Phoenix: Spirit of Daytona DP race report

Unpredictable Race Results for Spirit of Daytona The Arizona desert is called the wild-west for a reason, after the chaotic race on Saturday night, the western 7:00PM race proved to be frustrating, fast, and unpredictable....

Unpredictable Race Results for Spirit of Daytona

The Arizona desert is called the wild-west for a reason, after the chaotic race on Saturday night, the western 7:00PM race proved to be frustrating, fast, and unpredictable. The Spirit of Daytona's two Daytona Prototypes (DPs) both had interesting race results due to unpredictable events concluding their races early. The 07 Pontiac-powered Crawford was first to conclude the race after completing 47 laps and placed 20th overall. The 09DP sponsored by Spiralz/SpeedCom Communication/Chemcraft finished the race after turning 122 laps and finishing 13th overall.

For both DPs the race start seemed promising. Marc-Antoine Camirand, driver of the 09DP, avoided an accident at the beginning of the first lap and dropped to 16th from a starting position of 10th. Roberto Moreno, in the 07DP, made his way up to 6th place from a qualifying position of 13th. But the 07DP, sponsored by Waste Services Inc. and Southwest Waste Services Inc., was starting to slowly add seconds to its lap times. Moreno was turning laps below one minute at the beginning of the race but by lap 29 he was turning a lap time of 1:06 minutes.

"I knew something was wrong with the car. The car was constantly slowing and an occasional misfire would occur. When I first pitted the car we hadn't a clue what was wrong. After the first pit each lap turned was used as a test to pinpoint the electrical problem," stated Moreno.

Bob Ward, owner/driver of the 07DP, gave a half-hearted smile after they pulled the 07DP from the race. "Since we had Roberto start off the race, I really didn't get much time in the DP. I took it around the track a few laps just to figure out what was wrong with the DP. The competition during the race was tough and I wish the car would have been able to hang in there," said Ward.

The 09DP was running great throughout the race. The car setup was close to perfect except for understeering on the oval section of the track. After turning 65 laps, Camirand pitted and Doug Goad jumped into the 09DP. As Goad started racing the team realized there was a major battery issue about to arise. Goad pitted on lap 74 for a battery change. Upon returning to the track Goad narrowly missed a huge fire/crash as he drove the car around the track without its rear hatch.

Even with the competitive field being split between the two series, the DPs and the GTs each having their own separate races, the yellow flags and cautions Saturday night were just as prevalent as having the full field on the track. The circus like atmosphere on the track took out 8 DPs before the end of the race. The 09DP had a chance at placing in the top-10 or higher, but after turning 122 laps the alternator gave out stranding Goad out on the racetrack. Troy Flis, co-owner/manager, knew they were gambling with the battery's low voltage but both the team and driver felt that there would be warning before the car gave out.

"We figured the car would misfire before it actually gave out," explains Goad, "the battery was very low on volts and the power steering turned off sometime after lap 75. Without the power steering I lost the ability to react and try to compete with the other DPs on the track. Not only that but it was almost impossible driving during that 30minute window with all the crashes after the driver changes. I was trying to stay clear of the crashes and had had to put all my effort into steering."

The 09DP will be back in action at the Watkins Glen Raceway in New York on September 24, 2005.

-www.spiritofdaytona.com

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Series GRANDAM