Daytona Rolex 24 notes Saturday one

ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA NOTES A FULL field of 80 cars eventually started the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This was the largest number of starters since 1984, when 82 cars started. 97 cars of the 99 entered were actually at the Speedway. ALMO COPPELLI (No.

ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA NOTES

A FULL field of 80 cars eventually started the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This was the largest number of starters since 1984, when 82 cars started. 97 cars of the 99 entered were actually at the Speedway.

ALMO COPPELLI (No. 00 GTS-2 Agusta Callaway Corvette LM600) -- "I have no idea what happened. Coming through the trioval I started to feel a vibration and then, 'boom!' One back tire went down. I spun twice and that, I think, caused the other tires to flat-spot and blow out (Coppelli tried to drive back to the pits but had to stop trackside in turn one.)

SQUEAK KENNEDY (No. 15 GTS-1 Chevrolet Camaro) -- "We put a new engine in this morning and it wouldn't line up with the transmission. We're changing the pilot bushing, transmission and the clutch. (Teammate Daniel Urrutia said the car had joined the race, which meant the full 80-car grid started the Rolex 24.)"

CRAIG T. NELSON (No. 2 Screaming Eagles Ford R&S Mk. III) -- "My shift went real well. We found out a couple of things. We may be bumping the (rev) limiter a little, but the car feels fantastic. There were a lot of close calls out there. There's a lot of traffic -- some guys not paying attention. Heck, you've just got to watch yourself. I felt fantastic!"

ROSS BENTLEY (No. 88 Make-A-Wish Foundation Chevrolet R&S Mk. III) -- "We had a vibration from the start of the race. It's something in the axle or drivetrain. When the crew chief drove the car out to the grid this morning, he said there was something weird in the clutch. Then on the pace lap, I knew something wasn't right. It felt fine in the morning warmup -- possibly something happened on the last lap of the warmup. It will take a long time, but we will get it back out. Unfortunately, these things happen on a new car."

FREDRIK EKBLOM (No. 9 Courage Competition Chevy Courage C41) -- "It was obvious early in the race that we had a problem with the engine. I came in after around eight laps. They checked the throttle position and mapping because we had no revs coming down the straightaway. The engine seemed very tired. It didn't get any better, so after a few more laps we parked it. Apparently, the mapping of the engine management system was off. It 'leaned out' and burned the pistons. It's very frustrating. We thought the engine would be one of our strongest points. In 1995 (Exxon World SportsCar winner) the engine was our strongest part, and this is the same type of CompTech engine. I'm very disappointed. We had some problems before this weekend, but we sorted them out and the car was running very, very good. The last part we thought would give us a problem was the engine, and it went. It felt very good in the warmup. We thought we had a good race coming. We couldn't outrun the Ferraris, but we have a strong team with no weak links."

CRAIG CARTER (#90 GTS-1Road Circuit Technology Oldsmobile Cutlass) -- "Our starter fell apart and apparently caused an electrical problem. We just don't know why the car quit out there on the racetrack. We're putting in a new starter and we'll see what happens. We qualified pretty well and I thought we would have a good run. All it takes is running two minute laps for 23 hours. Unfortunately, we've already lost that cushion.

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