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Bill Oursler on the man behind the curtain

  It takes courage to admit you’re wrong. Yet, the Grand Am’s Roger Edmondson
did exactly that during the Phoenix Rolex weekend following a multi car crash in a
preliminary race that damaging a good portion of his prototype field, when he
announced he had made a mistake in introducing a system of qualifying races for
the Rolex championship. The Grand Am president said that it had not been one of
his better ideas and therefore, it would be cancelled forthwith; period, end of story.

  In many ways, Edmondson, the former boss of the American Motorcycle
Association before coming on board with the Grand Am, has been something of a
shadowy figure. A position more a function of working in an environment controlled
by NASCAR’s famed France family, who, led in this case by Jim France, has been
the driving force behind the Grand Am. Yet, at Phoenix, Edmondson came out of
those shadows in impressive fashion, and in doing so gave everyone hope for the
future of the sport in North America.

The game to play…
  Unlike so many others in the motor sport industry, Edmondson’s passion for his
cause, in this case the often criticized “NASCARized” concept that is the Grand Am
and its Rolex tour, is tempered by a reality – a pragmatism, if you will, that just
because one has the power, one is not always correct in how it is exercised. In
short, it is the one’s objectives, not one’s ego that counts.

  In this posture, Edmondson is joined by his counterparts at the American Le
Mans Series, Scott Atherton and Tim Mayer, who in the face of sometimes strong
opposition from the folks at la Sarthe, have forged a degree of independence
which bodes well for the future of the ALMS, and a certain independence that is
based around a “performance balancing” formula that will permit Atherton and
Mayer to restrict any entry they feel has too great of an edge on its rivals. Like
Edmondson, that displays a great deal of courage on the part of Mess. Atherton
and Mayer. This is particularly so in light of the fact that those restrictions will hurt
the manufacturer set, upon which their championship is founded, the most.

Is compromise solution…
  To put this in prospective, it is necessary to go back nearly a year to the Formula
One U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis where the FIA and its president, Max Mosley
were confronted with a difficult situation which required a great deal of
pragmatism to resolve after Michelin refused to guarantee the integrity of its tires
on the combined road and oval course that constituted the Indy F-1 circuit. Instead
of considering the needs of the sport, the promoter, or the fans, the FIA hid within
the regulations and did nothing, an amazing posture for a governing body that has
acquired a reputation for changing or scrapping its rulesbook on a moment’s
notice when it has suited it. Yet, Mosley last June appeared far more interested in
reminding the F-1 community that he and the FIA were the rulers, rather than
taking what would have been the same practical course traveled by Edmondson et

The Paris Sights
  For far too long the racing world has been the victim of shortsightedness
spawned by those with rather small focused agendas and an inability to consider
the longterm effects of their actions on the future of the sport. Consider for a
moment what happened in 1967 when the FIA summarily banned the unlimited
prototypes after the “low tech” NASCAR V-8-powered Ford ran over their European
opposition for a second straight time at Le Mans. In their wisdom, the FIA gave
less than six months notice of their imposition of a three-liter displacement cap for
the prototypes – a limit that just happened to benefit the new French Matra V-23’s
then beginning their journey to Le Mans glory.

  Moreover, when both Porsche and Ferrari took advantage of a regulatory loophole
to create their impressive band of 917s and 512s, the French-oriented FIA quickly
moved to outlaw those cars as well. This even though they brought a new
excitement to the sports car community, and excitement which would vanish with
them for more than a decade before the 956s joined battle with the Tom
Walkinshaw Jaguars and the Sauber Mercedes in the mid 1980’s.

Give me steam…
  In retrospect people will most likely forget Edmondson’s decision at Phoenix to
step back from a concept that he and others felt was the wrong path to take.
However, the mere fact that instead of standing “firm” when he could and denying
the need to make corrections, he did what he did, represents an historic moment
that others should follow when the need arises.

                                                                                   Bill Oursler
                                                                                    May 2006

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Features on or from Guests
No. Class Team Drivers Car Sponsors
0 DP Tuttle Team Racing Brian Tuttle, West Palm Beach, FL; Jonathan Cochet, France BMW Riley Tuttle Team Racing
01 DP CompUSA Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Scott Pruett, Auburn, CA; Luis Diaz, Mexico City, Mexico Lexus Riley CompUSA
3 DP Southard Motorsports Shane Lewis, Jupiter, FL; BMW Riley Southard Motorsports
4 DP Howard - Boss Motorsports Andy Wallace, England; Butch Leitzinger, Rebersburg, PA Pontiac Crawford The Boss Snowplow
04 GT Sigalsport BMW Gene Sigal, Los Angeles, CA; Peter MacLeod, Bellevue, WA BMW M3 Motul/ enVista/ OMP
5 DP Essex Racing Rob Finlay, Charlotte, NC; Michael Valiante, Vancouver, BC Canada Ford Crawford Make A Wish/ Z-Line Designs/ Finlay Motorsports
05 GT Sigalsport BMW Matthew Alhadeff, Los Angeles, CA; Bill Auberlen, Redondo Beach, CA BMW M3 Alhadeff Motorsports/ Motul/ enVista
6 DP Michael Shank Racing/ Mears Motor Coach Mike Borkowski, Miami Beach, FL; Antoine Bessette, St Bruno, QC Canada Lexus Riley Michael Shank Racing/
7 DP Tuttle Team Racing Brian Tuttle, West Palm Beach, FL; Jonathan Cochet, France Pontiac Riley Tuttle Team Racing
8 DP Synergy Racing Burt Frisselle, Kihei, HI; Brian Frisselle, Kihei, HI Porsche Doran GlycoMax
09 DP Spirit of Daytona Racing Doug Goad, West Bloomfield, MI; Larry Oberto, Seattle, WA Pontiac Crawford Spirit of Daytona Racing
10 DP SunTrust Racing Wayne Taylor, Apopka, FL; Max Angelelli, Italy; Jan Magnussen, Denmark Pontiac Riley SunTrust
11 DP CITGO Racing by SAMAX Milka Duno, Venezuela; Marc Goossens, Belgium Pontiac Riley CITGO
12 DP Lowe's Fernandez Racing Adrian Fernandez, Mexico City, Mexico; Mario Haberfeld, Brazil Pontiac Riley Lowe's
14 GT Autometrics Motorsports Cory Friedman, Charleston, SC; Gordon Friedman, Charleston, SC Porsche GT3 Cup Mill And Textile Supply/ Mac Papers
17 GT SAMAX Robert Bell, England; Porsche GT3 Cup SAMAX
19 DP Playboy/ Uniden Racing Guy Cosmo, West Palm Beach, FL; Michael McDowell, Monroe, NC Ford Crawford Playboy/ Uniden/ Palms
21 GT Matt Connolly Motorsports Jeff Altenburg, Ellicott City, MD; John Angelone, Bridgewater, NJ; Matt Connolly, Bethlehem, PA BMW M3 23 DP Alex Job
Racing/ Emory Motorsports Mike Rockenfeller, Monaco; Patrick Long, Las Vegas, NV Porsche Crawford Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team
24 GT Matt Connolly Motorsports Bill Cotter, Seattle, WA; Todd Hanson, Atlanta, GA BMW M3 Matt Connolly Motorsports
31 DP Team Cytosport Greg Pickett, Benicia, CA; Scott Sharp, Tequesta, FL Pontiac Riley XCYTO Energy Drink
38 GT Bernheim Racing Steve Bernheim, Beverly Hills, CA; Dwain Dement, Laguna Hills, CA Porsche GT3 Cup
39 DP Crown Royal Special Reserve/ Cheever Christian Fittipaldi, Brazil; Eddie Cheever Jr, Orlando, FL Porsche Crawford Crown Royal Special Reserve
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41 GT Team Sahlen Eric Lux, Amherst, NY; Charles Espenlaub, Lutz, FL Porsche GT3 Cup Rembrandt Charms/ HRPworld/ GOJO/ Hawk
47 DP TruSpeed Motorsports Charles Morgan, Little Rock, AR; Rob Morgan, Ladera Ranch, CA Porsche Riley Querencia Golf Club/ Wright Motorsports
50 DP Rocketsports Racing Paul Gentilozzi, Lansing, MI; Tomy Drissi, Los Angeles, CA Ford Crawford X-MEN 3 The Last Stand the Movie
56 GT Beachman Racing Bruce Beachman, Woodinville, WA; Rick Delamare, Snohemish, WA Corvette Beachman Racing/ Sunset Chevrolet
57 GT Stevenson Motorsports Tommy Riggins, Jacksonville, FL; Vic Rice, San Rafael, CA; John Stevenson, Swansboro, NC Corvette Stevenson Automotive
58 DP Red Bull/ Brumos Porsche David Donohue, Westchester, PA; Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ Porsche Fabcar Red Bull/ Brumos Porsche
59 DP Brumos Racing Hurley Haywood, Ponte Vedra, FL; JC France, Ormond Beach, FL Porsche Fabcar Brumos Porsche
60 DP Michael Shank Racing Mark Patterson, Bronxville, NY; Oswaldo Negri, Aventura, FL Lexus Riley Flight Options/ Nett App Lexus Riley
64 GT TRG Paul Edwards, Nipomo, CA; Kelly Collins, Newport Beach, CA Pontiac GTO.R TRG
65 GT TRG Marc Bunting, Monkton, MD; Andy Lally, Dacula, GA; RJ Valentine, Braintree, MA Pontiac GTO.R TRG/ F1 Air
70 GT SpeedSource David Haskell, Plantation, FL; Sylvain Tremblay, Coral Springs, FL Mazda RX-8 Mazdaspeed Motorsports/ Mazda USA
71 GT SAMAX/ Doncaster Racing Greg Wilkins, Toronto, ON Canada; Dave Lacey, Toronto, ON Canada Porsche GT3 Cup Minestar Solutions/ Tim Hortons72 GT
Tafel Racing Robin Liddell, England; Wolf Henzler, Germany Porsche GT3 Cup NEC
73 GT Tafel Racing Jim Tafel, Alpharetta, GA; Andrew Davis, Bogart, GA Porsche GT3 Cup NEC
75 DP Krohn Racing Tracy Krohn, Houston, TX; Nic Jonsson, Sweden Ford Riley Krohn Racing
76 DP Krohn Racing Jorg Bergmeister, Germany; Colin Braun, Ovalo, TX Ford Riley Krohn Racing
77 DP Feeds The Need/ Doran Racing Terry Borcheller, Gainesville, GA; Harrison Brix, Campbell, CA Ford Doran Kodak/ Amp'd Mobile/ Sirius
80 GT Shoes for Crews/ Synergy Racing David Murry, Cumming, GA; Leh Keen, Dublin, GA Porsche GT3 Cup Shoes for Crews/ Synergy Racing
81 GT Synergy Racing Steve Johnson, Bristol, VA; Robert Nearn, England Porsche GT3 Cup Comfort Systems USA/ Johnson Commercial Development
89 DP Pacific Coast Motorsports Alex Figge, Vail, CO; Ryan Dalziel, Orlando, FL Pontiac Riley Playboy/ Vonage/ Palms Casino
97 DP CyberSpeed Racing Tony Ave, Mooresville, NC; Skip Cummins, Houston, TX Pontiac Riley CyberSpeed Racing
98 GT Pacific Coast Motorsports David Empringham, Toronto, ON Canada; Ross Thompson, Phoenix, AZ Pontiac GTO.R Pacific Coast Motorsports
99 DP Gainsco/ Blackhawk Racing Jon Fogarty, Portola Valley, CA; Alex Gurney, Irvine, CA Pontiac Riley Gainsco Auto Insurance