Atlanta, Ga. (20 April 2013) – Looking to carry the team’s podium momentum from Barber Motorsports Park into Round 4 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship at Road Atlanta this weekend, Spirit of Daytona Racing finished fifth in the Visual Studio Ultimate Grand Prix of Atlanta in the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com Chevrolet Corvette DP driven by Ricky Taylor and Richard Westbrook.
Friday’s qualifying session was rained out, moving GRAND-AM to set the race’s starting grid by championship point standings, forcing Taylor to start the 2.75-hour event from the fifth position. He would run among the top-five throughout his entire opening stint before heading for pit lane to turn the car over to Westbrook as the race moved past the one hour mark.
In a race that ran at an unrelenting pace with just one early-race caution in the 120-lap event, strategy did not play into the team’s favor. Though Westbrook ran quick and consistent lap times through the final stages of the race, the all-green run meant that the No. 90 Corvette DP was unable to make up the ground needed to score another podium finish.
“I think having qualifying would have changed a lot,” said Taylor. “We lost a lot of track position in the first stint, sitting behind the 2 car. We actually had very good pace compared to the leaders. The whole team did a good job. The pace was good. The 01 is kind of in another league at the moment, but the pit stops were all really good. Richard drove, as usual, a fantastic race. On to Detroit, I think we can have a positive run out there, for sure. Once we get the momentum back, we’ll be good.”
“I think we all got a hard lesson on strategy today,” added Westbrook. “We had a car to finish higher but unfortunately qualifying got canceled and I think our problems really started there. Ricky would have qualified better, I think, if he’d had the chance to do so. It’s difficult back there, but we just didn’t make the strategy work for us. We have a quick car, there’s no doubt about that.”
The result marked Spirit of Daytona Racing’s third top-five finish in the first four rounds of competition this year and the team remains fifth in the provisional championship standings.
“It was a decent day but this isn’t how this team deserved to run,” offered team owner Troy Flis. “We were a top-three team, but we need to find some speed. I don’t know where the 01 car found all this pace, because they really had a good pace here at this track. We thought we had a pretty good car. I think the Coyotes are having some trouble on some refueling issues right now. We’re not quick enough on that, so we’re going to go back and work hard on that to see if we can get that a little better. We will go back and just keep working and be ready to go in Detroit.”
Spirit of Daytona Racing will return to race action for Round 5 of the Rolex Sports Car Series in Detroit, May 31-June 1.