NASCAR/GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Teleconference Transcript
February 3, 2010
An interview with: TERRY BORCHELLER and RYAN DALZIEL
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to this special edition of NASCAR Grand-Am teleconference. Joining us today are drivers Terry Borcheller and Ryan Dalziel, winning drivers in Rolex 24 at Daytona, helped give Action Express Racing a victory in its very first race. The first Daytona Prototype champion in 2003, Terry is now a two-time overall winner of the Rolex 24, plus he has an additional watch for a class victory. He will continue co-driving of the No. 9 Action Express Porsche Riley for the remainder of the season. Terry, that's a great way to celebrate your new full-time ride. How pig was opening the season with the victory for Action Express.
TERRY BORCHELLER: I think it was huge for everyone. I mean, for myself, the team, just the whole effort that was put behind it and the time that was spent, it was huge. In looking at the championship that I'm going to be running with Joao for the year, as far as the points go, it's huge in that way, too.
THE MODERATOR: Very good way to start the year. Ryan, you were a guest driver with Action Express. You're going to join Starworks in the next Rolex series race, March 6th, Homestead Miami Speedway. Can you bring the momentum of the Rolex 24 victory to your new team?
RYAN DALZIEL: You know, I want to say a quick thank you. I had a lot of people follow me overseas, the response has been overwhelming. I wanted to take an opportunity to thank the Scottish press, a standout newspaper for me has been the Scottish Sun.
As far as your question goes, it's been just crazy the past couple days. Terry and I were talking before we came on line. I made a comment, I didn't realize how much of a lack of a career I had, until I won this. I hope so. I hope I can bring the momentum forward. It has been a huge eye opener to me how big this race is. For me and my career. I think everybody involved with Action Express, including the four drivers, everybody had their own agendas of why this is so special. I look forward to going to Homestead, a new venture, team, and hopefully with the points lead we're going to go in there and have a good show.
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to turn it over to the operator for questions. Ryan, you with a charity tie-in with the Rolex 24. Are you going to continue that at future races?
RYAN DALZIEL: You know, we are. We started a RaceforHaiti.com. It's something that's chose to my family and my wife's family in particular. I felt we didn't do enough justice. I had the suspicion going into Daytona we left just a little late. We're going to continue it. Haiti is not going to be rebuilt in one race weekend so we're going to keep it going.
We did pretty well. We raised $1600 in the one day that was kind of live. We're hoping to keep it going. Hopefully we can just kept it a little bit better. I do feel a little bit disappointed with myself.
Q: Terry, you had a dry spell between your championship of 2003 winning the Rolex 24 in 2004 and now again here. With a full season ahead of you of commitment, tell us how did you manage to sustain yourself in between that?
TERRY BORCHELLER: I kind of anticipated you would be our first question. You've been a great supporter of mine at good and lean times. I appreciate your faith in me and your friendship.
But for me, you know, you never know when the faucet is going to be turned off. I think I had a record of wins, major sports car wins, that kind of piled up quicker than really anybody in the sport had ever done. Then all of a sudden almost overnight it turned off. I don't think you can ever predict those times because you can't predict racing.
From 2004 until this race, I still had been racing every year. I just kind of bounced around and did some different sports car series. I did some in the Rolex, I did some in the GT, some in what was the Coney Challenge. I bounced all over the place. Even went down to Central America and ran their TransAm championship.
For me it was just knowing that once I was able to get in a good car with a good team that I would be able to do the same job I always did. So I just made sure that I stayed in shape and kept my training up. I was able to do a lot of things personally that I hadn't been able to do in the past, particularly here locally in Vero Beach, our church has a program called School of Leaders. I was able to get trained and become a pastor. In charge of a small group of men. That's exciting, kind of a dream for me. It really impacts the lives the other people in a positive direction for the long-term. That's been real gratifying for me.
Also spending a lot of time with my family. They put so many sacrifices out over the years with me being gone, the travel that I have done, it was nice for me to be able to have quite a bit of time to spend with my kids and my wife, just really plug in at home.
Unfortunately I still was traveling quite a bit because I coached a lot and I did race quite a bit. Just no major wins. Kind of under the radar. But I'm very excited to be back with the Rolex 24 win and especially with the team of drivers that were with me, it was just an incredible event and incredible race. I'm looking forward to this year with Barbosa. We're going to have a blast.
Q: Ryan, you join a list of great Scotsmen who have accomplished much in motor sports. Tell me what it's like from that perspective for you, please?
RYAN DALZIEL: Thanks for your support, as well.
It's undescribable to win this and really be able to put into words other than talking to somebody like Terry who has won it before. I think I kind of beat myself a little bit because I've been pretty close to winning it before, maybe haven't given it the respect winning this race deserves.
You know, when I woke up on Monday morning, I think it did hit me. The amount of emails I got from high-end people in motor sport. I actually got one email from Gil de Ferran has become a friend of mine over the years. His email basically said, great job, welcome to a group of elite drivers that made history. It was pretty much a one-line email. After I kind of dried my eyes a little bit, it kind of hit home a little bit that this is something huge.
Coming from a small country where we have such an abundance of talent when it comes to motor sport, and we still have Dario winning championships, and we also have the younger generation. I don't know what it is we brew in the water over there, but it's something to be part of. It's special for me to be part of a winning team and something as huge as the 24 Hours of Daytona. It's something special to give something back to Scotland. I've had lots of good press over the years when things have been rough for me over the past couple years, so maybe a little bit of payback to everybody.
Q: Ryan, during one of the press conferences prior to your win, you mentioned you had the option to go with Starworks, who you'll be with for the reason, or race with the Action Express team for the Rolex 24. Looking at how a driver's career comes down to which decision to make, how does this go down in the I'm glad I chose this one category for you?
RYAN DALZIEL: I have my dartboard at home that has my lucky and non-lucky side. For whatever reason, it hit the right decision that day.
I don't think really anybody, probably my wife and my brother, know how difficult it was for me to make that decision. You know, Peter has been loyal to me. He is a good friend. He might have actually been the final decision maker. He was the one that told me to go do this, which I think says a lot for somebody like him who doesn't want to see their No. 1 driver go and do this.
It was a collective decision he made. The Starworks program, I believe in it as far as the long run, but I also know that Daytona wasn't going to be a winning effort for them. I expected them to be quick, but I also knew the opportunity to drive with Action Express was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. It's being offered to drive at LeMans, whether you're in a fast car or slow car, you take it. When I did get involved initially with Action Express, it was tight-lipped at that point. It was going to be Action Express. I assumed it was going to be a two-car effort. As the progression went through, I heard Action Express, I heard who was involved in it, especially when I heard the driver lineup, I never knew who the third driver was going to be, I knew it was to going to be Terry, and I knew who the next driver decisions were going to be. To be honest, I was kind of the underdog. I had to push myself pretty hard in front of Bob Johnson and Gary Nelson to get them to pick me over some people that had slightly bigger names.
I'm pretty proud of myself that I managed to convince them that I was the right guy for the decision. And I think that one of the reasons that I maybe wasn't always in contention for these kind of seats is because I didn't have a major win under my belt.
I think things are going to be different now. I really do appreciate everything that Peter allowed me to do. He was one of the first guys on the phone to me. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. It's been one of those dream situations that will never happen again, to have the option that I had to be able to leave your full-time team to go and drive for somebody like Action Express and know afterwards no matter what happens you still have your ride. I don't think it's ever going to happen that way again, but I'm happy that it happened this time.
Q: I was watching from trackside as much as I could from about midnight to 7 a.m. What you were able to do with your car was just an a different level from anyone else on the track, not just the speed, but the consistent speed you were able to drive was on a different level. Knowing many of the drivers on the team were familiar with the Riley flat six configuration, tell me how you were able to be so fast, so convincing and confident with the Porsche V8 behind you?
RYAN DALZIEL: I was going to add it was purely down to the skill of the drivers. I think we're both going to say something similar, so I'll let Terry take this one.
TERRY BORCHELLER: I don't know that any of us on the team, other than maybe Gary Nelson, thought that we actually could be as competitive as we were, only because of how many things were coming together late. There just was a lot of unknowns.
But I would agree with Ryan, him saying it jokingly, but the driver pairing that we had was really special, I think. I've been to LeMans five times, and I've done Daytona a lot. I really do think, and it's not even about the fastest four guys on the planet, but it's about four guys that can leave their egos at the door and realize they're all there because they're good and because they're supposed to be there and focus at the job at hand and not always be so concerned about the watch.
There's definitely a time to be concerned about lap times, but with the 24 Hour, it's such a different race than anything else we do in Grand-Am. I think the four of us were able to get to that level. I didn't know Ryan that well going into the weekend. I got to know him a lot more, and have grown to like him a lot more and respect him a lot more than I ever did just because I didn't know him that well. Rocky I've driven with before and Joao I've driven with before. I would take that thinking and that team and put it right into the team.
We had a lot of adversity. Not that it was seen necessarily from the outside, especially when it first started originating, with the clutch happening on the first pit stop, I left the pits, the clutch won't engage, I'm thinking we're going to deal with this for the rest of the race, we're in big trouble, we got 23 hours to go here. The team was just amazing in how they knew the job that needed to be done. They were able to come together at the right time without losing time and with the ability to think about the race in the back of their mind always continuing going on and yet get the problem solved. I thought that was an incredible assembly of people. Really that's at the core and the heart of sports car racing. It is about the people.
We just had a wonderful group from the very top all the way down. I'm guessing that the drivers are probably on the bottom of the totem pole because we're the easiest to replace. But from the top of the pole all the way down, we just had a pretty amazing assembly of people that were able to go against the odds and overcome adversity and be there on the top at the end. The more I think about it, the more special the win becomes.
Q: Ryan, the Franchittis are known for sending their friends home with Cadbury chocolate. Did they pile you up with chocolate after the win?
RYAN DALZIEL: I hope my wife isn't listening, she'll be mad. I am going to Scotland this weekend. We don't race for a month or so. I'm going to go back to Scotland and celebrate for a month and pig out and eat everything I shouldn't.
Q: My question has to do with going with a new team. There has to be some concern in your mind that maybe not everything will come together, then maybe practice may have made you think about second-guessing your decision to do that, just the way it played out. Was it Gary Nelson or Bob Johnson? What were the sparks that made you go with that and contributed to the success of this arrangement?
RYAN DALZIEL: You know, I think I've been involved now a couple of times over the year with first-time teams, teams in a new series. For this opportunity, I never looked at it as a first-time team or a new team. There was so much experience still involved in Action Express. I think Gary Nelson is kind of at the head of the line for that, but it trickles down through the crew chief and the crew. One thing I said in press conference, which I'm in awe about, is in our pit stops through the race, whether we did just tires, we did just fuel, we did a driver change, or we made repairs to the car, never once did we have a delay, never once did we have somebody miss putting the wheel on the hub properly. I've never even seen that. Even when you watch some of the best LeMans teams, when you watch Ganassi, Ganassi is always at the top of the line. I think consistently we were quicker than them and consistently we made no mistakes.
Yeah, the car was great. Everything was good on track. On the last pit stop, it was crucial we lost no time. We beat Ganassi on the last pit stop by four seconds. I think I was never worried about it. I think we all thought going into the race we're going to be reliable, we'll be there at the end, maybe we won't have the pace.
Q: You were given the Rolex watch. Are you wearing it?
TERRY BORCHELLER: I can answer this. I'm not looking at Ryan. He's wearing it. Am I right, Ryan?
Q: Terry, are you wearing yours?
TERRY BORCHELLER: Of course.
Q: Which one are you wearing?
TERRY BORCHELLER: I'm wearing the black face, the one I won.
RYAN DALZIEL: I'm back on.
TERRY BORCHELLER: I told them, Ryan, I'm not sitting with you, but I can answer the question that you're wearing it.
RYAN DALZIEL: I didn't hear the question. The only thing that got me out of bed on Monday morning was to go to the jewelers and get the watch looked at. It's been welded to my wrist since then.
Q: Terry, you mentioned earlier about picking a team. How do you know this is the team? And how can you tell during the course of the 24 hours that this team is coming together and it's going to maximize the potential?
TERRY BORCHELLER: Well, I'm not a hundred percent sure I understand your question. But I'm going to shoot from the hip.
For me, with the drivers in particular, Joao, I don't know how well the people -- I think the fans are getting to know him pretty well, and the racing community probably knows him very well. Zero baggage, zero ego. Down-to-earth, basically wants to race kind of guy. To start with him as our lead driver, I think that trickles down because, again, I've known Rocky and raced with Rocky, and he's the same. I didn't know Ryan that well going into the race weekend. But spending the weekend with him, I can tell you he's the same. I'd like to think that I'm in that same vein.
So when you have everybody on the same page without apparently agendas, you have your agendas for the team, the win, what you're supposed to do, but I think that's the key.
Then as far as the assembly of the people, obviously the drivers rarely have anything to do with that. On occasion we'll get a call as far as a reference or whatever. Gary has done a really good job. Even before Gary stepped in as the team manager, Bob Snodgrass was that kind of guy with Brumos. That's where the pinnacle of Action Express started, was with the formation of the two-car Brumos team. When Bob Johnson decided to start up Action Express, he saw the quality of the people on that second car and didn't want to lose that continuity.
Again, there is a lot of to say about the continuity of people and the way that they work together or not. I just think that we had that firing on all cylinders, from the drivers, the team, crew, management, everything. It was just hitting on all cylinders. It made for a special weekend for a lot of people.
Q: When did you notice when that was coming together? Was that before the race started or sometime during the race? If it happened during the race, talk about that.
TERRY BORCHELLER: No, I think again for me, I've got to look prior to Action Express because I've been involved with Brumos. I think the first time I drove with them was end of the season, which was the Utah race in 2007. That was my involvement with Brumos. I had beaten them for the championship in 2003 for the inaugural championship, so I think there was a little bit of a bad taste in their mouth with regards to me. They were kind of between a rock and a hard place at the end of 2007 and needed me -- I happened to be at the right place at the right time. I had a real good friendship with Darren and Hurley. They asked me to drive that last race with them. They already had Joao under contract for 2008.
But I was able to come in and run that race. Then they invited me to do the 24 Hour, which was going to be the next race for the beginning of 2008 as a guest driver. Whenever I went into that race, I went into the team meeting, which they had the day before the weekend was going to start. To answer your question, I think this is kind of where the light went on for me. Whenever they stood up in front of the team meeting and said we've assembled the best people in the business, and we already believe you're the best, that's why you're here, you don't have to prove yourself, you don't have to go out and do anything different than you've already done, you're here because we believe you are the best. When they said that, it really settled me down in thinking that I had something to prove, really enabled me to relax, do my job. We've had a great result every year. That first year in 2008 was a little rough. But 2009 as a team we finished first and third. Then this year with splitting the Brumos program to one car, then Action Express forming, us having with Action Express a win, it goes a long way just talking about the people that are assembled in that group.
Q: When you look at a team do you look at the car, the people in the background, the front office, the drivers? What's the one thing that stands out above the rest?
TERRY BORCHELLER: Well, again, it's so hard to pick one thing. I've been asked this question a lot, people that are wanting to form a racing program or team. There's a lot of times they're asking my advice. It really is like a big puzzle. You know, it's not a mystery. It's not a secret. It's just a lot of hard work and a lot of good people.
You know, I don't know that you can point to one specific direction. You got to have it all to win championships and to win races like the Rolex 24. It's just a very special thing when you're able to do it.
Then when you get it all right, you still need a little bit of racing luck because we're not the only team in the paddock that had that going on. There's a lot of competition going on. The Ganassi guys are incredible, SunTrust, just an immense amount of depth in the field. I'm sure I missed quite a few. There wasn't one team out there that didn't have some of the pieces to the puzzle, and some of them actually had all the pieces, they just didn't have the racing luck this weekend and we did.
That's a tough question to pinpoint one specific thing because it's not an easy task.
Continued in part 2