NASCAR/Grand-Am Teleconference Transcript: John McCutchen, Chris Dyson And Davy Jones August 31, 2010 An Interview With: JOHN McCUTCHEN CHRIS DYSON DAVY JONES THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon and welcome to the special edition NASCAR GRAND-AM...
NASCAR/Grand-Am Teleconference Transcript: John McCutchen, Chris Dyson And Davy Jones
August 31, 2010
An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon and welcome to the special edition NASCAR GRAND-AM teleconference with the exciting news, a new Daytona prototype team as we get ready for the September 11 season-ending Utah 250 in Salt Lake City. We are pleased to be joined by Chris Dyson, the vice president and sporting director of Dyson Racing, and drivers Davy Jones and John McCutchen.
Chris, Dyson Racing won the first three team championships after the Rolex Series began competition in 2000, and you missed the driver's championship in 2002 by only two points after you won five races.
Chris, we are very excited to learn more about Dyson racing's long-rumored return to the GRAND-AM Rolex Series; can you tell us a little bit about what we are going to expect to see at Salt Lake City?
CHRIS DYSON: First of all, it's great to be back and great to speak with you, and I'm delighted to be joining you with Davy and John.
We are very enthusiastic about bringing in an additional program into our shop and re-joining the Rolex Series for the Utah round. Like you said, we have got a great history of competing in the Rolex Series, and we have got a great record of success in some of the most important races that the series has, have a lot of affection for the people involved, and we think we have got a tremendous package that we'll be able to take out and hopefully establish a nice framework for, you know, going forward in the future and bringing an additional program into our facility.
THE MODERATOR: John McCutchen, Godstone Ranch Motorsports partnered with the veteran GT team in this year's Rolex 24 Daytona to showcase the Texas Heart Institute. You also ran a few races in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Please tell us why you decided to move up to the Daytona prototype class with Dyson Racing.
JOHN McCUTCHEN: Thank you for having us on and really appreciate being able to showcase Texas Heart Institute. The first time I thought about running a prototype was the third time I got dive-bombed at Daytona at night.
About midseason, we noticed that the prototypes of are the star of the show, as they should be, and of course, if we are going to showcase a charity, you know, you need to know -- people need to know about it, and the only way for them to know about it is to drive the marquis cars.
So we started working on trying to put together a program. We really wanted to do kind of the last three races of the season and it was just a little bit too ambitious for us to get that done, and then we managed to find the Lola and of course Dyson through Davy Jones, and that was an absolutely home run idea from the get-go. Who would not want to be involved with the racing royalty of Dyson?
And obviously I'm prejudiced but I think the Lola is the sexiest looking prototype out there and certainly one of the quickest. It made all kinds of sense for us. We are the amateurs, Godstone Ranch Motorsports is, but Dyson is not, and the master, Davy Jones, is anything but an amateur.
So to be able to partner with a team with that kind of experience is exactly perfect for people like us who are new to this game.
THE MODERATOR: Davy, you group up in McGraw, New York, not far from Rob Dyson's home in Poughkeepsie, racing against each other at various levels, culminating in the Camel's Prototypes (ph) where your TWR Jaguar battled against the Porsche 962. Could you please talk about finally having the opportunity to race with Rob and Chris Dyson?
DAVY JONES: Nice to talk would you today. It goes way, way back. Doesn't seem like that long ago. Seems like it was just yesterday, but it was a number of years ago when, you know, it was like you said, when we were are always competing against the No. 16 car, Dyson Racing, and you know, through the years, I've always, you know, wanted to have the opportunity to race with Dyson Racing, and drive the 16 car, and here it is today.
So you know, I'm really excited. I'm looking forward to it. Rob Dyson has been a true friend for many years, and to be able to work with him and his team and to work with Chris, I'm looking forward to Salt Lake and what we can do going forward from here.
Q: Chris, with your previous involvement in the Rolex Series with the long history of the chassis and stuff, the Lola Daytona prototype is new and Dyson Racing has a long history with Lolas, as well, what kind of support or will there be any technical share to shorten any learning curve you might have with the new car? And secondly, I know that when we last spoke about this project, the Rolex 24 was certainly something you had your eyes set on for next year, you speak to those endeavors and whether we will hopefully see the number 16, the beginning of next year?
CHRIS DYSON: Thanks. I'll address your first question. We have been trying to work with Lola for quite a while to try to get a program together that we could bring into our shop and kind of facilitate a return to the Rolex Series in a meaningful fashion with an in-house project. We have got an enhanced facility now and tremendous staff here and we just had to get the timing right.
You know, it's thanks to John's efforts and for Davy for bringing us together, that we have been able to finally put ourselves in a position to talk about coming into the Rolex Series, alongside our other primary program in the ALMS. It's a terrific development for us.
Lola has been extremely helpful, and the folks over at Proto Auto and Krohn Racing, particularly, recognize that this is a great opportunity to showcase the car with a new team, and I think that, you know, certainly based on Dyson Racing's working relationship with Lola, you know, their product is state-of-the-art. It's very user friendly and from a driving standpoint, extremely good.
So I think that John and Davy are going to be sitting in a great car here. The Krohn Racing guys are going to have provided some really big technical support for us, and I can't say enough about the efforts that were put in by Multi-Maddox (ph) to help us put this car together.
They just finished the car last week and we did a shakedown run with it and absolutely trouble free. Really looking forward to getting John and Davy some seat time this week in advance of our race at Utah, and there's a lot of parties definitely pushing in the right direction hear, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Roush-Yates connection here. We think by putting their Ford V8 into our program, it's really a huge fundamental part of the equation here, and John Maddox and everyone at Roush Yates could not have been more helpful to bring this deal to fruition.
As far as the Daytona 24 Hours is concerned, we are focusing right on doing a very solid job next week at Utah, and then definitely looking at the Rolex with more attention than ever, and trying to get a program set up so we can take advantage of the next couple of months. It will be here before we know it.
And you can't underestimate the competition there now. Certainly with some new tires coming on to the scene and with the surface being repaved at the Rolex, the playing field is a bit more level than it has been in quite a few years. We think there's some great opportunities for us to take a very proven package and bring some partners together and go out and try to get some results.
But we are taking it right now one day at a time and just trying to build on some successes early with this program.
Q: Where is your pressing taking place? What's the goal for two weeks in racing?
JOHN McCUTCHEN: First, we are testing in Monticello. We are going to test there the next couple of days on both of the courses, so that has plenty of challenge and it's close to the Dyson's unbelievable race shop that I'm standing in. So that makes it easy on us to really understand the car and maybe time to get a lot of seat time.
So it's an old adage, to say that we wanted to finish is silly, I mean, everybody wants to finish and that's not racing. Every race car driver wants to go to the track to win. I can't really predict what we think is really going to happen. We are going to put in a solid finish or not end up upside down on fire, and we are going to try to really put on a good show for what is the brand newest Daytona prototype in existence.
We have got a lot of our trusted partners, Johnson and Trolls, Baker Triangle, Miley and Penny (ph), Jim Greer with Hayley Greer who most of you know from the A.J. Foyt connection is our partner, too. They are all going to be at the track and this is really kind of a calling card for us to show them what NASCAR GRAND-AM racing is all about, what it's like to be involved with a world-class race car manufacturer like Lola, what it's like to be involved with a world-class team like Dyson, and what it's like to have an absolute world-class driver like Davy Jones, all together, and understand how you can activate that between races for not only their businesses, but also to raise money for the important charity of Texas Heart Institute.
That's a roundabout question, but I expect us to have a very solid run there, and the cars done well there in the past, the Lola has, I think it was on pole in 2008, I can't remember, but it's not been a bad track at all for the Lola, so I think we have pretty high expectations, frankly.
Q: With Dyson Racing winning the Rolex 24 in '97 and '99, and then additionally, the entry this past year, which if it had not been for being punted by somebody, likely would have won the race; I'm kind of left wondering, what this one race crash is all about, if not to go into the 2011 season running the 24. Can you answer that, Chris, please?
CHRIS DYSON: Well, you know, like I said, we are taking it one step at a time, and you know, working to do the best job we can off of all available resources. You know, I think in this day and age, you've got to think about getting all of the basics right and being realistic about living within your means. I think we are all taking this as a very good step and a very big step towards getting a bigger program going.
You know, like I said at the beginning of the call, one of the main purposes behind us jumping on board with this program was to get a car in house that we believe that we could take to the Rolex 24 and do well down there. It's a classic race and you know, I think that having one race under our belt and understanding the car, heading into the off-season, the run-up to Daytona is an interesting strategy, because it gives us, you know, I think a very good framework for good engineering decisions and also to do some future testing.
But yeah, I would be lying if I said that we were not seriously looking at the Rolex 24, and we have not made any bonus about wanting to get back there with a winning effort. So I just appreciate John and Davy coming on board to help us make it happen, but really to kind of establish the program with us.
Q: Davy, I'm curious to know, your history with Jaguar, another British outfit there, what you thought when you got into that Proto Auto Lola for the first time?
DAVY JONES: Well, we are about to get into the car for the first time the next couple of days, we are testing here at Monticello, New York, which is a beautiful racetrack. And I'm looking forward to it. I've always said to play the game, you've got to be in the game, and the series is so competitive that you just can't come in and do a one-off race. You know, so after we did the 24 hours at Daytona I got my itch and I said, if we are going to do something, let's put a program together and let's do it 100%.
It's the first time in a long time that I've actually been in an environment where I've had all of the surroundings, all of the right tools to be competitive like the days with Tom Watkins (ph) racing, so I'm looking forward to going to Miller Motorsport Park. Like John had said earlier, our goal is to finish the race and just to put in a good showing. If we can work together as a team and build from the data that we collect together going into next year, that would be more than we can ask for. We have to take it in baby steps, and we have to walk before we can run.
With all of the right tools, you don't really know where we stand until you're on the track and you're in the session and you look at the grid sheets and what everybody else is doing. So it's one step at a time. Continued in part 2