DOUG YATES PROUD OF ROUSH YATES ENGINE PERFORMANCE SO FAR AT 24 HOURS AT DAYTONA
Daytona Beach, Fla.(January 28, 2011) - The historic Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is set to begin tomorrow at Daytona International Speedway where a record eight entries will carry a Roush Yates-powered engine. With four Fords qualifying in the top 10, and strong testing and practice runs, chances are good that the Roush Yates engines will power those eight teams to the front. Doug Yates, CEO of Roush Yates Engines, sat down to answer a few questions prior to the race, here's what he had to say.
Q: There are four Roush Yates engines starting in the top 10 in tomorrow's 24 Hours at Daytona and three of the four beat the old track record. What are your thoughts on that?
A: I'm excited, this is our ninth season racing and competing in the 24 Hours at Daytona and it's a classic race. It's just an awesome feeling to be part of it. In the past we've been really fast there and to have four guys starting in the top 10 is great. You always want to start well and I think qualifying was really close. I think there was a couple tenths separating the first five spots and that's really competitive for a track the size of Daytona, to have guys qualifying that tight, so I'm looking forward to seeing if we can compete and be there on the lead lap at the end of the race. It's a good start.
Q: How closely do you work with teams when preparing an engine for an event like this?
A: Well it's a very competitive series and we're very fortunate at Roush Yates to have John Maddox (road racing program manager) and Jon Giles (director of operations - performance engine group) and his crew to be working on this project. The same group of guys have been working on this project for nine seasons now. Continually developing the engine is part of the culture here at Roush Yates and those guys have done a great job. The competitive balance that NASCAR tries to keep in the series, going back to how tight the qualifying is, is evident. So any little advantage is something that we strive for and we're proud to be able to do.
Q: What are some of the differences between this year's engine and last year's?
A: We have continual development and one of the things that we do here, and are fortunate to have, is a dynamometer that we can run 24 hour endurances. That's something that most people don't know. The fans out there that follow Ford racing and our teams don't know that we have it. Every winter we come up with our new package and then we run it for 24 hours on our dynamometer here. We then take it apart and inspect the components and make sure it looks good and it's good to go. It's a grueling test for the guys that run the dyno but usually it takes two days and here in the shop it's like living at the race track because you pretty much know where you are on the track by listening to the sound. But that's something that we do. We have a new specification for this year's Daytona race and then after this race NASCAR has allowed some rule changes where the injection manifold can change where we'll have an eight-stack set-up so that is soon to come. After we get through the 24 Hours we'll be moving on to a new injection package that looks real exciting for us.
Q: What does it mean to you to have a record eight engines in the field for this year's 24 Hours at Daytona?
A: I'm really proud of our guys and I'm really proud of Ford Motor Company's efforts to go race at Daytona. The first year we started out there the series was brand new. It was Jim France's vision to have a really competitive, equal series and really good racing at Daytona so we listened to Jim and Ford got on board and we went down there the first year and actually sat on the pole with our car and won our class. So to be doing this nine years later and to have eight cars in the field, which I believe is about half the field, is something we are really proud of and I believe it shows our commitment to road racing and to Grand-Am racing. Hopefully we can carry this on and continue this effort in the future.
Q: Starworks Motorsport switched to a Roush Yates engine this year - which includes last year's 24 Hour winner, Ryan Dalziel. What does that mean for Roush Yates Engines?
A: That is the ultimate compliment in this competitive environment. When people have a really good product and they feel like they can switch to our product and actually have better performance, it really speaks volumes about the work that John Maddox and his team have done continually. Not only building engines here at the facility but the service they give at the track and that relationship between our trackside support and the team is something that I think is an advantage for us as a team at Roush Yates. Our business is based on people and their dedication to the program and we definitely have that. That's something that we're very fortunate to have.
Q: Ford was at the top of the speed charts during the test a week ago and in last night's practice (Thursday) five of the top five teams had a Roush Yates engine. Including the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian team, which was the fastest. What do you think the chances are that we'll see a Roush Yates engine in victory lane?
A: As an engine builder and racer there's events that stand out and are very special. One being the Daytona 500 and another being the 24 Hours at Daytona. That would be a really special moment if we could win overall with one of our teams. This year to have five guys really fast in practice is a good sign. We are committed to the series and it would be a huge moment for us as a company if and when we win another 24 Hours.
Q: Does the general public have the ability to buy some of the same high performing parts and pieces that they will see on the Ford's this weekend at the 24 Hours at Daytona?
A: The engine that we run at the 24 Hours at Daytona is an engine from a street car. It came right off our production line so all of that technology whether it's a complete engine or its parts and components off those engines, are available to the public through Roush Yates Performance Products (www.roushyatesparts.com). The technology we're developing to go racing could be transferred to your car or your neighbor's car so that's pretty special. That's something that as Roush Yates is growing as an organization, we want to make sure we're doing a better job of letting everyone know that you can buy this technology and we're proud to do that. And the reason we do that is our technology is always moving forward.
-source: roush yates engines