DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 2 - The groundhog may have seen his shadow but Jeret Schroeder made everyone in his hometown of Vineland, N.J., feel like spring is right around the corner when the Indy Racing star put TRV Motorsport's Riley & Scott Mk...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 2 - The groundhog may have seen his shadow but Jeret Schroeder made everyone in his hometown of Vineland, N.J., feel like spring is right around the corner when the Indy Racing star put TRV Motorsport's Riley & Scott Mk III Chevy firmly on the inside of row five for the start of this weekend's Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona during qualifying Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. The Toledo, Ohio-based team's yellow Supreme Exhaust System Products/Racer Parts Wholesale #95 will start ninth both overall and in the top class, Sports Racer Prototype, by virtue of Schroeder's fastest lap of 1:44.857, which computes to an average speed of 122.224 mph.
Schroeder will share the driving duties for the 24-hour enduro, which will be covered in its entirety live by Speedvision beginning at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, with Barry Waddell of Evansville, Ind.; John Mirro of Bath, Pa., and team owner Tom Volk of Blissfield, Mich. The car carries associate sponsorship from The Schroeder Group of Vineland, N.J.; Lee's Grinding of Cleveland, Ohio and the Brown-Daub auto dealerships of Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. The team is also doing a fund-raiser with the not-for-profit foundation Racing for Kids at this event, which fans can participate in through www.racerpartswholesale.com or by calling 1-800-397-7815.
Schroeder was 13th-fastest in the first round of qualifying on Thursday, but only the front row was determined at that time. His best lap in that session was a 1:56.443, or 110.062 mph. That session was run in wet conditions. It was still damp on Friday, but the conditions were definitely better.
The TRV Motorsport crew put its race engine in the car on Thursday night, so for qualifying Schroeder had a car that was in qualifying trim but was powered by an endurance-race engine rather than a qualifying engine. (The race engines are built with both longevity and speed in mind rather than just speed.) TRV's engines are prepared by Todd Hertel of Hertel Racing Engines, Spartanburg, S.C.
"Basically we lost 1,000 RPMs with the change in engines, so everything was different as far as the gearing and how the car felt," Schroeder explained. "It's hard to explain. The car ran great, but it was just different. It was hard to get a clean lap with the traffic too, but that's the fastest that we've ever gone here so we're happy."
The team's previous best qualifying effort for this event was 16th, set by Waddell one year ago.
"To put your race-engine in and go faster is unusual, so we're really happy," concurred Volk, who owns the team in addition to being a driver. "The whole team did a great job and Jeret drove well as he always does. We're glad we did well, but we also realize that your starting position doesn't matter much in a 24-hour race; finishing is still our goal."
Schroeder had to spend some time in the pits early in the session because a bolt holding a brake caliper on one of the rear wheels had let go, causing the brake caliper to rub against a wheel. The TRV crew had that fixed in short order though.
Schroeder will start the race. The driver rotation will then be Mirro, Waddell and Volk. The plan is for single stints for the first three drivers and Volk will do the first double stint. In driver change practice Friday, Volk had the fastest time into the car with a clocking at 33 seconds. (He's the only driver without a seat insert.)