ROBIN LIDDELL -- NO. 57 STEVENSON MOTORSPORTS CAMARO GT.R, lead in class for during both the first and second stints; but a fuel pickup problem began to plague the car. When the second pit stop was made for fuel, tires and driver change, the car would not re-fire and rolled to the garage for repairs:
WHEN DID YOU FIRST NOTICE THE FUEL PROBLEM? "I wasn't 100% confident after the previous stint. We went to reserve and even though we know we only have a limited amount of fuel left in the tank at that point, when we went to reserve, we still had some coughing where it wasn't really picking up the fuel like it should. My gut feeling sensed there was a problem then and I obviously told the guys. But when we came in and filled the tank again, everything felt good right up until the point where we had the problem again. At that point we still had about nine gallons of fuel in the car; it is not like we were out of fuel like we were before. Clearly we had enough fuel in the tank, but we were not picking it up. I lost all power coming out of turn one and could only drive back on about 10% throttle. As soon as I tried to put any throttle down, I just lost all power. I know it is not an electrical problem; it is a fuel problem. Obviously there is not a lot we can do here on pit road so had to take it back and see what we can work out there."
HOW WAS THE CAR OTHERWISE UNTIL THE PROBLEM? "The car was going was going pretty well. Ultimately we weren't quite as strong as the top Porsches when the track was hot, but when the track was cooling down, it was coming back to us. The BMW is very very strong which we expected. I think the car was running very well. Getting into the lead, at least getting the Chevrolet Camaro at the start was nice for everybody who was watching and I think after a few hours we would have still been staying in the front. Obviously very disappointed at this early stage of the race to have a problem like this where we are going to lose so much time in the pits."
MAX ANGELELLI -- NO. 10 SUNTRUST CHEVROLET DALLARA, came into the media center to give a during-race update on the team following his first turn behind the wheel of the car during which he led: "It was very hot. Inside the car, it was hot, and outside, obviously, so the tires are struggling a little bit, especially with my car. We had a set-up more towards cold weather. We were expecting cold weather, so were kind of surprised how hot it was, and therefore I struggled a little bit in the first stint. Second was much better. I could lead the race and run away. So, overall, I would say I had a good time."
IT SEEMS LIKE YOU WERE EXTREMELY PATIENT IN THE EARLY LAPS. WAS THAT THE PLAN? "I was surprised with myself, actually. The 45 was fast. This is why I said to myself, 'I have to be patient.' The 45 was extremely fast. There was no way for me to get around him. He had a good top speed. And tried at the beginning, the first two, three laps, but then I gave up. But, it's 24 hours."
DO YOU THINK THIS PACE CAN BE SUSTAINED FOR THE 24 HOURS, OR DO YOU THINK THEY'RE GOING TO BACK IT UP A LITTLE BIT? "I'm 100-percent convinced people will go faster, because of the heat. It's going to be cooler, cars go faster. You have fresh drivers. It's going to be faster than this one, for sure."
CAN A GOOD START LIKE THIS SET THE STAGE FOR A RACE THAT IS SO LONG? "Definitely. It makes it easier for us, for the other drivers, and psychologically more difficult for the competitors because they see a car that is running away. Psychologically, it is heavy for the other competitors. So, yes, it can set the tone."
AS A DRIVER, GOING FIRST, ARE YOU PERHAPS A LITTLE MORE CAUTIOUS BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO PUT YOUR TEAMMATES IN A HOLE? "No, I'm actually pretty relaxed when I'm first because I'm leading the race, I command the race."
ALEX GURNEY -- NO. 99 GAINSCO/BOB STALLINGS RACING CHEVROLET RILEY, came into the media center to give a during-race update on the team following his first turn behind the wheel of the car:
HOW DID THE FIRST SHOT GO FOR YOU OUT THERE? "It was ok. Definitely a lot of adventure and not a lot of guys racing like it is 24 hours I don't think. Not too bad for us. We had an issue with the right rear tire. Had a very large blister on the right rear, so, we had to take a pretty conservative approach during the stint and I eased off quite a bit in the second stint to try and take care of that tire. Had one incident where I came up behind a GT car in the chicane and he moved to the right, right when that cone had been knocked out into the middle of the road and I just clipped it with my right front, which was unfortunate. That was my only incident. The car is running ok, seemed to be kind of reasonably in the mix of the pace apart from maybe the No. 01 and maybe the No. 10. A long way to go, everything is going ok."
WHEN ARE YOU SLATED TO GET BACK IN THE CAR? "I think both Jimmie Johnson and Jon (Fogarty) are going to do doubles (two fuel runs), so four hours from now or so. We made an adjustment at the pit stop for Jimmie with the right rear, so we'll see. We lost some time in the pits, but I think he is up to seventh again. Just keep it running."
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM IS WITH THE RIGHT REAR TIRES? "Well, we had been debating something on our setup and I think we were a little too aggressive with the way we set up the cambers, maybe the bars, things like that. Maybe we just missed it a bit. And also, I think the track is pretty greasy, for a lot of guys it is difficult to put the power down. I think we saw the No. 02 blow a right rear, so the track, for whatever reason is putting a load into that butt-end."
YOU SAID A LOT OF GUYS ARE RACING LIKE IT IS NOT 24 HOURS, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS THE CASE? "It is just the usual deal. I feel like it is that way every year here. The first two or three hours, everyone is crazy and driving in the dirt and doing crazy things. It is just a function of just a lot of nerves. We all seem silly after 16 or 17 hours or something."
DOES THE HEAT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT SINCE YOU GUYS HAVEN'T RUN IN THESE TEMPERATURES EVEN BACK AT THE TEST? AND ALSO, DO YOU JUST KIND OF HANG ON IN THE DARK AND THEN IN THE MORNING WHEN IT IS GOING TO BE HOT AGAIN TOMORROW, WILL YOU GUYS BE READY TO MAKE THE ADJUSTMENTS YOU WILL NEED FOR THE EIGHT OR NINE HOURS TOMORROW? "Yes, I think it is definitely the heat. I think at Homestead, we had a chance to test in the heat a little bit and maybe that is a spot they are working on still with the tire. The test was pretty cool. It is probably hotter than it has been and it is catching a few guys out. We hope we have made the right adjustments. We will be chasing it a lot. But, as long as you are pitted under yellow, you can make some pretty big adjustments; you have time to do that so we are going to take advantage of that."
WERE YOU HAVING TO MANAGE YOUR USE OF THE TIRES? WAS KYLE (BRANNAN, RACE ENGINEER) TELLING YOU TO BE AS EASY WITH THEM AS POSSIBLE? "Yes, he was. He kept saying that all the time. It is hard to do that and still keep up a reasonable pace but I was definitely trying not to lean into the throttle hard leaving the corners because you can really built the temp pretty quick doing that. Yes, he was pushing that all the time."
THIS TIME OF DAY WITH THE SUN GOING DOWN, IS THIS A PARTICULARLY TOUGH STRETCH FOR A DRIVER WITH THE SUN IN HIS EYES? "Yes, definitely. Going into turn one and going into the kink, it is definitely very hard to see and I think it kind of a big relief when the sun is finally gone down because it is hard to see. You have the windshields with dirt and oil all over them and guys are putting dirt and grass everywhere so it is a lot more than the glare. It is the glare and those things. Definitely it is difficult with the visibility and it is nice when the sun finally goes down."
-source: team chevy