Monterey, Calif.- (8 September 2013) – Spirit of Daytona Racing was hoping for a return to the top step of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series podium this weekend, in a repeat of last year’s victorious visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as the series staged the penultimate race of the 2013 season.
With some fresh new Adidas driving shoes and a run to the pole in the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com Corvette DP, hopes were high to accomplish that goal. But even though the team led 22 laps on race day, the hoped-for results didn’t materialize as drivers Richard Westbrook and Ricky Taylor finished in eighth place after struggling for grip through the two hour, forty-five minute race.
Westbrook started the race from the front, and eased out to an early lead at the drop of the green. Even though he had the best seat in the house and ran in clear air at the start of the race, he quickly felt that his time up front might come to an early end as he fought to keep traction through the opening laps.
“It’s tough out there, we knew it was going to be tough,” said Westbrook. “We knew we had a good qualifying lap, but we knew everyone was going to make it up today, and they have, and we just couldn’t pull a gap. It’s a shame because we were hoping this would be a good place to turn our season around.”
Westbrook turned the car over to Taylor, who hoped that some small changes to the car from the Spirit of Daytona Racing crew during the pit stop would pay dividends. Despite keeping in top-five contention, the struggle for traction didn’t improve through his middle stint.
“The rear of the car just wasn’t planted,” said Taylor. “We were good in colder conditions, but the sun came out and the track got hot so the track was a lot different. We gambled a little bit, thinking we would be able to see similar conditions. Unfortunately we didn’t so that made for a long day today.”
One final driver change and a late race caution set the stage for some close quarters Daytona Prototype racing, with Westbrook emerging from the fray in eighth at the end of a long tough day.
“It was a frustrating day for all of us,” said team owner Troy Flis. “We tried a few things and they just didn’t go the way we wanted. Over the long run, we didn’t have the car for the guys that we should have. We tried a lot with pressures and even aero, but it just didn’t work out so it was a tough day.”
Spirit of Daytona Racing will be back in action for the final Rolex Sports Car Series race as an era closes at Lime Rock Park September 28.