On-form Ryan Dalziel admits he is living the dream on Friday (July 27) when he races at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the latest round of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
Ryan will follow a host of his sporting heroes in attacking the legendary track and he admits it will just be the latest in a season that has been stacked full of highs.
The Starworks Motorsport driver, from Windermere in Florida, has already had class wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Twelve Hours of Sebring as well as a close second place in the Rolex Daytona 24 Hours.
But there is no chance of Ryan, originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland, letting up. He wants to fire the Fort Lauderdale-based team towards the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car title and help them to win the inaugural North American Endurance Championship – a new battle over three Grand-Am rounds at Daytona, Watkins Glen and Indianapolis.
That means Ryan and Venezuelan team-mate Enzo Potolicchio – who are just three points adrift in the title race - putting on a show in front of the NASCAR fans in the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis.
RYAN ON RACING AT INDIANAPOLIS: As a racer coming through the ranks, it has always been a dream to go under the tunnel at Turn Two and enter Indianapolis.
For me, it sent a chill down my spine as I turned the first couple of laps. But you have to put the emotional side of it aside and treat it as just another race track. I have always wanted to go to Indy, but I have always wanted to do it in a sports car – so now we get on with the job in hand and that is to get a result at Indy.
RYAN ON THE RACE AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP: I am quietly confident, but the big goal for us is the championship. Alongside that is the North American Endurance Championship. Having Sebastien Bourdais in the second car has strengthened our position in trying to win that.
I would be equally happy for Starworks to win that with the #2 car because I think the team deserves at least that. For us in the #8 car, we probably have to keep a closer eye on the title fight. If the #2 car can push a little harder for the overall victory and we secure solid points and keep getting podiums as we have been doing then that would be the ideal result.
It is really important for us to keep taking points out of Ganassi. We did it last time out, but we have to finish ahead of them every time.
Tire management is going to play a big role. Overtaking is going to be pretty tough – it looks easier than it probably will be because we all expected bigger drafts from the cars into turn one. The Daytona Prototype cars don’t create that much of a tunnel. We get a good draft but not crazy NASCAR draft through the oval. If we have a good car, then it could be down to tires. That was apparent in the test and we have a car that is pretty gentle on the tires.
We need to make sure Enzo scores his points then find the right opportunity to get me into the car. I think the last two thirds of the race will be where track position is key. You might see some people gambling with two tires instead of four, short fuelling and stuff like that.
A lot will depend on how fast you are and how good you are when you get there. Right now, we are hoping to be upfront for the whole race. When you are upfront you all tend to do the same stuff as leaders, it is only when you fall back that you need to get creative on the strategy.
RYAN ON GRAND-AM AT INDIANAPOLIS: I really hope they get a good turn-out. There has been a lot of publicity so I hope the NASCAR fans embrace Grand-Am. They have in the past so hopefully they will turn out in big numbers. Everyone in Grand-Am, regardless of how we all do individually, wants the race to be a success and hopes that we can keep going back there.
Source: Ryan Dalziel media