Defending Champs Looking to Repeat in Food City 250
PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 7, 2004) -- Phoenix International Raceway was the last place that Brumos Racing drivers Hurley Haywood and JC France stood atop the podium in Victory Lane. The duo piloted their No. 59 Porsche Fabcar to its second-straight win of the 2003 season in last year's Food City 250. But bad luck befell the team, resulting in a year-long winless streak. Now the pair returns to the site of their last victory in hopes of rekindling the magic of racing under the lights that led them to victory one year ago.
"I'm looking forward to defending our victory of last year and being the first (Daytona Prototype) team to have repeat victories at the same event," said France.
"I think we have a great car, and JC has over a year of Daytona Prototype racing under his belt," said Haywood. "So, we will run up front and see what happens."
The beginning of the 2004 season has not been kind to the Brumos Racing team. A strong start in the Rolex 24 At Daytona came to a sudden end in the middle of the night when a broken suspension took the No. 59 Porsche out of the race, resulting in a 41st-place finish overall and 11th among the Daytona Prototypes. In round two, the twosome was unable to repeat last year's win at the Grand Prix of Miami, finishing just off the podium in fourth place.
Now their sights are set on Phoenix International Raceway, where the drivers admit survival will be key. With more than 40 race cars taking to Phoenix's twisty 1.5-mile road course, including 18 Daytona Prototypes, attrition is expect to be high, and France and Haywood hope to be one of the last standing when the checkered falls.
"I think patience will be the key at Phoenix, which is basically the same strategy we used last year," explained Haywood.
"I agree with Hurley," added France. "Patience and staying out of trouble is the key, as well as picking your passing points."
The Brumos Racing drivers are not the only ones that will be looking to repeat last year's success during the Food City 250. Drivers Cort Wagner and Brent Martini took top honors in the GT class after a thrilling last-turn pass for the lead in 2003. This season, the pair has traded in the No. 33 Ferrari 360GT that carried them the GT championship last season for a new BMW-powered Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype fielded by Rx.com G&W Motorsports. Kelly Collins has also teamed up with former champs in their quest for their first Daytona Prototypes victory.
In the No. 81 BMW Doran's debut race, the Rx.com G&W Motorsports team scored an impressive second-place finish overall; not only establishing the team as a top contender in the field, but also solidifying the drivers' chance of taking a second-straight win in the desert.
G&W Motorsports also took the SportsRacing Prototype II crown in last year's Food City 250. This year drivers Danny Marshall, Steve Marshall and Shawn Bayliff have moved into the Daytona Prototypes class, racing the No. 08 BMW Picchio DP2.
The Food City 250 event weekend will get underway on Friday with tickets to Rolex Series qualifying and the Grand-Am Cup Phoenix Grand Sport 200 race just $10, with children 12 and under free. Tickets for Saturday night's Food City 250 are $25 each, $5 for children, and all guests will have access to the garage and paddock. Camping and VIP Suite hospitality package are also available. Tickets are available by phone at 602-252-2227, at track's downtown ticket office at the Arizona Center, 3rd Street and Van Buren in Phoenix, or online at www.phoenixraceway.com.
For additional information on the Food City 250 and Rolex Sports Car Series, visit www.grandamerican.com