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Grand Am GT - Segal, Assentato And Cosmo Ready For The Glen

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WATKINS GLEN, June 3, 2011: Jeff Segal and co-driver Emil Assentato will be looking to close out the opening half of the 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season with a rebound victory in Saturday’s 39th Annual Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen after a rough outing in the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT this past Monday at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

Round six of this year’s 12-race Rolex Series schedule, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen starts at 1 p.m. ET and will air in same-day coverage starting at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT, this Saturday, June 4.

Segal and Assentato, co-driving that weekend with Nick Longhi, won the 2008 Sahlen’s Six Hours from the pole, the first major victory for the drivers and the No. 69 FXDD team.

“Watkins Glen has always been pretty good to me,” Segal said. “I have always felt good when we get there and our Mazda generally works pretty well there. I am pretty excited going there.”

Segal is even happier about heading to a track on which he has seen some success after a tough day in Monday’s race. Assentato was pushed off course in the first two corners of the opening race lap and joined Segal and the rest of the team in having to claw back through the field all day long in the No. 69 Mazda that was definitely on pace despite the incident. The end result was a hard-earned 10th place finish and the valuable championship points that go with it.

Lime Rock’s issues aside, the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT team ranks seventh in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT Team Championship standings with 120 points heading to Watkins Glen. They are just eight points behind the third-place team and only 21 points shy of first place.

The tight Lime Rock to Watkins Glen stretch is the year’s first of two back-to-back weekends of racing, but that is about all the tracks have in common.

In some ways, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen couldn’t be more different,” Segal said. “Lime Rock is a bit of a bullring and Watkins Glen is a little more open and flowing, but they both have really fast corners that demand the same sort of attitude from the car. It’s encouraging how good the car was at Lime Rock. We have been trying a lot of stuff all year, we have kind of been knocking on it, and I think now we have found a good path to go down. Hopefully it will work well for the six hour.”

Segal and Assentato will be joined this weekend by winning GRAND-AM Road Racing driver Guy Cosmo.

“Guy was sort of involved early on in the Mazda program, he tested the 69 car once or twice early on,” Segal said. “That was a long time ago, and two cars ago, but he should be sort of familiar with the car and Watkins Glen is his home track, so I know he’s good there. He’s relevant in GRAND-AM and he goes fast in every car he gets in.”

The initial victory at The Glen in 2008 kicked off a competitive run for Segal that has culminated, so far, with the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT Team and Driver Championships with Assentato and the No. 69 FXDD crew. Segal will always remember that weekend but other Watkins Glen victories are also top of mind.

“You never forget that but we have had some really memorable races since then,” Segal said. “I think the next year in the Watkins Glen short course race in August, that race was definitely a lot more memorable to me. We did the six hour right and there was no drama, so when you do that, it’s perfect, but not very exciting. In that race I had Dirk Werner breathing down my neck and was able to hold him off for the win.”