Doran Racing hopes to build on its momentum at Laguna Saturday
Ohio-based team finished on the podium at this event last year.
There are 61 entries in a very competitive field, but Doran Racing has to be considered a top contender in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Lebanon, Ohio-based team finished on the podium at this event last year, and it was also on the podium at the most recent race March 14 in Sebring, Fla.
Brad Jaeger and B.J. Zacharias, drivers of the team's No. 14 Nissan NISMO 370Z, will try to keep that momentum going. Meanwhile, John Farano and David Empringham, who co-drive the team's No. 41 Tower Events Nissan 370Z, will try to get the great results they deserve. Although they finished a solid ninth at Sebring, they also experienced some bad luck in the very early stages of the season.
"The whole team and I are really looking forward to the race at Laguna Seca this year," said Jaeger, of Charlottesville, Va. "We have the momentum coming off a podium finish at Sebring, and we're heading to a track where the Nissan 370Z really shines! Its light weight really helps with the brake zones and high-speed corners. We finished third there last year, and everyone is looking to improve upon that finish this year.
"Laguna Seca is definitely one of my favorite tracks to drive," he added. "It's a very smooth and flowing circuit, where small improvements in your driving can lead to a huge advantage. With its mixture of heavy brake zones, fast corners and changes in elevation, it's always a track I look forward to."
"The team is coming off a solid performance at Sebring. Although I would like to think we could build momentum, the break has been so long it's almost as everyone is starting fresh," said Zacharias, of Cincinnati.
"Both cars ran well, although the 41 had an unfortunate incident. They battled back and grabbed a solid top 10. So having both cars finish well really was a boost for the crew and guys in the shop.
"Brad and I finished third at Laguna just six months ago. We crossed the line in fourth, but were awarded third after a BMW failed to serve a penalty.
"I would say that the time to build momentum is now," Zacharias concluded. "The series has a string of races where there isn't much time in between events. At this point we have already had our one throw-away at Daytona, so it's going to be tough for sure."
Empringham can't wait for the race. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is his favorite circuit on the schedule.
"It's been a long break in the action and I can't wait for Monterey," said Empringham, who like Farano hails from Toronto, Ontario. "Laguna Seca is my favorite circuit on the schedule and a track that I generally do well on. John and I haven't had the best of luck in the first two events, so we are certainly hoping to turn things around. The combination of Doran Racing and the Nissan 370 is a good package. I certainly feel that John and I have a very good shot at a podium for our third race at Laguna Seca."
Saturday's race, part of the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda, is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Eastern time after the Grand Sport teams qualify at 7:40 p.m. Eastern time on Friday.
May is Military Appreciation Month, and the track is letting all active military personnel in free on Saturday.
"I think it is great that the track is welcoming our nation's active members of the military to the event, and I hope we can put on a great show for them to enjoy with their families," Jaeger said. "My grandfather was on a submarine in World War II. He was stationed mostly in the South Pacific."
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Doran Racing's Nissans to start tenth and 14th in very tight field at Laguna Seca