DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 4, 2002) -- Max Papis clocked the fastest lap of day during the late afternoon session of the Rolex 24 At Daytona January Test Days at Daytona International Speedway, beating the qualifying track record set by James Weaver at the 2000 Rolex 24. Papis clocked a 1:40.818 lap time, 0.194 seconds faster than Weaver's record. "We are developing the car, and we are doing the maximum that we can do," Papis said. "The car has very good potential. Being the fastest is always something important, because it reminds everybody who makes the rules here."
Terry Borcheller beat the SRPII qualifying record in the Rand Racing #8 Nissan Lola with his 1:46.750 lap, and Darin Brassfield topped the American GT record in the #29 Mustang of Sky Blue Racing with a 1:50.616. The fastest GT lap of the day was recorded by Marino Franchetti in the #57 Porsche GT3 R of Seikel Motorsports. Paul Gentilozzi continued to dominate the GTS class with his quickest lap being a 1:47.375.
Team Seattle Saleen in Severe Accident
The Team Seattle #53 Saleen S7R was in a severe accident during the early afternoon practice session today. David Bingham, father of 2001 GTS driver champion Chris Bingham, was behind the wheel of the Saleen as it entered turn one. Bingham drifted high, clipping the rear left wheel of the passing #8 Nissan Lola of Rand Racing. Witness to the accident reported that it appeared Bingham hit the throttle instead of the brake when he swerved to miss the Nissan Lola, sending the Saleen up over guardrail that separates the track and pit exit.
"The status of the car is that we managed to fly it over a guardrail while testing it," crew chief Sid Collins said. "Consequently we have some damage to the right front and some right rear suspension. It's very fixable. The Saleen, Park Place and Troy Sport groups will have the car back together.
"Unfortunately it will have to go California to the manufacturer of the S7 - Steve Saleen's facility - to be put back together. But their whole team is ready to respond with parts already being ordered to be ready for the car to arrive next Tuesday from Daytona. It will be repaired, and we'll be ready to race."
Bingham was transport to Halifax Memorial Hospital as a precautionary measure after complaining of back pain. The hospital reports that he has a fracture to his L3 vertebrae and is still being evaluated, however they expect to release him later this evening.
Robby Gordon Happy to be Back with Riley & Scott
After capturing victories at the Rolex 24 At Daytona four times, Robby Gordon is happy to be back behind the wheel of a Riley & Scott at Daytona. "I've raced the 24 hours of Daytona four times. We've won four times. But it's been ten years," Gordon said shortly after arriving in Daytona for this weekend's test. "I'm looking forward to getting back into doing it. I'm living here on the east coast now, so it makes it a little bit easier to do when you're here -- to buzz down to Daytona and run. Jim Matthews talked to me back in Indianapolis and said if you're interested, we'd love to have you come down and play. So, I took him up on his offer. I'm going to have fun."
Gordon arrived in Daytona today and got behind the wheel of the factory Riley & Scott entry for the first time in the late afternoon testing session.
Robinson Racing Packs Up Early After Late Thursday Wreck
Robinson Racing had to pack up early to head home from test days after the collision it was involved in during the late afternoon practice on Thursday. IRL driver Steve Knapp was behind the wheel of the #74 Judd Riley & Scott Mark III-C when he when he missed the kink and lost control of the car, hitting the #20 Riley & Scott of Dyson Racing Team.
The Robinson team had made several major changes to its new Riley & Scott prior to this weekend's test, including an entirely new nose for the car. However, driver Jack Baldwin reports that all the new parts were prototypes, and will have to be recreated back in the shop. "The car was running great with the new changes. I was really happy with where we were," Baldwin said. "But they are going to have to work day and night between now and the race to get it back there."