DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 5, 2002) -- Good fatherly advice has helped to guide Cass Whitehead in a successful racing career. When Cass first started racing his father told him, "in order to finish first, you first must finish," and ever since he has tried to do just that. Although Cass and his ACEMCO teammates missed the first half of the season, they have made up ground with several strong finishes. Cass and the ACEMCO team have had four top-five GT finishes in five races. The biggest accomplishment for this new team may have come when Cass and co-drivers B.J. Zacharias and Jeffry Giangrande claimed a spot on the overall podium at Mont-Tremblant. The team took third overall while posting a second-place GT finish. Mont-Tremblant was not the only GT podium for the team; they also captured a second-place finish in the VIR 500. While ACEMCO is a new team to the Rolex Series, Cass Whitehead has many years of experience and good advice to guide him.
Series - Rolex Sports Car Series
Team - ACEMCO Motorsports
Class - Grand Touring (GT)
Car - #26 Porsche GT3 RS
Crew Chief - Ron Mack
Co-Drivers - B.J. Zacharias, Jeffry Giangrande
Date of Birth - February 13, 1965
Hometown - Gainsville, Ga.
Spouse - Susan
2002 GT FINISHES
* Six Hours of the Glen - 4th
* Jani-King Paul Revere 250 - 4th
* Bully Hill Vineyards 250 - 6th
* VIR 500 - 2nd
* 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant - 2nd (3rd overall)
IN HIS OWN WORDS...
When did you being racing?
I began racing in 1985 in the Sports Car Club of American (SCCA) with all Formula cars for the first few years.
Being an experienced driver, what advice would you give to a young driver?
The best advice I could give would be to get as much experience as you possibly can and to try and put yourself in a car that is capable of doing well. I think too many drivers compromise when they drive a car that's not capable of doing well because then they never know if it's them or the car.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue racing professionally?
I probably knew when I was in high school. I was always a car nut, and I actually started racing right when I started college. It's something that I always wanted to do.
How did you get involved with the Rolex Series?
I guess it was through my association with ACEMCO Motorsports and our team owner Jeffry Giangrande. We determined that racing a Porsche in the Rolex Series this year would be our best situation. We did race a Lola SportsRacing Prototype II car in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2001, so that was our first experience and we finished third.
Which track is your favorite? Why?
I would say that my favorite track in the Rolex Series is Mont-Tremblant. That was an amazing place; one of the classic road courses in the world. I would say that my favorite overall would be a tie between Laguna Seca and Mosport. Those tracks are very exciting and challenging.
What is your most memorable moment of the 2002 season?
I would have to say our most memorable moment this season would have to be finishing third overall at Mont-Tremblant. Finishing second in class and third overall with a GT car was a pretty amazing accomplishment in a six-hour race.
Who has been the greatest influence on your racing career?
What really made me excited about racing when I was kid was watching Formula racing and watching people like Alain Prost. Prost was always one of my favorites, because he was considered the professor. He was a very analytical and technical driver. Because I have the mechanical background, his approach has always appealed to me.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
When I first started racing my father told me that there was one thing that he knew about racing. He said that in order to finish first, you first must finish. He said that no matter what you do, concentrate on finishing every race. That has served me well, especially in endurance racing.
What are your plans for the off-season?
We are preparing for next year. We are not certain what we are going to be doing yet. We don't know if we will be running the Porsche yet or another car, but we will be doing some more testing with the Porsche. As an instructor I am constantly teaching and driving already, so I'm going to try to stay fit so that next year I'll be ready to go.
What hobbies do you have outside of racing?
I really enjoy snow skiing and waterskiing, and doing outdoor things like hiking and climbing.
What expectations did you have entering the Rolex Series?
This year we got off to a slow start because of getting cars delivered. We ended up missing the first half of the season. Once we got started and discovered we had a car and a team that could do really well our expectation was to finish the races. My expectation was to be the first Porsche in everything we do, whether it be practice, qualifying or racing. We always try to be the fastest Porsche on the track.
What is the most challenging part of being a new team?
The most difficult part of putting together a new team is really putting the right people together. It's all about the team and the dynamics between the team members. We have created over the past year absolutely the best group of people that I have ever been involved with in motorsports. We've put together eight core members that are absolutely, 100 percent compatible and they all do excellent jobs.
What goals have you set for yourself and the team?
For myself, my goal is to win races and win championships. For the team, I think our goal is to progress and to put ourselves in a position to be on the podium.
Is there anything you would like to say to the ACEMCO fans?
Thank you for your support. Without the fans being interested and supporting it none of us would be able to do this, so thank you for the team and myself.