Kansas City, Kan. (19 August 2013) – Spirit of Daytona Racing and drivers Ricky Taylor and Richard Westbrook had been hoping to turn the team’s luck around at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night as the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series staged its debut event at the “roval” circuit under the lights at Kansas Speedway.
Unfortunately, the track, which also hosts a casino on its impressive grounds, brought no good luck for the team as the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com Corvette DP experienced trouble just eight laps into the race.
Taylor, who opened the event from sixth on the grid, brought the Daytona Prototype to pit road after encountering throttle issues in the opening laps. A quick diagnosis from the team identified the stuck throttle issue as the Corvette DP had to spend time behind the wall for repairs.
Despite a quick response from the team, the challenging task saw the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com machine go 23 laps down to the leaders. With the time lost, the team opted to return to the track in hopes of gaining a couple more positions and learning some new things from the roval layout that incorporates both the infield road course and oval portions of the track.
Utilizing the remaining laps as a test session for the team, Taylor handed the car over to Westbrook in the middle stages of the race who, despite being several laps down, still had the chance to battle for position with another DP. Westbrook took over the 12th position and handed the car back over to Taylor who would take it to the finish.
“It’s tough – I think it just shows how strong the competition is,” said team owner Troy Flis. “It just needs to get better. The drivers did a great job but as a team, even when we tried to do some changes on pit road in practice, we weren’t as clean as we needed to be. So I think it is a good wake-up call and we need to get after it. We have two races left this year. Laguna Seca and Lime Rock, both of those racetracks are good for us and I think we are good there. But I don’t think you can go there with what you did last year and expect to do well. I think you are going to have to go there and be three to four-10ths faster than you were there last year. I think we can do it and we need to, we just need to work harder.”
“We didn’t have the pace to finish on the podium tonight but I think the No. 10 and the No. 01 were in a different league and maybe we would have been able to race and use the strategy to get a podium,” offered Taylor. “But it is just disappointing to get another result like this. Hopefully we can finish the season out with two strong races. Judging by last year, we were very fast at Lime Rock, so hopefully we can have a good end of the year.”
“It is so disappointing, the guys have worked so hard,” added Westbrook. “Thankfully we have two final tracks that suit our cars and hopefully it will be a satisfying ending to the season. We have so much work to do, but I believe in everyone here. I believe in Ricky and the whole Spirit of Daytona crew.”
Spirit of Daytona Racing will be back in race action September 7-8 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team won the California event last year and hopes to return to podium form in GRAND-AM’s visit to the circuit in three weeks’ time.