Elkhart Lake, Wis. (10 August 2013) – Spirit of Daytona Racing had been targeting a strong result in its return to historic Road America for the VISITFLORIDA.com Sports Car 250 on Saturday, but faced frustration in the 2.75-hour race when an issue with the gearbox took the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com Corvette DP out of contention with less than an hour remaining in the race.
Drivers Richard Westbrook and Ricky Taylor partnered in the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com machine and the duo looked to build momentum as the GRAND-AM series set the stage for its final four races of the 2013 season.
Spirit of Daytona Racing appeared poised for a strong finish with the No. 90 Corvette running in the top-five through the early stages of the race. Taylor qualified the car ninth on Friday and delivered a quick and consistent long run before handing the controls over to Westbrook with about an hour and 20 minutes remaining. Westbrook returned to the order eighth in line and set out to take the VISITFLORIDA.com Corvette to a solid finish as he set the second quickest lap time of the race, but his efforts behind the wheel would come to a halt when he was forced to bring the No. 90 machine behind the pit wall due to the gearbox issue.
“We ended up having an okay car in the long run,” offered team owner Troy Flis. “I think we made the right changes on the one pit stop and it looked like a lot of stuff happened at the end of the race and I wish we could have been there to be a part of that. But we failed a part internally in the gearbox. I’m really not sure why, it wasn’t like the gearbox was old or timed or anything like that. Maybe we are putting more effort into these cars and making them go faster and maybe we need to change the parts out sooner rather than later. But it wasn’t even close to being a part that was close to being worn, so I am not sure. This is the first failure we have had all year so I have to take it on the chin and keep moving, but it is tough.
“Richard (Westbrook) was really happy with the car prior to the issue. Everybody was going faster at the end which is normal, and Richard was right up there. I just looked at the time and when we broke I think we were the second fastest car on the racetrack which is disappointing because he was only in the car for about 20-minutes and I think we would have been even quicker if he had more time in the car.”
Spirit of Daytona Racing will be right back in race action in just a few days’ time as the team travels to Kansas Speedway for the inaugural Rolex Series event at the track.
“We have never been to Kansas, so it will be all new to us,” said Flis of the new venue. “We have done some simulation so it will be good for our team to roll off the truck and see how good we are. We just need to get started quickly there.”
The Kansas Speedway event will take place next weekend, August 16-17.