TEAM NEWS: Short on Fuel, AIM Autosport Slips From Top Five Finish

Photo by John Thawley AIM Autosport was poised for a top-five finish in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, but a shortage of fuel left the Canadian team just shy of the mark. With more than 2.5 hours of the six-hour race run under caution, fuel management was a critical strategy component. AIM's engineers capably paced the team from 11th to fourth, but needed a few more caution laps to hold the position.

Burt Frisselle of Lynchburg, Va., drove the first double race stint, starting the No. 61 Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI from 11th on the 46-car grid. He quickly moved to fourth, but dropped back after locking the car's rear wheels and sliding off track. He pitted from eighth place and handed off to Brian Frisselle, who completed his double stint sixth. Mark Wilkins of Toronto drove the final double, moving to fourth before he was forced to return to pit lane for a final splash of fuel. The trio finished 14th.

Doncaster Racing posted a solid ninth-place finish in the No. 17 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Greg Wilkins of Toronto started 17th on the GT grid and moved to fourth during his double stint. Tom Papadopolous of East Hills, N.Y., drove next, moving to second as he maximized the car's fuel. Robert Julien of Gulfstream, Fla., took the third shift, holding a top-10 class position despite extra pitstops for a water problem. Wilkins returned for the final stint, gaining one place to finish ninth.

Brian Frisselle: "Overall, it was a bit of a disappointing race. The Exchange Traded Gold car was quick and had a good overall pace. We weren't the fastest car out there, but we were consistent. We were running in the top six most of the day. We thought we could make it to the end, but we couldn't, so we'll have to look into why we couldn't. But overall, it was a good effort; it just came up a little short."

Burt Frisselle: "These guys gave us a great race car. It doesn't show on the scoreboard, but we were there all day, battling at the front. We just came up a little short on our fuel number at the end. The cockpit temperature was so good, the double-stinting was no big deal. I felt like I could have even stayed in for another stint. It just gets us into a good flow and that way we're on pace the whole time. It's easier than having the confusion of multiple driver changes. The bummer is that I wanted to get back in and it wasn't in the cards."

Mark Wilkins: "We suffered from a bit of a fuel pickup problem and it just hurt us. I'd be on throttle and the engine would start to cut slowly; it was almost like traction control at high speed. There's not much you can do when you lose that much time. The AIM guys did a great job. The car was the best it has been, so I commend them on that. I think we would have had a really strong finish without the fuel problem. Our next race is Mid-Ohio and I'm confident after our test [last week] that we'll have something for everyone there."

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