Spirit of Daytona Opens Rolex 24 Weekend With Career-Best Qualifying Effort
DAYTONA BEACH, FL: When Spirit of Daytona unloaded at Daytona International Speedway earlier this week, the team knew they came into Rolex 24 weekend with arguably their best DP package yet. After spending each of the weekend's first two practice sessions comfortably in the top 10, they confirmed that belief Thursday afternoon by recording a career-best 6th place overall qualifying position for the prestigious endurance race.
Third-year driver Antonio Garcia of Spain piloted the No. 90 Chevrolet/Coyote for the 15-minute qualifying session, posting a best lap of 1:40.396 seconds (127.654 mph) just 0.297 seconds off the pole-winning time set by Jorg Bergmeister of Flying Lizard Motorsports.
"The good thing is that we didn't have just one good lap, we were pretty consistent throughout the whole session," said Garcia, who won the Rolex 24 in 2009 for Brumos Racing. "I'm happy that everything we've done so far we were able to back up. It's a great start to the season that's for sure."
Team owner/manager Troy Flis echoed Garcia's statements about the impressive start to the weekend, adding the switch to Chevrolet and hard work throughout the offseason is what attributed to the gain in speed.
"Our goal was to make the top 7 so that's another goal we can cross off the list. The weekend so far has gone as planned. It's been very uneventful which is exactly what you want," he said. "Last year we had a car that was two seconds off the pace. That's a big gain to make from one year to the next. We made big strides and that's what this team is all about. We hope to come out of the race with a top 5 finish. That would be a great start to the season."
Spirit of Daytona will roll off the grid 6th on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.