Daytona Beach, FL: Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is unique in being the only non-US track visited by the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, but it may stand out in the minds of many fans as the site of some of the season's most exciting race action. Recent years have featured heart-stopping finishes and extreme weather challenges, but 2010’s Montreal 200 may be best remembered for the high rate of attrition in the DP class. Spirit of Daytona managed to avoid problems in a challenging race that featured 4 cautions for 17 laps, bringing the #90 Porsche Coyote home in their second consecutive 5th place finish.
It was not all smooth sailing for the Spirit of Daytona team, as a spin in an early practice session brought the car in with front end damage. However, that damage was quickly repaired and the car was back on track in plenty of time to be qualified in 5th place by Buddy Rice. Rice drove a strong opening stint and managed to avoid contact when another car spun out in front of him on a restart.
On the third yellow, Rice brought the #90 in for a pit stop and driver change to Antonio Garcia. On take off, the engine stalled, the extra seconds costing the #90 two positions and dropping Garcia to 8th place. He immediately set to work to make up the lost ground, holding on to end the day in 5th. That result boosted the Spirit of Daytona from a tie for 7th place in team points to 6th and kept their streak alive, as they now can claim 10 consecutive top ten finishes with 4 top fives.
Buddy Rice was pleased with the day’s results, saying, “We had a good points finishing day. There was a little drama in that practice session that damaged the front of the car, but it was minor and mostly cosmetic, so we were able to recover and come back strong. It was a good day for Spirit of Daytona – this track is not really one of our strongest, with the low trim and low downforce package it requires, but we just keep learning more and more every time and it keeps making us better. We know what to work on and where our focus needs to be in the off season. It was another strong run – another top five and a solid points day.”
Antonio Garcia agreed with Rice, but hopes to improve even more. “Another 5th place finish - I am ready to move up out of 5th, but considering what we had to deal with, I think today went well,” he said. “We ran into some problems where we just weren’t as fast and we had expected to be. We struggled a bit, but made the car as fast as we could. Every time we run this kind of race where the aero is on the low side, we seem to struggle against our competition. We also had a problem during our pit stop with the engine stalling when I got in the car. We lost maybe another 15 seconds, so I just tried to make as much of that back as I could and I gave it all I had. We might have had a 4th place car, and we finished 5th, but many other teams had much worse luck today than us, so at the end it is a good result for Spirit of Daytona. Now we will work hard to analyze everything and to be better prepared for our last race this season at Miller.”
The 2010 Rolex Series season finale race will be held at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, UT, on Saturday, September 11th. The 2.75 hour race is scheduled for a 2:00 PM ET start time and will be broadcast live on SPEED TV.