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Grand Am GT3 - Segal Set To Close Championship Reign With Mid-Ohio Win

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LEXINGTON, September 16, 2011: Jeff Segal, co-driver Emil Assentato and the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT team will be looking to close-out their current reign as GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT champions in winning style this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where Segal and his teammates will have one final shot at a race victory this season in Saturday’s EMCO Gears Classic. The featured 2-3/4-hour timed EMCO Gears Classic sprint race can be seen live on SPEED this Saturday, September 17, at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT.

“I think we stand as good a chance at Mid Ohio as we do anywhere on the schedule,” said Segal, who won the 2010 GT Championship with Assentato and the No. 69 team. “The track does put an emphasis on momentum and agility, both of which are strong suits of the Mazda RX-8. We have had a brutal lean spell the last few races, so I'm confident that our entire team is hungry to close the year well. The short sprint races weren't so kind to us this year, so I'm also looking forward to returning to the two hour and forty-five minute length race. One race to go and we'll give it everything to end with a win.”

Segal has made it to victory lane several times this season – including season-best second place finishes in March’s Grand Prix of Miami and in July at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – but not on the top-center spot of the podium.

“It's all too easy to second guess decisions you've made throughout the year, but all in all I'm proud of our performances under the difficult circumstances this season,” Segal said. “We have been on the podium three times, and that’s a bit of an accomplishment on its own. Most teams would be thrilled with that, so it shows what a high level we hold ourselves to lately.”

Like most drivers in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, Segal enjoys racing at Mid-Ohio.

“Mid-Ohio is always fun for us, mostly because of the tight racing it seems to create each year,” Segal said. “The course layout is very challenging, and the mix of corners seems to often equalize the various strengths of the different models in GT. Turn one is very fast, and takes a lot of commitment to get it right without losing the car at the exit. The Keyhole is all about patience and finesse, and the sequence at the end of the back straight presents a great overtaking zone. The biggest challenge I find at Mid-Ohio is getting the car to put down the power over the many crests and off camber exits. If you can get the car to maintain grip as the track falls away, you're going to have a strong race car. If you struggle to perfect this, you've got a long race ahead!”

Segal has also had his fair share of positive moments and memories at Mid-Ohio.

“My first GRAND-AM pole position came at Mid-Ohio in 2006 with Automatic Racing in the GS-class BMW M3,” Segal said. “That was the weekend I decided I liked the place! Since then I've had mixed luck in the races, but it has always been a track I've felt comfortable with. I've been on the podium there before, and ideally we can return there this weekend.”