Daytona Beach, Fla. (23 January 2014) – Burton Racing got a solid start to the team championship defense on Thursday and made fast work of a busy 15-minute qualifying session this afternoon at the Daytona International Speedway.
The team plan was to make the most of an aerodynamic “tow” by running in tandem, but just like what can happen when driving on the street, traffic thwarted those plans. But even without the help, both cars were within two seconds of the pole-setting time on the 3.56-mile circuit.
“We kind of ran into some traffic that didn’t really allow us to work together with the No. 23 car and it was hard to get momentum behind some of the traffic we ended up catching,” said LaMarra. “But we are happy to be where we are at, I think it is okay. I think it is very indicative of the difficulty and traffic with us getting our fastest lap on the last lap when really it should be when the tire is maximized on the third or fourth lap.”
With an even more traffic-laden field of 64 total cars between two classes for the race tomorrow, the champion team, led by Keith Burton, heads into the 2.5-hour race looking to steer clear of trouble at the beginning of the race and work up the field to be in contention at the end.
“I’m really happy with the times that both Mike (LaMarra) and Greg (Strelzoff) put up,” said Burton. “I think it’s a great spot to be in. Tomorrow we need to just have a nice and clean start to the race and then have a good pit stop before we turn the cars over to Terry (Borcheller) and Connor (Bloum).”
The new Burton duo of Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum in the No. 22 machine are especially excited for the season opener tomorrow. The pair hit the ground running for the busy week, posting a quick 2:06.738-seconds in their very first practice session on Wednesday, and remaining consistent from there while working on becoming more comfortable in the car.
“13th is a good position so we are very happy about that,” said Strelzoff of his qualifying effort. “We have had great support from the team, so I’m just really excited for the race tomorrow. I want to continue to work on my performance and ability to maximize all the car can do and work with my teammate, Connor (Bloum) to drive to the front of the pack.”
The team knows that every lap is important, and every race is key so the goal will be to kick off the season with a strong finish for both cars as the team looks to make a first step forward towards another successful year.
Make sure to tune in to Fox Sports 2 at 6:00 PM ET as IMSA brings same-day coverage for the Daytona round.