Daytona Beach, FL: Spirit of Daytona Racing was definitely looking forward to a return to Watkins Glen, the site earlier this season of their #90 Porsche V8 Coyote’s first podium. Although the previous Six Hour race was entirely different than this weekend’s two hour competition on the short course, Spirit of Daytona again brought home a strong result, scoring their third top five of the season. The 5th place finish also marked an impressive string of nine consecutive top tens for the Daytona based team in the ten races thus far completed.
That level of success has not come easily to the Spirit of Daytona team, as they have had to overcome adversity time after time. In this race at the Glen, they once again found themselves faced with a setback. Things were looking good as the #90 wrapped up the final practice before qualifying after posting the 2nd fastest lap time of the session. As qualifying got underway, Buddy Rice was just beginning to get the car up to speed when another DP spun out in front of him.
Unable to avoid contact, the incident caused major suspension and bodywork damage to the #90 and the resulting debris on course put an early end to the session. The #90 ended qualifying in 8th place for the following day’s race. In what team owner and manager Troy Flis termed ‘a total testament to the crew’, the team got the car back together in time to get in back out on track for two laps in the final evening practice session.
Antonio Garcia found the 5th place finish to be a good result, considering how the weekend had developed. He described the action, saying, “Out of the trailer, the car was really good, and knowing that we were in 2nd place in the practice just before qualifying, we were in a good situation. Then we had bad luck during the qualifying session. The #77 car was spinning, and Buddy couldn’t do anything to avoid crashing into him. From that point, the guys did a fantastic job. The final practice was shortly after that crash, but we finally made it out after changing almost half of the car. We got it set up to just go one or two laps to shake down the car at that point, as the track had changed a lot after the NASCAR race. We didn’t have a chance to improve the car a lot from that point, so we raced it with almost no track time. At the end, the race was clean and we had no big issues. We ran a good pace, but we just didn’t have a car to try for the podium this time. I would say we might have been 4th, but that was probably the best position we could have achieved. 5th place is good, and we know we are taking little steps forward with every race, and those steps are making the car faster and faster. I’m sure by the end of the year we will be able to fight, not just for the podium, but with a little luck, for a better position and even a win.”
The 5th place finish boosted the Spirit of Daytona to a tie for 7th place in the team points standings,only four points out of the next position and twelve points shy of the top three. While many plans are already underway for 2011, for now, the focus remains on the two remaining rounds of competition. Round 11 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 will take place at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday, August 28th with a start time of 2:15 PM. It is scheduled for live broadcast on SPEED TV.