DAYTONA BEACH, FL: A month off between races may be a welcome sight for a number of GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series teams, but for Spirit of Daytona it’s been a month too long since they’ve been on the track. It was at the team’s last race at Barber Motorsports Park on April 9 that the Spirit of Daytona was the class of the field, winning the pole and leading a race-high 50 laps before falling victim to a dropped cylinder.
Since the checkered flag at Barber, Spirit of Daytona has eyed the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway as the race to put a season’s worth of bad luck in three races behind them.
“When you have the issues we've had to start this season you just want to get onto the next one and put it 100 percent behind you. Barber was a disappointment, but at the same time we showed our potential. I see no reason we can’t back up our performance as we move onto VIR,” said driver Paul Edwards. “This team has continued to put an extraordinary amount of effort into the Chevrolet-powered Coyote over the past few weeks and I am looking forward to our next challenge.”
During the month layoff GRAND-AM took the time to make a few of changes that will be effective beginning this weekend at VIR. The sanctioning body instituted a change to the capacity of the fuel cell and fuel hose restrictors, in an effort to add an additional pit stop in races two hours and 45 minutes in duration or longer.
The second change gives teams more incentive to win this weekend, posting a $25,000 bonus to the first team that beats the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing DP. Chip Ganassi Racing has won the first three events of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season.
Spirit of Daytona hopes this is the weekend their luck turns around. Despite leading in the season-opening Rolex 24, running in the top 3 in the final stages at Homestead and leading the most laps at Barber, the team sits ninth in the series points with a season-best finish of ninth coming at Barber.
“We continue to get stronger and stronger every weekend,” said driver Antonio Garcia. “Hopefully the bad luck is behind us. We’ve shown our potential now I hope we can compete for podiums and wins.”
While Barber may have been the race that got away, Edwards – who fell victim to the dropped cylinder at the start of his stint – knows that a victory is right around the corner and hopes that it comes this weekend in Virginia.
“I am dying to get back on the track,” he said. “I think Antonio and I can help put some bounty dollars in the team’s pocket and make this race exciting for the fans.”
The Bosch Engineering 250 will start at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 14, with coverage on SPEED beginning at 5 p.m. ET. For more information on Spirit of Daytona, go to www.sdr-motorsports.com