BSI Racing: First Daytona Race in KONI Challenge
With a record breaking entry list, the Fresh from Florida 200 kicked off the race weekend at the Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 26. Over 100 GS and ST cars took to the track for the first competition of the 2007 racing season. Only moments into the race, potential race champions were weeded out with numerous on track collisions that would foreshadow the field for a good portion of the race. With the chaotic on-track start, BSI Racing and Team Garcia started their first Grand-Am sanctioned event. The No. 56 and 58 Mazda MX-5 race cars driven by Todd Buras, Carlos Garcia, Magnus Karlsson and Justin Hall were put to the test. Hall and Karlsson in the No. 58 JustRacing.com MX-5 finished 18th in the ST class. Garcia and Buras finished up the race in 27th spot in the No. 56 MX-5.
Garcia started off in the No. 56 MX-5 along with teammate Karlsson in the No.58. Both drivers had their share of pre-race adrenaline as they took to the starting grid. Within the first fifteen minutes the track had already fallen under a yellow caution flag. Co-driver in the No. 58 car, Justin Hall said, "there is nothing worse than starting off the race and having to turn yellow laps. You have all this adrenaline and nothing to do with it."
Karlsson and Garcia steered clear of the wrecks and carnage on track as they followed behind the pace car. As the track turned green Garcia and Karlsson kept out of trouble and stayed on the lead lap. Karlsson's stint lasted just over forty minutes before turning the car over to Hall. " It was fun. The car was great and they were going so fast. I just had to keep at it and not mess up-- I was lucky to be away from all the accidents. But I did see a Porsche go off in turn one. It is an experience driving at Daytona under a yellow flag. The pace car was going so slow and while on the banking I felt like the car was going to turn over. But during the green flag I just wanted to stay on the lead lap," said the rookie Daytona driver.
Garcia in the No. 56 MX-5 kept at the KONI field and was turning laps faster than ever. Garcia was not disappointed with his on track spectacle, "I am happy to have gotten it out of my system. I have been waiting for this moment for so long. It was awesome going into turn one with everything bumper to bumper. But it was hard to get into the right groove with so many yellows on track-- Or everything is going good and then a GS car would get into my line. I am now looking forward to the next race in Homestead."
After Garcia's stint in the car, Buras jumped into the No. 56 MX-5 and joined teammate Justin Hall on track. Buras and Hall were running strong. The MX-5's hugged the track and took to Daytona's turns like magnets. Buras was pushing his way into the top of the ST field and with less than 15 minutes remaining was running in 12th place. As a forty-five minute yellow caution flag finally cleared for green racing conditions Buras' car started experiencing electrical gremlins. With only a handful of laps left to turn, the No. 56 MX-5 gave out and left Buras on the banking.
With the No. 56 car out of the race, Hall was on his own to complete the event. Hall kept the car running smoothly and finished 18th in class. "It's a thrill and a lot of excitement for being at Daytona as a new team. We are going through some growing pains with the challenges of developing a new program. Everything is going remarkable given all of the newness and circumstances surrounding the situation," said Hall, the Northern California racer.
Buras was disappointed with his race finish but knew that BSI has a good handle on the MX-5 and the next race will be stellar. "Over one third of the race was yellow flag laps. Besides the yellows and the final finish, it was a great weekend. This was the first time out of the box. We didn't experience any hiccups or flaws," said Buras.
BSI Racing and Team Garcia will stay busy during the two and a half month break before the next race. The team is planning on testing the MX-5's at Moroso Motorsports Park to prepare for the April 15 race at Homestead.