TUSC: Fittipaldi, Barbosa Lead Tight Prototype Points Battle With Two to Go

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – official release — Brian Cleary/Getty Images North America photo — Corvette DP co-drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa take the Prototype class points lead into the penultimate round of the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this Saturday at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas for the Lone Star Le Mans.

Back-to-back victories in the most recent TUDOR Championship rounds at Indianapolis and Road America – coupled with a season-opening triumph in the Rolex 24 At Daytona – gives the pair a healthy 16-point lead in the standings. However, four teams are still in position to strike should the drivers of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP stumble in either the Lone Star Le Mans or the season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 4.

The Action Express drivers have six podium finishes, along with eight top-five finishes in nine races to tally 285 points. Their worst outing of the season was at Detroit Belle Isle, where they finished sixth.

“Heading to Austin we’re just planning on doing the same thing we’ve done at every race this year,” Barbosa said. “We take one race at a time and right now we’re just focusing on a positive result at Circuit of The Americas. Everyone at Action Express Racing is so focused and committed to performing the best. The preparation for this season started after the last race of 2013. Now, the team goes 100-percent prepared to every race.”

Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor are second in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP with 269 points, two points ahead of No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP drivers Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante with 267 points.

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park winner Gustavo Yacaman is fourth with 253 points. He will have a new car for Circuit of The Americas, with OAK Racing replacing its No. 42 Morgan/Nissan with a Ligier/Honda that Yacaman will share with Alex Brundle.

Veteran Scott Pruett won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida and Grand Prix of Long Beach early in the season in the No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost/Riley co-driven by Memo Rojas and Marino Franchitti, but five finishes outside the top five resulted in a tally of 250 points, 35 behind the leaders.

In the race for the Prototype Manufacturers Championship, Chevrolet leads Ford by a count of 301-282. Nissan is third with 269 points.

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