Team completes off-season changes with no time to spare, shakes out bugs in race practice sessions, drivers Bailey and Duarte finish in the top 1/3rd overall at the Daytona 250
Feb. 19, 2004 - The recent off-season was very busy for the DAL Motorsports team. In addition to normal between-race vehicle maintenance, the team also built up a new race motor for the #51 Acura NSX, secured engine spares for future use, secured additional sponsorship, and started work on a strategic marketing plan to enhance their already successful business plan. The team also added an additional driver / owner and started construction on a second Acura NSX for the Grand-Am Cup series.
To recap the end of 2003: The team saw a 7th place finish in class during their inaugural outing at Virginia International Raceway in Early October, following by a disappointing 18th place finish at Daytona, after retiring the vehicle during race lap 47 due to an engine failure.
Such a busy off-season left little time for testing the improved #51 NSX, so the practice sessions at the Daytona opening race served as extended test and tune sessions, with good results. Unfortunately, an electrical problem prevented the engagement of Honda's VTEC, which delivers increased horsepower through optimization of valve timing and lift during high RPM engine use. Even without VTEC operational, the team still managed to qualify 21st of 28 cars in the Grand Sport (GS) class in the race.
Shortly after the race start, the team was able to pick up 10 positions very quickly, but the car suffered some minor damage in race lap 13 following contact with a tire wall in turn one. The pit crew was able to accomplish some body modifications that allowed the team to re-enter the race in 48th place overall, but with reduced aerodynamic performance at high speed.
Even with all this adversity, drivers Vaughn Duarte and Brian Bailey were able to continue to consistently pick up over thirty positions in the remaining two hours of the race. The team reached 15th place overall just prior to their last refueling stop, and ultimately finished the race in 19th place overall and 15th in class.
The team's next scheduled races are at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 27th, followed by Phoenix Int'l Speedway on April 10th. The full Grand-Am Cup schedule is available on the Grand American website at www.grandamerican.com/.
DAL Motorsports is sponsored by: Goodson Acura, Exedy Corporation, Cobalt Friction, and EXP4 Additives. Additional supporters for the Daytona 250 entry include Autoscope, Jotech Motorsports, Courtesy Acura, First Class Automotive of Orlando and Hondacura.net.
The team also wishes to extend special thanks to Nabil Amaly with First Class Automotive, Tim Johnson with hondacura.net, and Mike Baenen with Courtesy Acura.