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LAKEVILLE -- Bob Michaelian, driver of the No. 52 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang, sits in fourth place in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series driver’s standings, with one win and a couple of top-10 finishes under his belt this season. Although Michaelian heads to a track he has never raced at, driving for the current defending champion team has its advantages.
Q. YOU ARE ON A ROLL THIS SEASON. YOU HAVE WON ONE RACE AND FINISHED IN THE TOP TEN IN THE LAST TWO. YOU’RE CURRENTLY IN FOURTH PLACE IN THE DRIVER’S POINTS.
A. A lot of success is the prep work by Larry [Rehagen] and Dean [Martin] on the Rehagen Racing team. They put together some pretty amazing cars. From a set-up perspective they seem like they are on base to start off the weekend. For the most part it’s been a huge opportunity for me to drive with both Dean Martin and Ken Wilden, two of the top drivers in GRAND-AM right now. I’ve learned a lot just by driving with those guys, the access to the data and their sharing of the information about these tracks because most of the tracks I haven’t been to yet. The track where we won at in Alabama, I had been there before so that was some help for me. Our sponsor Biz-Rate.com is the company that I’m working with and they really have given me the opportunity to go out there and go racing so I’ve really appreciated the help and support they have provided.
Q. YOU’RE HEADING TO LIME ROCK THIS WEEKEND. HAVE YOU RACED THERE BEFORE?
A. This will be my first time at Lime Rock. I have a lot of work to do before I get to the Friday test session to try and understand the track, and get into the data and understand where I can pick up some speed relative to the rest of the competition.
Q. GOING INTO A TRACK THAT YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TO BEFORE, OTHER THAN LOOKING AT THE DATA AND THE PRACTICE SESSION BEFORE THE RACE, ARE THERE ANY OTHER WAYS YOU PREPARE?
A. I’ve been watching quite a bit of in-car video. Dean and Larry have in-car video from all of the tracks from last year. I’ve been watching that quite a bit to get an understanding and obviously to figure out the track. Kenny and Dean provided some basic information up front; some tips on how to get around the track as smoothly as possible so it’s been really good for me.
Q. IT’S HELPFUL TO HAVE TWO TEAMMATES WHO ARE VETERANS OF THE SPORT AND ARE CURRENTLY THE DEFENDING CHAMPIONS OF THE SERIES.
A. Absolutely. I couldn’t be in a better position. The opportunity to ride with two guys who won the championship last year, there’s no better scenario for me. Last year I ran a couple of races in GRAND-AM and didn’t have as much feel of the car. At the beginning of this year I spent a lot more time in the car and really started to get a feel of the Mustang, how it runs. I’ve really enjoyed driving the car just because it’s one of the better handling cars out there. It definitely has the bottom-end torque. Running with Kenny and Dean this year has afforded me the opportunity to really understand some of the nuances of the track. There’s such a confidence level that they bring to the track and I think it’s kind of infectious for me.