Daytona 24: Synergy Racing race report

Synergy Racing endures grueling Rolex 24 At Daytona to take checkered flag DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 29, 2006) -- Synergy Racing endured a grueling Rolex 24 At Daytona to see three of its five entries take the checkered flag in what officials...

Synergy Racing endures grueling Rolex 24 At Daytona to take checkered flag

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 29, 2006) -- Synergy Racing endured a grueling Rolex 24 At Daytona to see three of its five entries take the checkered flag in what officials are calling one of the most aggressive and contact-filled sports car races ever seen. Only 37 of the 66 cars that started race were able to make it to the checkered flag 24 hours later.

No. 81 Porsche leads team with 17th-place finish

Synergy Racing's No. 81 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup led the team's effort with its 17th-place finish in the GT class. Danny Marshall, of Danville, Va., was at the wheel of the No. 81 Porsche when it completed its 589th lap to take the checkered flag.

"It's pretty special to do this--just to be here and participate and especially to take the checkered flag," Danny said. "I probably haven't taken a checkered flag at Daytona in about five years, so I forgot just how good this feels."

The No. 81 Porsche's run to the checkered flag was not an easy one, with the team taking the entry into the garage a few times for work that included suspension repair after hitting curbing and exhaust and windshield replacements. However, the Synergy crew was always determined to get the No. 81 Porsche back on track and its quintet of drivers, which included Marshall, his brother Steve Marshall of Blacksburg, Va., John Pew of North Palm Beach, Fla., Hal Prewitt of South Miami Beach, Fla., and Ben McCrackin of Corpus Christi, Texas, worked to keep the car in good condition.

"We had a few troubles through the night, but we were able to finish, and that's all we were hoping to do," said Steve, who shares ownership in Synergy Racing with his brother and Cole Scrogham. "We've got a really, really great crew. They worked their rear ends off all night. It's unbelievable all the work they put into the car."

"It's been a fantastic experience, and we were able to finish the race, which is pretty exciting. A lot of people are not finishing the race," Pew said. "The car was good. The team was fantastic, as well as the other drivers. It's been a great experience."

Prewitt, who had a scary off-track excursion when a tire blew on Sunday morning, echoed his teammates sentiment. "This was an unbelievable experience. It truly exceeded every expectation I had or ever dreamed about," he said. "There were some real highlights--a few I'd soon like to forget, especially that blow out in turn one. But I was able to do some quick thinking and save the car from getting into the wall and keep it the grass without doing any damage to the car so we could keep it in the race. To finish this is a dream come true--no matter where we finish as long as we finish."

"We weren't the fastest cars out there by a long shot, but we just stayed with our game plan, which was to stay at a pace we were comfortable with, keep the car together, keep it on track, and keep moving. And it worked," added McCrackin of the team's ability to endure.

The No. 81 Porsche, which started 60th on the overall grid, picked up 28 positions overall and 13 in the GT class during the race.

SHOES FOR CREWS® Porsche makes it to the checkered

After a demanding 24 hours, the No. 80 SHOES FOR CREW® Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with drivers Leh Keen of Dublin, Ga., David Murry of Cumming, Ga., Craig Stanton of Long Beach, Calif., and Xaiver Pomeidou, of France, was able to take the checkered flag in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the 22nd-place finish in the GT class.

The historic 24-hour event was an arduous one for the SHOES FOR CREWS® team, which persisted through clutch failure, replacing the gearbox, a broken throttle cable, and even a faulty window net. But after 299 laps, Keen was able to take the checkered flag at the wheel of the No. 80 machine.

"I'm glad we made it to the end. It was really important for our sponsor SHOES FOR CREWS®, the guys on the team and my co-driver Leh Keen to take the checkered flag at the end of the race," Murry said. "We had our share of problems. It wasn't one thing; it was a number of little teeny things like window net problems. You just don't have that sort of thing."

Keen and Murry now turn their eyes southward to Mexico where the next round of the Rolex Sports Car Series will be held and where Synergy Racing is set to debut its new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 997 race car in the SHOES FOR CREWS® livery.

"It was good to take the checkered flag. And a relief, in a way," admitted Keen. "But now I'm ready to move into our 997 and a shorter race. I'm really looking forward to Mexico City."

Team Seattle tops $2 million mark, raises $300,000

For the second year, Synergy Racing partnered with Team Seattle for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the group's charitable racing effort to raise funds for Seattle Children's Hospital. This year the team fielded two Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entries prepared by Synergy Racing, including the No. 86 Microsoft/Who's Calling Porsche of Don Kitch Jr., Chris Pennington, Don Gagne, and Chris Pallis and No. 87 Strobe Data/Kid's Country Porsche of David Gaylord, Wes and Ken Hill, and Will Diefenbach.

Unfortunately, bad luck struck the No. 86 entry when contact on track spun Kitch into the wall in the first hour of racing. The Synergy Racing crew worked for hours repairing the entry, but it suffered engine trouble upon its return to the track and was only able to complete 17 laps.

Since the group raises money for the hospital by taking per-lap pledges, and this year was running at $561 per lap, it was imperative the team's No. 87 entry continue to make laps. However, it too was sent to the garage in the second hour of racing with rear suspension damage. The Synergy Racing crew also worked feverishly to repair the No. 87 Porsche and was able return it to the track, as well. Although it suffered minor gremlins off and on, the Team Seattle entry soldiered on to complete more than 500 laps before taking the checkered flag in 20th place in the GT class.

The team was able to raise $300,000 for Seattle Children's Hospital, which put them over the $2 million mark in their 10th anniversary.

Rx.com Daytona Prototype retires after leading early

Synergy Racing retired its No. 8 Rx.com Porsche Doran Daytona Prototype early from the Rolex 24 At Daytona due to an overheating problem with the engine. The early retirement came as a tremendous disappointment to drivers Burt and Brian Frisselle, of Kihei, Hawaii, who saw their teammate Patrick Huisman lead the race overall 3.5 hours into the race.

"It's just unfortunate we had some engine issues at Daytona, but this is one of the most grueling races that you can find in the world," said Burt. "The car was phenomenally balanced. The handling was great. It was easy to drive. Mechanically, everything was perfect, we just couldn't get the engine to run the way we wanted it to. It is what it is. And in 2007, we'll be back here ready to rock."

"It was a very disappointing finish," Brian admitted. "The car was the car to win the race. If we were there at the end, we could have won the race on outright speed. I don't know how many times you can show up to Daytona and say that. This is only my second time in the Rolex 24, but I know I could not have said that last year."

-sr-

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers David Murry , Patrick Huisman , Craig Stanton , Don Kitch Jr. , David Gaylord , Steve Marshall , Danny Marshall , Ken Hill , Lehman Keen , Brian Frisselle , Don Gagne , Chris Pallis , Will Diefenbach , Ben McCrackin , Chris Pennington , Cole Scrogham , Hal Prewitt