Grand-Am heads for its final three races of the season starting this weekend in Montreal, the Rolex Series' third straight two-hour race.
The last two sprints have seen Starworks Motorsport take successive victories, but their quest for a three-peat will be their hardest task yet. Alex Popow (LEFT), who co-drove to victory at Indianapolis with Sebastien Bourdais, will start in the team's No. 2 Riley Ford, then fly directly to Elkhart Lake's Road America for additional duties in the ALMS race later in the afternoon. There's a three-hour time difference between the Rolex (11:15 a.m. ET) and ALMS starts (2:30 p.m. ET), as Popow will cover the roughly 900 miles in between the two in that gap.
Popow's Rolex co-driver is Alex Tagliani, the IndyCar racer who'll be the busiest driver on site in Montreal. Tagliani, a several-time Rolex GT starter, will race in both Starworks DPs. He'll start in the No. 8 car with Ryan Dalziel, then replace Popow in the No. 2 after his first stint. Tagliani also will be racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race for Turner Motorsports.
Dalziel is six points back, and Popow 21, of the Daytona Prototype class standings leaders Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. Dalziel closed that gap with his and Lucas Luhr's win last weekend at Watkins Glen, although the Pruett/Rojas pair earned their seventh podium in 10 starts last race.
Action Express' No. 5 and Spirit of Daytona's No. 90 Corvette DPs are also getting Canadian guest stars in their cars. Paul Tracy, a four-time DP starter this season, will have his first chance in a new third-gen DP after previous starts occurred the second-gen Dallara Ford for Doran Racing. He'll co-drive with David Donohue. Michael Valiante, a three-time starter this year, is back at SoD with Richard Westbrook for the first time since Mid-Ohio, when they won.
Elsewhere, defending Montreal winners GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing seeks its elusive first win of the year – the Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty No. 99 Corvette is the only one of the full-season teams without one this year. Sister Corvettes from Action Express (No. 9, Darren Law, Joao Barbosa) and SunTrust (Ricky Taylor, Max Angelelli) each go for their third wins of 2012. Rolex 24 winners Michael Shank Racing again round out the DP class with its Riley Ford.
GT has its smallest contingent of the year, just 12 cars, all full-season entrants, going to Canada. AIM Autosport Team FXDD's lead shrunk from 26 points to 16 entering Montreal, after Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato finished seventh at Watkins Glen following first lap contact with the Stevenson Camaro. Turner BMW won with Paul Dalla Lana and Bill Auberlen, and this weekend, Dalla Lana partners Billy Johnson in the No. 94 M3 as Auberlen's got one of several conflicts in GT.
Dempsey Racing's No. 40 has Tom Long and Scott Maxwell on board – as they were at New Jersey in May – while Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster are at Elkhart Lake. The rest of the field (sister Dempsey Mazda, two Sahlen's and one SpeedSource Mazda, Stevenson Camaro, Marsh Corvette, APR Audi, Magnus and Brumos Porsches) remains the same as at Watkins Glen.
The Rolex Series Montreal 200 airs on a same-day tape delay at 7 p.m. Eastern on SPEED.