Heading into this year’s final round of GRAND-AM Rolex Series competition at Mid-Ohio, Brumos Racing had a lot on the line. Just three points out of the lead, Brumos set their sights on the GT Championship and were prepared for the challenge of a winner-take-all contest. When the checkered flag dropped on one of the most thrilling races of the season, Brumos Racing proved that they had indeed returned to their roots by bringing the 2011 Rolex Series GT Championship back to their Jacksonville, Florida, home.
The Mid-Ohio finale will go down in the record books as one of the most memorable comeback races ever. An electronic problem that forced the #59 to sit out the qualifying session placed it at the back of the pack to start the race. Andrew Davis faced the daunting task of getting the #59 Porsche GT3 from 19th place back to the front. He drove a phenomenal opening stint, passing car after car, before going on to lead the race for 12 laps. Strategy calls were executed perfectly and the team used the numerous yellow flags to full advantage. The car was handed over to Leh Keen under yellow, as the crew delivered a flawless stop. During the critical final stop, the crew got the #59 back on track ahead of the #70 Mazda, the only car standing between them and the championship. Keen faced considerable pressure but held his position, ending the race in 4th place and taking the 2011 Rolex GT Championship for Brumos and its drivers in the process.
The race provided an emotional finish to the season for the entire Brumos team, particularly for Andrew Davis, who claimed his first professional championship.
“I’m so proud and so honored to be a Brumos driver and to follow in Hurley Haywood’s footsteps,” he said. “With Brumos’ legacy of winning GT championships, it’s almost unbelievable that Leh and I were able to bring home our own championship for the team. For Dan Davis and Hurley to have faith in us and give us this opportunity, it means a tremendous amount. I have to thank all of our crew members who have worked so hard and fought through thick and thin all season long. I also appreciate all the employees back at Brumos in Jacksonville who are always cheering for us. They may not be here at the track, but they are always there in spirit and willing us along. To say I am the 2011 Rolex GT Champion is awesome, but to be able to say I did it as a Brumos driver is unbelievable.”
For Leh Keen, his second Rolex GT Championship was no less thrilling than his first.
“Wow, that was amazing – and I’m not talking about just this race, but the whole year,” he said. “It is so special to be part of this Brumos group. At the beginning of the year Dan and Hurley told us we were part of the family now, and I now know what that truly means. There were many things that made it more difficult for us in our first year, but that just shows how hard our team worked to get it done. For me, to win in a Porsche is also special. I started my career and won most of my races in a Porsche, and the Brumos Porsches were always my favorites. To win this championship and win another championship for Brumos and be a part of that organization is spectacular.”
Hurley Haywood has worked with many crew members and drivers in his career, but his team this year was special.
“To say I am proud would be an understatement,” he said. “At the beginning of the year Brumos put together a kind of dream team, but the recipe was unproven. We worked hard to get it right and the end result got us to the team and the drivers’ championship. My main responsibility was working with the drivers and they certainly did not let me down. If I have to give up my seat, I can’t think of two guys I would rather give it to than Andrew and Leh. Every single person on our crew did a tremendous job and made a noticeable contribution to the success of this effort, beginning with the first race in Daytona. I am really happy to see Brumos bring another championship home to Jacksonville.”
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