Daytona 24: A Sewing Machine and a Clothes Dryer?

Preparation Is Vital this Weekend as The Doran-Lista Racing Team Tackles the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona LEBANON, Ohio, Jan. 29 -- The packing list for Doran-Lista's Daytona effort: One Doran-Lista Racing Dallara Judd race car, 27. (check) One...

Preparation Is Vital this Weekend as The Doran-Lista Racing Team Tackles the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

LEBANON, Ohio, Jan. 29 -- The packing list for Doran-Lista's Daytona effort:

One Doran-Lista Racing Dallara Judd race car, 27. (check)
One spare Judd engine. (check)
One spare gearbox. (check)
Assorted spare parts. (check)
All the mechanical equipment and tools the crew will need. (check)
A sewing machine and clothes dryer. (check)

A sewing machine and clothes dryer?
Yes, those were two of the many items that were tucked away in the Lista cabinets in the Doran-Lista Racing transporter yesterday as it pulled out of the team headquarters in Lebanon, Ohio and headed for this weekend's Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway, the most famous endurance sports car race in North America.

The team is one of the favorites to win this weekend's race. Besides the stellar reputation of team manager Kevin Doran and its four drivers Mauro Baldi, Fredy Lienhard, Max Papis and Didier Theys the Doran-Lista Racing team set an unofficial new track record during a three-day test at Daytona earlier this month.

But 24 hours is a long time for any high-speed equipment to hold up under racing conditions. Add to that the fact that several different classes of cars will be on the track simultaneously in the Rolex 24, running many different speeds, and it's easy to see that this event is more about endurance, preservation and consistency than anything. Throw into the equation good old-fashioned human and mechanical error, and it's easy to see why this race is so challenging and so exciting.

Although everyone on the Doran-Lista Racing team realizes that the old saying "Anything can and probably will happen" is very true, everyone on the team has been hard at work preparing for every challenge they will face in this test of man and machine. The star of the show is of course the Doran-Lista Dallara Judd #27, a red and white race car with the blue logo of its primary sponsor, Lista, the worldwide leader in the manufacture and distribution of modular drawer systems.

It takes a great deal of personnel, equipment and preparation to even attempt this race, let alone be contenders. And while Kevin Doran and the team's crew concentrate on the mechanical end of things, Kevin's wife, Suzanne, and her assistant, Dee Drook, have been busy assembling all the other supplies that the team will need in the four days of practice, qualifying and competition that will make up the 40th annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Counting the four drivers, the crew and the support personnel, there will be approximately 40 people working on the Doran-Lista Racing team this weekend. They'll arrive in Daytona Beach by air or various forms of land transportation. Once they're in Florida, they'll use 21 hotel rooms and they'll get to the track each day via a dozen rental vehicles.

One semi-tractor trailer carries the bulk of the equipment, but in addition the team is using a dually with a 32-foot trailer to carry hospitality supplies to service the team and its guests. After it's emptied of its supplies, the trailer will be set up as a massage room for the drivers to use between stints of the race.

Three motor homes round out the convoy carrying the hospitality supplies, which were all organized by Suzanne Doran and Drook.

"Dee has been assisting me at the races since 1996, but she's now a full-time employee of Doran Enterprises," Suzanne said before leaving for Florida. "After working together for seven seasons, having her as a full-time member of our team has made this year's preparations a breeze."

With all their years of previous experience, these two ladies have high-speed camping down to an art. Their expertise is crucial to having an "as smooth as can be expected" race. After all, among other things they'll be in charge of the preparation of some 520 meals on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and they're bringing along three coffee pots to keep everyone rolling on this ultimate of all-nighters.

And the sewing machine and clothes dryer?

The first is for applying the various patches on the drivers' and crew's uniforms that invariably become both available and mandatory at a season opener. The latter is for drying the driver's uniforms between stints, which came in very handy last year when a good portion of the race was held in the rain.

Suzanne Doran's list of supplies for this weekend follows:

Three motor homes (The motor homes, etc. take up three spaces in the drivers/owners parking lot and one space in the Blue RV hospitality area)
One 15 x 30 ft. tent, with lights
One massage table and supplies
Two electric heaters for the massage trailer
One dryer
One sewing machine
Two propane heaters for the hospitality tent
A portable generator for the hospitality area
A TV and satellite dish for the hospitality area
Propane tanks (50 gallons of propane)
10 garbage cans
Garbage bags
One three-well hot tray
One cold tray
Five round tables for hospitality
20 chairs
Three serving tables
Five large coolers
Three coffee pots
One espresso machine
1,000 Styrofoam cups
500 dinner plates
1,000 forks
1,000 knives
1,000 spoons
300 bowls
500 desert plates
600 cups of coffee
Five 40-lbs. bags of ice per day for four days, equaling 800 lbs. of ice
Twenty extension cords
Serving utensils
Serving baskets
Tablecloths and skirts
Snacks
15 cases of water
Five cases of Gatorade
25 cases of soda
To-go boxes
Marketing and PR supplies
200 T-shirts
200 sweatshirts
200 hats
Raincoats for the team
Umbrellas for the team
Crew shirts and pants
Radios and scanners
Firesuits for the four drivers and the pit crew
Advil and Tylenol Sinus

-dlr/lm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Didier Theys , Max Papis , Fredy Lienhard , Kevin Doran