Daytona Beach, FL: In what has been a year of historic firsts for Spirit of Daytona Racing, the team has broken new ground with their #90 Porsche V8 Coyote. Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia have also faced many new challenges in this inaugural year as full-time drivers in the GRANDAM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. Now, coming from what proved to be one of their most difficult races this season, the Spirit of Daytona team welcomes a return to familiar territory at Watkins Glen.
As the team prepares to pay their second visit to the historic upstate NY track, the race there earlier this season will be on everyone’s mind, as the Glen was the site of the #90’s first podium of 2010. While many teams recruited the help of an additional driver for that six hour endurance race, Spirit of Daytona bet on Rice and Garcia and their familiarity with the Coyote, a gamble that paid off. As the team took the checkered flag in 3rd place, it marked not only their first podium, but was the best Spirit of Daytona finish in DP competition.
It was a very different story at the team’s most recent competition in New Jersey, as a series of mishaps proved frustrating throughout the race, culminating in a fire that ended the day for the #90. Damage from contact early in the race eventually resulted in an oil leak that caused a fire in the rear of the car, sidelining it in the final minutes of the race. The crew set to work as soon as they arrived back at the shop to assess the damage and make repairs. Fortunately, damage was not as severe as originally feared, mostly affecting portions of the wiring harness.
While the team is happy to return to the scene of their best finish thus far in 2010, they are also aware that success in the Six Hour Glen race doesn’t improve their odds for similar results in the second race, as the two are very different events. While the early race is the longest on the schedule after the 24 Hours of Daytona, the upcoming race, with its two hour time limit, is the shortest. The course itself is also different, with the endurance race run on the long course and the sprint race held on the short course. Although the major differences require entirely different approaches, the team is nonetheless confident that their previous success at the Glen will give them added advantage, particularly in one area.
Since a shorter course translates to shorter laps and a faster pace, one factor that will be of critical importance is an area in which the SDR team already excels - fast pit stops. Antonio Garcia gave his crew high marks for their performance in the pits following the previous Watkins Glen race, saying, “At our first race at the Glen we lacked a little bit of pace to the front three cars, but the Spirit of Daytona team did a great job with the pit stops. The one that counts most is the last one and for that one, I came into the pits in 6th and when I left, I had gained two positions.” Spirit of Daytona is confident that their crew and their drivers will continue to excel and keep the Glen momentum alive to bring the #90 Porsche Coyote back for an encore appearance in Victory Lane. The Crown Royal 200 at the Glen will be held on Saturday, August 7th. The race is scheduled for a 6:00 PM ET start time, and is scheduled for live broadcast on SPEED TV.