Days Like These, Part II AJR at WGI "Nobody told me there'd be days like these; strange days indeed." (C Lenono Music) Before his tilt with Rolex Series officials at Watkins Glen, Alex Job was smiling as broadly as anyone has seen him in ...
Days Like These, Part II
AJR at WGI
"Nobody told me there'd be days like these; strange days indeed." (C Lenono Music)
Before his tilt with Rolex Series officials at Watkins Glen, Alex Job was smiling as broadly as anyone has seen him in awhile - especially since a mindless four-wheeler took out Job and his motorcycle in the thriving metropolis of Astatula, Fla.
(If you're wondering of Astatula's location, it's right next to Tavares, in which Alex Job Racing is located. If Tavares stumps you, think "Eustis." If you still aren't with it, then fire up a map program, for gosh sakes).
His new No. 23 Ruby Tuesday (non-supported) Porsche Crawford DP08 is one slick piece of machinery - at least excepting the greenhouse, according to Job.
(Then again, maybe Porsche is supporting him, again. One can hardly tell sometimes with the back-and forth. However, no matter how many trophies one might score for someone else, this deal goes to show the wide-ranging definitions of "loyalty" found in racing.)
"You can stick two people in there and still have leftover room," Job said during a Watkins Glen dog-and-pony show that introduced journalists to the new Crawford Daytona Prototype.
(With all due respect, Alex, that's what the world's three major sportscar series seek, Le Mans' governing body Automobile Club de l'Ouest even laying out some extra rule-book "second person" space requirements a few years ago when Audi's R-series started straying way too close to being a single-seater. A look at the Peugeot 908 will reveal a cockpit that proportionately looks at least as high as that of the DP, though not quite as wide.)
Going beyond that point of disagreement, though, the new Crawford is hot and slick - in ways previously unimagined or seen in a DP. Designer Andy Scriven's really gone off the deep end on the DP08.
"Wanna know something really cool?" Job excitedly asked at Watkins Glen. "Take a look at the doors when they're open."
Sure 'nuff, they've got air channels where other DPs have flat door panels.
"I think we've significantly increased driver comfort," Max Crawford would later say when queried.
(Crawford also was asked if he and fellow New Zealanders were really that happy for Indy 500 and 2006 Rolex 24 winner Scott Dixon who, like Crawford, is a native of The Land Next Door to Down Under. "We're very proud" Crawford said. "We're proud such a small country has over the years produced so many outstanding contributions to racing." It's even produced the world's fastest Indian, but the story for which will have to await another day.)
Getting down to hardcore technical information, the new Ruby Tuesday Crawford is a bit wider and a tad lower (excepting cockpit) than the other DPs and it has undertaken a far more significant use of air cars must either push aside or channel through, over and around .
Suffice to say: it looks very little like its predecessor, with which Alex Job Racing repeatedly visited Victory Lane.
"We waited longer than we would've liked to get it," Job said candidly, "but it was truly worth the wait."
It'll be worth seeing the car at Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, too, because there is just no way words will presently do it justice.
BTW: another Crawford - one having V-8 Pontiac power - is expected to debut at the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 when the series runs The Glen's short course on August 8.
CHEEVER DRIVER OUT?
The No. 16 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Pontiac-Coyote continues to look stronger as the team makes strides aerodynamically, with the team's biggest hassle thus far being found in the engine compartment.
Depending upon who provides the count (the likely difference attributable to political correctness and forthrightness): between "four" and "seven" "Pontiac" engines have thus far expired in the car this season.
"I really just don't know what to do just yet," a flustered team owner Eddie Cheever said after a detonation at The Glen. "They're really a good company so I don't want to alienate them. Yet, we want to win."
With the heart of the Rolex Series' "high-drag track schedule" currently underway - for which the Coyote is said to best suited - it may not be a good thing for it to learn that driver Matteo Bobbi is out of a Mid-Ohio ride (perhaps the rest of the season).
Details still being sketchy as this is written, Bobbi apparently separated a shoulder after crashing on his bike (this of the very narrow-wheeled, human-powered variety).
However, replacing Bobbi for Mid-Ohio (at least) is Tom Kinder-Smith, who drove for Cheever at the Rolex 24 (No. 51 Coyote) and at VIRginia International Raceway (No. 16).
Subbing for Antonio Garcia at VIR, Kinder-Smith pushed the car to the front and held second-place for a number of laps before turning the car over to Bobbi while still in the top five. Bobbi soon thereafter had an off and effectively ended the run.
"He's really hot," Cheever said Tuesday afternoon of Kinder-Smith, proudly adding, "And Antonio just won Le Mans, you know."
In the Aston Martin No. 009 DBR9, Garcia teamed with David Brabham and Darren Turner in what was the GT1-class' closest finish in years. The No. 009 also took the 2007 class victory.
Does Aston Martin (not, "Does AN Aston Martin ." but "Does THE Aston Martin.") also compete in ALMS? Or are people still confused about the Le Mans and ALMS competitor rules being substantially different in weights and capacities?
TAYLOR LEAVES SUNTRUST
Got your attention, didn't it. I'll even wager Wayne Taylor's a tad uptight at this very moment.
Well, it's mostly true.
The SunTrust-departing "Taylor" is "Rick," Wayne's oldest of two racing sons (Jordan, a couple-years down the food chain, will yet get his day - and he's darn good, too).
Taylor The Younger will get his start - ironically in a Dallara chassis the SunTrust team wished it had - at Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Following on the heels of the Round 5 show at Laguna Seca, during which a certain someone said, "Darn, I wish (the No. 47 CDOC) would've signed Ricky Taylor to drive with Burt."
On Saturday, rick will do just that, teaming with Burt Frisselle in the No. 47 CDOC Roush-Yates Ford Dallara for the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.
Taylor replaces Switzerland's Gabriele Gardel, who in Europe scored championships in 2006 (Le Mans Series LMGT1) and 2005 (FIA GT GT1) before trying his hand in DPs for 2008.
Having brought a demonstrable skill level to the table, Gardel made his Rolex Sports Car Series debut in the No. 77 Kodak Ford-Dallara at the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona but all too often seemed much too concerned with what longtime DP veterans were capable of doing as opposed to him getting comfortable with, focusing on and developing his own DP capabilities.
Whatever, Rick Taylor is a good addition to the No. 47. Though Taylor lacks as much DP seat time as, say, Burt Frisselle, he's a quick study.
By DC Williams, Exclusively for Motorsport.com