POST-RACE NOTES NOTE: Today's margin of victory was a record for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The previous closest finishes occurred in 1989, 1:26.672; and '86, 1:49.150. SCOTT SHARP (No. 4 Danka/Konica Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- I think this ...
NOTE: Today's margin of victory was a record for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The previous closest finishes occurred in 1989, 1:26.672; and '86, 1:49.150.
SCOTT SHARP (No. 4 Danka/Konica Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- I think this is great. Every driver dreams of winning this race -- it's one of the five biggest races in the world. I'm just thrilled. The guys did a great job -- they worked their tails off. Our pit stops were flawless, Oldsmobile supplied us a super motor and I'm proud to be a part of it. It was up-and-down, it was back and forth. That was the biggest thing, racing back and forth with the Ferrari constantly.
JIM PACE (No. 4 Danka/Konica Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- Winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona, an overall win, is outstanding. I'm very happy about it. It's a great team with Wayne (Taylor) and Scott Sharp. An outstanding event. I loved it. The Olds Aurora V-8 engine performed flawlessly the whole time, we had a great time and I'm proud to be part of it.
WAYNE TAYLOR (No. 4 Danka/Konica Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- This is really a dream come true. This is my home track and I really don't know what to say. There were so many people involved with this program -- Dan Doyle, Danka Industries, all the guys from Oldsmobile, Pirelli tires, the Riley & Scott crew -- and it's a tribute to these guys. A lot of people were suspect that a new program like this could come out of the box like this at the start of the new year, but it just goes to show you if you have all the right people and the right things, you can win races. Winning over the team I drove for last year makes it that much better. I told the guys not to have accidents and I told the crew to keep us out of the pits. Stay out of the pit lane, stay off the grass, keep it on the road. I've been trying to win this race for so many bloody years. (Does this mean more than winning the 1994 Exxon World SportsCar Championship?) Absolutely. To put together a team like this in a short period of time and debut at the Rolex 24 Hour, it's just unreal. Jim Pace helped me win the championship, so he was a natural for me and Scott Sharp has a lot of ties with Oldsmobile. He's an excellent driver and he did an excellent job this weekend.
GIANPIERO MORETTI (No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP) -- It was very close, perhaps one minute difference after 24 hours. It's unfortunate that we were not the guys who won. It's never easy to lose and it's never easy to say 'that's racing.'
DIDIER THEYS (No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP) -- It was very close. We made six stops in the last two hours. We were missing about another 20 minutes of racing for us to possibly have the victory. The competition was there the entire race, which was great. The satisfaction for the driver is the race, the fight. We'll be back.
MAX PAPIS (No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP) -- I've been pushing as hard as I could from the first time I got into the car. It was the same in the period when I was in the car. I raced as hard as I could (reportedly setting a race lap record in the final moments of the event). We have done a really good job today. The crew has been busy repairing small problems. We tried very hard. We couldn't do better. It's a credit to both teams the competition was so close.
BOB WOLLEK (No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP) -- It's not very fun to finish second by a minute or something. It's always the same story in a 24-hour race. If you want to win, you have to be lucky and have no problems, and we had too many. We had problems with the gearbox oil leak, we had problems with broken mufflers on both sides, we had a couple punctures, a couple spins, I hit somebody. It took us three minutes to change the spark plugs. Things just add up and make a total of delays which prevented us from winning. I will do Sebring with this team.
ROB DYSON (No. 20 Rain-X Ford R&S Mk. 3) -- When you start two hours behind, it doesn't make a difference how fast you can go. That's a lot of time to make up, and that assumes you don't have any problems. It also assumes this was the car we were planning to race, which it wasn't. It's a combination of things, and we had a lot of work to do during the race to keep it going. To come away with fifth place points is not bad. We could have done a lot worse.
BUTCH LEITZINGER (No. 20 Rain-X R&S Mk. 3) -- Definitely not what we expected. When we first brought it out, none of us expected it to last for very long because it wasn't really prepared for the race. This morning, we started to have some hope. Then two hours from the end, it either dropped a valve or broke a piston. That was a big disappointment, but we were able to get points, which is going to be a huge factor for the rest of the season.
BARRY WADDELL (No. 63 Downing/Atlanta Mazda Kudzu DLM) -- This was my first 24-hour race. The Downing team has done this race a lot and they made my first stint at this very comfortable. The car was very comfortable every stint I did, particularly at the end, which was just as fast as at the beginning. The car got better as the driver got better, and I enjoyed it a lot.
JIM DOWNING (No. 63 Downing/Atlanta Mazda Kudzu DLM) -- We were in third place in WSC in the second hour, at least briefly. Then we managed to shoot ourselves in the foot a few times. We had a long stop when a gear tooth broke, we had a new A-arm break, but nothing real big, other than the gearbox. I'm thrilled. For a new car to make this distance is about all you can hope for.
IRV HOERR (No. 5 GTS-1 Acxiom Oldsmobile Aurora) -- I didn't plan on getting into this car. But there near the end it was coming apart and they decided that somebody that really knew the car ought to get in there so they could evaluate what was going on. I'm really happy. The guys who were driving the car did all the work and let me participate there at the end after my car burned down. It's all right (that he didn't get any points due to starting the No. 1 Oldsmobile). For the good of the team, this is a great day. This is the one race I've never won, and it's a sweet victory.
JON GOODING (No. 5 GTS-1 Acxiom Oldsmobile Aurora) -- Finally! We finally did it. It's great, to finally win the Rolex 24 after trying five or six times. (Gooding, the president of Gooding's Supermarkets, lives in Orlando, Fla.) We've done it! It's wonderful! I was third and fourth before, but never won it before today. I'll be back with Tommy Kendall in the Trans-Am this season and our Roush team will be joined by Boris Said.
BORIS SAID (No. 6 GTS-1 Yokohama Ford Mustang) -- It's been a pretty good weekend. I won the pole in the IMSA Endurance Challenge race on Friday and now this has been another good race. A race like the Daytona 24 is won by the crew, not the driver. And we had a great crew. We lost a transmission early on and that cost us nearly one hour to fix. We battled back from that. I went in the car after they repaired the transmission for four hours and 20 minutes. I went back in for another two stints of over three hours each.
EDUARDO DIBOS (No. 6 GTS-1 Yokohama Ford Mustang) -- It was a very long race for us. We had to race hard to come back after we lost over an hour repairing the transmission. We are very, very happy with second place. This endurance race is always hard. The pace of racing and working for 24 hours is very hard on everybody. Now, we have a finish to match our second place in the GTU class a few years ago. This finish is sweeter.
JOHNNY O'CONNELL (No. 6 Yokohama Ford Mustang) -- (Started in the No. 2 Screaming Eagles/MAACO Ford R&S Mk. 3) I drove for Dibos at Mosport (in 1995), so I have experience in the car. We finished second there. Basically, Boris (Said) and Eduardo were driving the whole thing. When they heard our Exxon World SportsCar had problems, they hunted me down. I did three stints in the Mustang -- about three hours. It's a decent car, a pretty decent piece. My biggest problem was I didn't fit. Boris and Eduardo are about 6-foot-two and I'm 5-10, so I was flopping around a little bit.
Last night, an ECU computer problem put the WSC car out. That car was originally supposed to be delivered in early December, but we didn't get it until January and we didn't run it until the 18th. If we had it on time, we might have been able to figure out some problems we might have. We just didn't have that luxury. I'll be doing Sebring and maybe Watkins Glen with Craig's team, and we'll be glad to entertain any other offers that may come along.
BRIAN SIMO (No. 00 GTS-1 Agusta Racing Callaway Corvette) -- First time at Daytona and first time in this car. Fantastic! I had a great time. I got a lot of track time, especially last night. It was cold! I really didn't know what to expect. It was a lot of fun, but it was also very long. I'm looking forward to some sleep. I'm going to do a full season of Trans-Am with Tom Gloy's Valvoline Mustang and possibly Le Mans with this team and Boris Said.
PRICE COBB (No. 98 GTS-1 Canaska/Southwind Dodge Viper GTS-R) -- My feelings are nothing but positive. I look back to when I first tested this car three weeks ago, and I was stunned. I had heard some nonsensical rumors about it. The car went fast immediately. We went fast enough in practice three weeks ago to put it on the pole. We got a little bit behind the eight ball prepping the car for the race, so we lost some of that speed. Let's not forget that the car is new and it's made it as far as it did. At one time it was fourth overall. We're pretty happy with this performance. The car still runs the production gearbox, and that's an issue that I know is being addressed. The fact that it made it this far is a plus.
TOMMY ARCHER (No. 98 GTS-1 Canaska/Southwind Dodge Viper GTS-R) -- I think we learned a lot. For the first 10 or 12 hours the car exceeded all of our expectations as far as bringing a new car out to a race this long. We never got to do more than a 30- or 40-minute run with the car. So as new as the car and program are, I think we opened up a lot of eyes. I think it's going to be a lot of fun to keep this project going.
ENZO CALDERARI (No. 55 Stadler Motorsport Porsche 911) -- At the end of the race, it is always difficult. You hear the noises in the car, you think you feel things in the car when you don't. You are always tense because you hope that nothing breaks. It's hectic. You can't be comfortable even though you have an advantage over the teams following.
FERDINAND de LESSEPS(No. 55 GTS-2 Stadler Motorsport Porsche 911) -- About the only problem was the visibility early in the race when it was misting. The Porsche is a great car, but the windscreen wipers are notoriously bad. The race is very interesting since the track is mostly lit. The lighting, because we drive more in daylight at Le Mans, is the main difference between that race and Daytona.
JOHNNY RUTHERFORD (Grand Marshal of the Rolex 24 At Daytona) -- (On his son, John, and his effort in the No. 24 GTS-2 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911) -- I think he's done a pretty good job. Unfortunately, they just broke a half-shaft in the car and are working to replace it and get back out. That's typical in this race, that something would happen in the last hour when things are going smoothly. I'm proud of him. He's brought things up a bit everytime he's been in the car.
HARDY HAUSSECKER (No. 75 GTS-2 Pettit Racing Mazda RX-7) -- (On accident with Kenny Acheson) I was going straight under braking approaching the chicane. It was after the (brake) marker, I was turning into the chicane and he (Acheson) turned straight into me. Is he OK? (Told Acheson was, he replied, "I'm glad.") He hit me right here (there was damage to the Mazda from behind the right front wheel to the back of the passenger door). I think it's not so smart in a 24-hour race, in the 24th hour, to do that. He turned into me from the outside -- there was lots of room on the inside. (After the contact.) All I could do was hold it straight and keep going. Absolutely we're thrilled to finish the race (in a unibody car). I got into the car for the first time late, at 4 a.m. I only had two or three laps to get it set-up. It ran like clockwork after we changed the transmission this morning.
RACE NOTES -- 23 HOURS
LILIAN BRYNER (No. 55 GTS-2 Stadler Motorsport Porsche 911) -- The race has been very long. It's hard to keep alert, to keep your focus in such a situation. It would be very impressive for myself and the team if we would win our class again.
ULRICH RICHTER (No. 55 GTS-2 Stadler Motorsport Porsche 911) -- Three class wins (in a row) is great! It has been a good race for us. Our only problem was when Bob Wollek and the Ferrari collided with us in the chicane. I saw him coming and I held the door open for him as long as I could until I didn't have any more track to use. He collided with the right rear of our car. Wollek came and apologized for the incident. We got back to our pit and repaired the damage, but it has affected the handling a bit. We are taking it carefully now. The waiting for the race to finish is tougher than the driving. Enzo Calderari is now in the car. We must stop for fuel, but there will be no driver change.
KENNY ACHESON (No. 89 GTS-1 Newcastle United/Lister Rcg. Lister Storm) -- I'm a little disappointed myself! (After flipping in backstretch grass.) I'm fine. I don't know who the idiot in the white car (No. 75) was, but I was on the high side, going along the straightaway -- and he just kept coming up. By the time I was halfway alongside him he just pushed me into the wall. I don't know if we touched... What the hell the slowest car in the race is doing up there -- he shouldn't be there! The guy's a total idiot and I'm just really pissed off. (Acheson was transported to Halifax Medical Center for observation 15 minutes before the checkered flag.)
ANDY WALLACE (No. 20 Rain-X Ford R&S Mk. 3) -- You never underestimate this race. It's really, really tough -- on drivers and machinery. We've had our fair share of things go wrong, but we didn't give up. We didn't do so bad, not with all the things that went wrong.
ROCKY AGUSTA (No. 00 GTS-1 Agusta Racing Callaway Corvette) -- We've put in a good effort and I'm pleased. It's been very tough. It's hard to understand -- for a first time effort -- just how very long and difficult this race is.
GIANPIERO MORETTI (No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP) -- You cannot imagine how much I would like to win this 24-hour race. We have worked hard. The team did very well to quickly repair the problem with the transmission.
RACE NOTES -- 20 HOURS
DIDIER THEYS (No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP) -- (On 9 a.m. problem that cost his team the lead.) A bolt on the gearbox cover fell off. The gearbox cover came loose and we lost oil. We replaced the bolt and put oil in the gearbox, but it's so cold outside that it took a long time to put in the oil.
DON KITCH (No. 43 Payne Racing Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- (On problems just after the team took over fourth overall) We knew we had a problem with the engine. We hoped we could keep it running to the finish. The problem may be unrepairable, but we'll see what we can do. The car is stopped out on the course so it's hard to say how bad things are. It will be heartbreaking if this puts us out of the race because this is a replay of last year's race. We were chasing Jim Downing then, too.
RACE NOTES -- 18 HOURS
ROB MORGAN (No. 5 GTS-1 Acxiom Oldsmobile Aurora) -- (at 10:30 a.m.) We're just trying to stay four laps ahead of the Dibos team and play it safe. We've got a spare rear end to put in the car just in case something goes wrong. We're going to try to take it easy and run the same lap times they are. We've done real well so far. We've gone out there, stayed out of trouble and ran consistent times, and it's paid off for us. I still need 20 more minutes (to score points). We're going to play it by ear right now. We're going to run the whole season. My father and I will run the No. 47 and No. 48 (Charles Morgan's cars) in a few races.
JOE PEZZA (No. 5 GTS-1 Acxiom Oldsmobile Aurora) -- (at 10:30 a.m.) The race was going real well up until a half hour ago. We had a support bar come loose in the rear end and then one of the bolts on the A-frame in the front fell off. That kind of sheared up the back a little bit, so we might have to put a rear end in the car. That's going to make it real tough. We were up by 21 laps and right now we're up about four. It's going to be real tough. It's going to be a real close race. After 21 hours, we still have more time left than most of the races we run. It's going to be close. I'm going to run Sebring with this team and I'm going to run Lime Rock, but I don't know my plans after that.
CHARLES MORGAN (No. 5 GTS-1 Acxiom Oldsmobile Aurora) -- (at 10:30 a.m.) We've got several suspension problems right now, so we're all nervous as we could be right now. It seems like this race goes on and on and on and on, and then you still got a long way to go. We've got our car going fine right now, but we've got some problems that could develop. It really helps to get points at Daytona, which gives bonus points. This will put us in good shape, regardless of what happens. It really helps to get the season started this way (with a top finish).
WAYNE TAYLOR (No. 4 Danka/Konica Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- (After finishing his driving stint at 10 a.m.) I'm a bit beat. It's been a tough race. We haven't had second gear for about seven hours. The advantage of the car is in the slow-speed sections of the course, but without second gear that advantage is gone. The MOMO team seems to be reeling us in. We're still running with some revs in hand, but we know the Ferrari is coming.
RACE NOTES -- 15 HOURS
ALEX TRADD (No. 79 GTS-1 New Hardware Porsche 911 Turbo) -- (Car was eliminated by a broken camshaft.) It was an outstanding effort by an outstanding group of folks. I'm proud to have been associated with New Hardware. This was my first race with them. They contacted me about six months ago to help them get the American side of the organization done because I've raced in IMSA for a number of years. Last night they showed the result of dedication and preparation. They're a bit disappointed, but how can you not be pleased, leading the class and running third overall in one of the three biggest endurance races in the world? (The team is owned by Bill Farmer and is a joint English and New Zealand effort. They finished third, second and third in their first three races in Europe, and also posted a first and second in New Zealand. They plan to run the entire BPR Global Endurance GT Championship Series plus Le Mans this year.)
RACE NOTES -- 12 HOURS
FRANZ KONRAD (No. 08 GTS-1 Konrad Motorsport Porsche 911 Turbo) -- (In garage at midnight.) There's something wrong in the electronics, a bad misfire. We don't know exactly. The Bosch people did everything and we can't find the problem right now. (Car retired but later returned.) The 09 car is stuck out on course with a broken driveshaft. They are going to tow it back in so we can change it. (Car was towed back to the garage and repaired but it retired after completing only 29 more laps.)
RON NELSON (No. 91 Rock Valley Oil/Chemical Chevrolet Camaro) -- It looks like the cam broke. I went across start/finish and it showed about 1,000 more RPMs than it should have, all of a sudden. I made it all the way to the (infield) dogleg and it shut off like an electrical switch. We had been having some alternator problems and we thought maybe the battery died. We put a new battery in it and it wouldn't fire, so we looked at the distributor and it wasn't turning. It was running great and handling great. We were third in class and sixth overall and that was after breaking an input shaft in the transmission earlier and going down 11 laps.