74 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup. Drivers, Eric Lux and Wolf Henzler, were gridded eleventh for the start of the race. Lux drove first and maintained contact with the lead pack. With Henzler behind the wheel, the Porsche moved up the race order. A pass by Henzler on the No. 06 Pontiac late in the contest resulted in a fifth-place finish.
The combo of Leighton Reece and Tim Lewis, Jr. were victorious in round eight at Lime Rock Park. Reece was second fastest during the qualifying session at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Driving the No. 06 Banner Engineering sponsored Pontiac GXP.R the duo led a total of twenty-three-laps. Reece was driving when; he lost the lead to the eventual race winner, Andy Lally. The team fell off the pace and finished sixth.
As expected, the local drivers from Team Sahlen faired quite well. The father and son duo of Joe and Wayne Nonnamaker shared the No. 43 Chevrolet Corvette. In the qualifying session, the Corvette was fourteenth fastest. A solid performance by the drivers and an excellent race strategy moved them up the lap chart. At the checkered flag, they were in seventh place tying the team’s best result to date.
In the center are the Grand Touring class winners of the Emco Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Andy Lally and R.J. Valentine. The duo passed a total of twenty-two cars to win their third race of the season. To their left are the runner-up’s from SpeedSource, Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay. Completing the rostrum are the pole-sitters and Banner Engineering drivers, Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards.

1GTLally / ValentinePorsche GT3 Cup94-
2GTTremblay / HamMazda RX-894-
3GTEdwards / CollinsPontiac GXP.R94-
4GTNastasi / JamesFord Mustang Cobra GT94-
5GTLux / HenzlerPorsche GT3 Cup94-
6GTReese / Lewis, Jr.Pontiac GXP.R94-
7GTNonnamaker / NonnamakerChevrolet Corvette94-
8GTSwartzbaugh / DavisPorsche GT3 Cup94-
9GTZacharias / RobichaudPorsche GT3 Cup94-
10GTWilkins / LaceyPorsche GT3 Cup94-
11GTde Quesada / DumoulinPorsche GT3 Cup94-
12GTMiller / WernerPorsche GT3 Cup93-
13GTBunting / Cicero IIChevrolet Corvette93-
14GTBeachman / FitzgeraldChevrolet Corvette91-
15GTGreenberg / PumpellyPorsche GT3 Cup79-
16GTSmith / DiLeoPorsche GT3 Cup77Did Not Finish
17GTBaas / WhitePorsche GT3 Cup67Did Not Finish
18GTConnolly / Prewitt / PricePontiac GTO66Did Not Finish
19GTAssentato / LonghiMazda RX-857Did Not Finish
20GTCurran / HoltomChevrolet Corvette52Did Not Finish
21GTSahlen / NonnamakerChevrolet Corvette46Did Not Finish
22GTDiMeo / DoanePontiac GTO39Did Not Finish
23GTConstantine / Borkowski / MurryNissan 350Z26Suspension
24GTGrant / Grant / GrantPorsche GT3 Cup19Did Not Finish

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