Grand Am: Spirit of Daytona Rolex 24 Report
The Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP racing team spent many hours leading up to the grueling 2013 24 Hours of Daytona making sure their sleek racer was ready for the twice around the clock race. Finishing this race in a point’s position would be a great first step towards a championship campaign. The team is striving for a 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship. Spirit of Daytona Racing finished an impressive fifth place overall at Daytona with the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com Chevrolet Corvette. Excellent pit work by the team and the driving efforts of Ricky Taylor, Richard Westbrook, Antonio Garcia and Oliver Gavin brought the #90 to the finish line.
The Spirit of Daytona team is based in Daytona Beach, and scored three victories in the 2012 GRAND-AM season. In the first race of the year they were very competitive through the course of the race and even were in the lead during the night. Excellent teamwork helped them rebound from a series of setbacks that enabled them to stay on the lead lap until finish of the race. The race marked the debut for driver Ricky Taylor with the Daytona based team. As a previous Corvette DP driver last year, Taylor is looking forward to victories this year.
During the race, the team encountered a number of issues including no dashboard lights, faulty wiring that drained the battery charging and an exhaust bracket that drag on the track. The dragging caused a shower of sparks flying out of the rear of the car on the high banks. However, the team never gave up and stayed focused to the finish. Spirit of Daytona Racing finished eighth at last years race and were really seeking an overall victory this year. The pace was intense and any team that had even minor problems would not claim victory. The second place #10 Corvette DP was only 22 seconds behind the overall winner on the same lap after 24 hours of racing. This is how competitive this event is.
Richard Westbrook is an anxious new expecting father. After the race he hopped a flight back home to be with his expectant wife Jessica. The Westbrook’s are looking forward to greeting their new daughter and welcoming her into their racing family. We wish them all the best.
Troy Flis - Team owner:
“I told myself coming in, I’d take a top five, I can’t be mad at myself for that. We got the top five- it was some big picture racing at the end of the day. We had some issues we needed to get over and we knew we were going to be behind some of the other competitors here. All in all, I think it was a decent weekend for us. We had an off in the middle of the night and it kind of bit us throughout the rest of the time and that’s what kind of hurt us I think.”
“Our goal is always to be the top finishing Chevy. We ended up being third (of the Corvettes) today which doesn’t make me happy, but I think the 10 car had a better car from day one at this racetrack for whatever reason. But even this morning, we had a car that we could compete with those guys, but little things would come up and they were all related to this one off. So that’s what I’m disappointed in. The leaders kept us pushing hard enough that we had to push harder than we probably could or should have for what we wanted to do. I thought we could run 42’s all day and night, but we couldn’t. All in all, I think we’ll pick up the pieces and the next racetracks are definitely better for Chevrolet, so we’ll go get ‘em there.”
“I never would have thought that you’d end the race like that--like we did--coming in, spending two laps in the pits, and still getting my best ever 24 Hours result. It’s good to get some solid points. We could have easily come away with 15th place points--it’s the easiest race to lose a lot of points, so that’s really good. To have finished third in the championship last year with a bad 24 Hours, just kicking the year off stronger--I think we’re going to be chasing the two toughest teams who are first and second anyway, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Round 2 of the Rolex Sports Car Series season debuts at the Circuit of the Americas March 2.