DC's the Music at Daytona

When The Music's Over ... You know that old "Musical Chairs" thing, right? It's a game during the conduct of which a bunch of people gather together, form a circle around a bunch-of-chairs-less-one having a slightly smaller radius. As hokey...

When The Music's Over ...

You know that old "Musical Chairs" thing, right?

It's a game during the conduct of which a bunch of people gather together, form a circle around a bunch-of-chairs-less-one having a slightly smaller radius.

As hokey music blares (usually emanating from a single, totally stressed two-inch speaker), an ever-decreasing number of players seek a correspondingly dwindling number of chairs until, finally, one winning player sits in a sole remaining chair.

All others are "losers."

The currently underway 2009 Pirelli Tire test at Daytona International Speedway has attracted 40 cars (20 Daytona Prototypes; 20 Grand Touring) and, give or take, 200 drivers.

That would be 200 drivers who haven't a ride, yet want one.

Okay, maybe the above is overstated. But not by far.

So then, perhaps one of a few scenarios might be at the root of the driver glut: other race series' aren't doing as well, relatively speaking; drivers are finally recognizing the Rolex Series is THE place to be; or, the Jan. 24-25 Rolex 24 At Daytona is where everyone wants to be - even if but for only one race.

For sure, team owners aren't complaining because when there's such a talent-rich supply the cost of racing should be going down. Well, to the extent that one can say, "I'll do it more cheaply than he!"

Yep, I can see Kyle Petty saying it now.

Nevertheless, the music should be pretty well played-out come the new year's Test Days as teams seriously start dialing-in cars for the Rolex 24.

For now, it's been kind of interesting to sit back and watch the musical chairs' players circulate round-and-round through the DIS pits, hustling to find just one among an ever-dwindling supply of seats.



According to various paddock types, No. 99 Pontiac-Riley team owner Bob Stallings and, by extension, drivers Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney, by their absence from the DIS Pirelli test are protesting a lack of action the team feels Rolex Series officials should have taken in the off-season to balance an engine-power equation that left the team on the short-end of a 2008 championship defense.

Using trap speeds recorded during tests in the run-up to the 2008 Rolex 24, the team had started making its feelings known in the engine-power arena even before the just-closed 2008 season got underway - a season during which the team eventually won only one race (Mid-Ohio), as compared to the seven it won during their 2007 team and driving championship runs.

Neither Rolex Series nor Bob Stallings Racing representatives were willing to make official, on-the-record comments.


Sure-fire eventual motorcycle hall-of-fame inductee Ricky Carmichael is no longer seeking to add a Rolex 24 crown to go with his five wins in the Supercross dirt at Daytona, instead choosing to focus on his 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride at Kevin Harvick, Inc.

Alongside Scott Russell and Jason Pridmore, Carmichael has for the last couple of months tested and practiced off-and-on in the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Cayenne-engined Coyote DP, based only a few miles from Daytona International Speedway.

Some say Carmichael couldn't quite get the hang of the car while still others insisted it was only a matter of him getting seat time that Carmichael felt was best devoted to his Truck Series ride.

Mentioned as perhaps replacing Carmichael on the SOD team is Jeff Ward, himself a motorcyclist of some repute who raced to 56 wins and seven championships before he switched gears and undertook an Indy Racing League IndyCar Series ride - resulting in 1997 Indy 500 Rookie honors as well as a 2002 Texas Motor Speedway win.

Evidently having left some unfinished business in the motorcycle racing world after climbing from a fulltime IRL ride, Ward returned to win another four bike championships split evenly between the AMA and X-Games.


David Donohue's left arm remains in a sling after off-season shoulder surgery. No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche-Riley teammate Darren Law loves the extra seat time.

Fully recovered from his own shoulder surgery, Rob Finlay crawled back into a Daytona Prototype for the first time since the 2007 season. Finlay is testing the No. 4 Childress-Howard Pontiac-Crawford (DP08) with Andy Wallace.

Chip Ganassi Racing isn't here either, though the "why" remains a mystery to be solved.

    DC Williams, exclusively for Motorsport.com

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About this article
Series General , Grand-Am
Drivers Kyle Petty , Alex Gurney , Kevin Harvick , Jeff Ward , Jon Fogarty , Darren Law , David Donohue , Ricky Carmichael , Scott Russell , Chip Ganassi , Jason Pridmore , Rob Finlay , Bob Stallings
Teams Williams , Chip Ganassi Racing