Daytona Beach, FL: Anyone who has followed the Spirit of Daytona team through the years can attest to how hard they have worked in developing a competitive DP car for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. The team has made many changes and has been progressing steadily since first entering DP competition. Heading to the Mid-Ohio race last season, the team had reached a turning point and was on the verge of some major changes. Mid-Ohio was to be the final solo race for the Spirit of Daytona #09 car, with plans to roll out their new #90 Porsche Coyote in their next race with Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia, newly signed as the team’s full time drivers.
As they reach the mid-point of the 2010 season, it is apparent that the things have progressed well for the team in the past year. Currently in 6th place in team point standings, the Spirit of Daytona #90 Porsche V-8 Coyote scored the first podium in their DP history and is enjoying some long overdue success. Buddy Rice reflected on the season’s progress, saying “I think the main thing we wanted to do this year was work on the car, and keep improving with every round so we can stay competitive with the top five cars. We’ve been doing a good job with that and we’re getting much more consistent. Once we put all the pieces together there’s no reason we can’t be competing for wins, week in and week out. It just takes time to put all the right pieces in the puzzle and have the entire team gel.”
For Rice and Garcia, their first season in a full-time DP driving role has proven challenging, but so rewarding in many ways. Garcia joined Rice in acknowledging the advances the team has made. “We finally got a nice result,” he said. “I’m very happy for the Spirit of Daytona team, they have been doing a great job and now we have our first podium in DP competition. We have been progressing in the right direction and the podium is another good step. We’ve been strong in practice and qualifying the past few races, and now we have our first really good result in the race itself. We just need to keep pushing, because there will be ups and downs in the season and we still have a lot to learn about this Porsche Coyote. This is the first year Buddy and I have driven together, where most of the other teams in the series have drivers who have been with their organizations for four or five years already. It is difficult sometimes for us to compete with their experience but we are moving in the right direction and gaining experience with each race.”
As Spirit of Daytona welcomes the beginning of the second half of the Rolex Series season, they travel to Mid-Ohio with momentum and a new sense of confidence, ready to take the next step in their journey to the top.
The EMCO Gears Classic will be held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, June 19th. The 2.75 hour race will start at 5:00 PM ET with live coverage on SPEED TV.