DC'S Homesteading DP

HOMESTEAD -- Remember Frank Purdue? He was the rather unusual-looking chap whose head was flanked by somewhat larger-than-usual ears (looked a lot like a certain, now-bobbed Nextel Cup champ, come to think about it) framing a somewhat, ...

HOMESTEAD -- Remember Frank Purdue?

He was the rather unusual-looking chap whose head was flanked by somewhat larger-than-usual ears (looked a lot like a certain, now-bobbed Nextel Cup champ, come to think about it) framing a somewhat, well, larger-than-usual nose, who led the way in taking chicken selling to a whole new level.

Purdue Farms grew from a 1920's backyard egg-selling operation founded by Arthur W. Purdue, handed off to son Frank (a college dropout, by the way)and, today, lives on with Jim Purdue, Frank's son, as the company's very visible chicken freak.

At the center of some pretty darn funny commercials, Jim Purdue isn't a slacker by any means; the man's got a PhD. And it didn't have a darn thing to do with chickens, either.

But, I'm kinda getting away from why this motorsports writer started writing about chickens. Primarily: Frank's "Parts is parts."

It perfectly explains the current morphing of the Daytona Prototype.

For those who haven't tuned in: on Thursday it was announced that Tracy Krohn, Lola (the race car builder, not the Kinks' "Lola" -- though I admit to long wondering from whence late Lola Cars founder Eric Broadley got the name) and Multimatic have worked out a deal that, essentially, transfers Multimatic's Daytona Prototype constructors license to an operation mostly funded by Mr. Krohn, using the Lola name.

It's not that Lola won't be involved. In fact, owner Martin Birrane -- who bought the company lock, stock and barrel back in the late 1980's -- is hanging around Homestead-Miami Speedway but, let's just say, it's a win-win situation for Lola.

It's a win-win deal for Mr. Krohn, too.

Educated at Louisiana State University, Mr. Krohn isn't your everyday oil tycoon (and he isn't a dropout) and, like anyone with any monetary sense at all, it's likely he isn't terribly content to keep all his eggs in one basket.

Even though David Brabham, David Empringham and Scott Maxwell would win the first-ever DP race - in class at the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona - for some reason Multimatic just never got behind the Daytona Prototype deal in the beginning.

When it became apparent that the DP was leaving most every other motorsports concept in its dust, Multimatic hadn't spent enough time on the track in the development of its DP, originally christened Ford Focus -- the only DP with a true manufacturer-like name.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Multimatic was the first to morph its constructor's license after release of the DP's 2008 rules package (at the class' five-year mark).

Indeed, if what this writer has heard is accurate, Multimatic will be making more DPs than ever before. They'll just be called "Lola."

Oh, and another detail, it's doubtful they'll look much like the Multimatic many love to hate.

Will the behind-the-scenes changes stop with Krohn, Lola and Multimatic?

You can bet your sweet bippy it won't (Dan Rowan, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, circa color television. Yes, it's true, color TV hasn't always been with us; nor TV, for that matter. Trust me; I know. First person. It ain't something I just read about. And while I'm on the subject of modern, life-changing devices, there's the air conditioner, which is the primary reason Florida isn't really Florida any more).

Next in line?

Well, let's get through who was first in line, first (get that?).

FABCAR was on the block at the end of last year.

Fact of the matter is, FABCAR owner Dave Klym was the guy who literally made history ("made" being the especially operative word, here) when the DP concept was unveiled in Daytona USA's upstairs Bill France Room in January 2002. It was his concept car wearing the Brumos Racing's No. 59 on it -- in ink. All of it. The car and all was just ink at the time.

But his was the first DP to actually come to life.

So, if anyone deserves to make a buck or two out of this thing, it's probably Klym.

If FABCAR doesn't sell, the new car - primarily designed by Cheever Racing (if you get my drift) - is certainly looking good.

Kevin Doran and longtime Italian racing "buddy" Dallara are likely the next combo.

Most people think of "Dallara" today as the maker of open-wheel chassis. And it is. It also came up with the WSC Ferrari 333SP. (Which, if you listened to people back when the World Sports Car was announced, the world of sportscar racing surely had come to an end).

Ferrari got a few bucks for every 333SP built and sold by Dallara and that was that.

Which brings me full circle to "parts is parts."

That's what's going on in DP - at least for the foreseeable future.

There won't be a huge change; no one's gonna get an unfair advantage. One car will not dominate. Indeed, if anything, some of the rules change was result of Grand American's desire to make sure the show doesn't become a defacto Riley-only spec racing series.

Remember the "spec series" mantra when the DP first was introduced? The avoidance of that was a clear and an oft stated desire of the guys in charge of Grand American when the series announced the DP back in 2002. The same guys are still in charge and their opinion hasn't changed one doggone bit on the "spec" thing.

Oh, and one more thing.

Like Jim Purdue came home to become a part of the family business, so too has Lola come home to "Daytona" -- the history of both being deeply intertwined.

--Written Exclusively for Motorsport.com by DC Williams

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About this article
Series General , Grand-Am
Drivers David Brabham , Scott Maxwell , David Empringham , Tracy Krohn , Kevin Doran
Teams Williams