David Donohue - NASCAR teleconference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: Congratulations. I just wanted to ask two questions. The first of which is you talked about the testing and you talked about that in the post race press conference. Without revealing any secrets, what did you ...

Continued from part 1

Q: Congratulations. I just wanted to ask two questions. The first of which is you talked about the testing and you talked about that in the post race press conference. Without revealing any secrets, what did you guys find that you didn't have before? You start to improve performance at the end of last year, but if you could touch on generally what you found and what you came up with that you didn't have before.

DAVID DONOHUE: You're kidding, right? I'm not going to do that (laughing). We just found a way to get infield grip. Mechanical grip with a ton of aero on it. It's a closely guarded secret. In detail I couldn't tell you anyway because they won't tell me, necessarily. A lot of people put in a lot of really hard work. Not just an analysis point of view, but sometimes just shooting from the hip.

Some worked, some didn't. Joe LaJoie, our engineer, has a handful of things in his pocket to be able to manipulate the car to get what he wants. It's become a great relationship between all of us on the team. Darren can say one thing, and I'll say another thing, and because we've been together long enough, Darren and I have been teammates for six seasons. Joe's been with us for two. He now knows if I say one thing, if I say A, and he says B, he knows it's actually E or something like that, you know. And sometimes we'll say the same things, and he'll know exactly what to do.

It's become a great relationship with the team and at the top, as well as the guys getting the work done on the car.

Q: With the time off and what you've found, how do you think that will carry over to the rest of the schedule and the rest of the season?

DAVID DONOHUE: Well, I hope it just carries over and we can dominate the whole season, to be honest with you. I doubt that will happen.

Penske has certainly shown their strength. They did a ton of testing as well, just not at Daytona, something a lot of people don't realize, because they've got many, many sets of the new tires, the Pirelli tires. So they've got a lot of experience on the new tire compared to everybody else. We expect them to be a serious threat and challenge all year long. And they've got some kits as far as the Porsche engine and so forth.

Ganassi is a threat. They've clearly learned more about the Dalara, which has shown its strength a bunch of times last year. So they'll be more consistent. And the aim is right there as well. So there are a bunch of teams that are ready to contest for a win.

So, you know, winning the Rolex 24 among such credible competition, not to mention just the circumstances of the last hour, but just the credible competition makes it sweet and rewarding.

Q: As you mentioned, you're a part of two Brumos cars that finished first and third in the DP class, and two TRG cars finished 1 and 2 in the GT class. Why do you think that these teams from only two shops performed so well?

DAVID DONOHUE: Well, I know what some people would say, Porsche, Porsche, Porsche. But we're really quite independent of each other. We really didn't know what was going on on the GT race, on the GT side.

The Porsche outnumbers the rest of the cars, to be honest with you. The one thing you have to realize with Porsche is because they sell customer race cars, and a lot of other car companies don't, and they continue to update and put competitive products out there, they're sort of the backbone of sports car racing to a large degree.

They're one of the only companies that continue to put out quality products for GT Racing. From our perspective, you know, Porsche has always been a threat on the GT side, and it just so happened to align itself with the overall victory in the DP.

We've been in contention the last two years, for sure. Last year we had a high pressure fuel leak which cost us an enormous amount of time to repair. We were leading in that race. And the year before that we got hit while contesting for the lead.

So there is no doubt people should realize that we've been competitive for the overall victory several years now, just never been able to see it all the way through.

Q: Also, do you see in the people in the part of the teams, you know, over and above the engine part, do you see similarities in those two teams that result in such good work and a hard race?

DAVID DONOHUE: Well, there's a lot of experience on both fronts. There's no questioning Kevin Buckler's resolve, and especially in these long races. And his ability put together some quality people and get cars to run up front and win championships and races.

To be honest, I've got to be totally honest with you, they're on the completely other side of the garage. And I'm not one of those guys that goes wandering around all that often. I pretty much stay huddled in my own stable and focused on our own race. So I'm afraid I can't answer in detail your questions, because I focus so much on our own program.

Q: I'm thinking I'll bet it was harder than heck for you to stand up there on stage, be calm. And after the victory did you maybe think about or maybe even in your mind talk to your dad on those last few laps?

DAVID DONOHUE: I'm sorry, but no. All I could think about is how many times we've tried this, and, you know, how much it meant to everyone on our team, and my teammates in particular.

You know, quite honestly, I wish Hurley was in our car so he could get a sixth win and I could do it with him. He's such a good friend of mine. And what Bob Snodgrass would think.

But every time my mind would wander to something like that, I would think if I keep thinking like that, I'm going to blow breaking the next time. So I was really focused on running clean laps.

The question was posed earlier did I think I could stay out in front, and I quickly realized that if I drove defensively he would just eat me alive. So I just drove more offensively and tried to be smooth and not slide on the tires too much.

I was getting a lot of warnings. There was a lot going on in the car that last hour. I was getting six to 12 warnings per lap which I had to reset and make sure the pits knew what was going on. Eventually they told me to ignore them all, I had to reset them all because it would override the dashboard. I was more concerned with finishing the darn race, and wishing someone would put nitrous on the stopwatch and make the race end sooner than it did.

Q: I wanted to say congratulations on the way you built up your team. Lot of times people forget it is a team effort, and they were there 100 percent behind you. Congratulations.

DAVID DONOHUE: Thank you very much.

Q: Right after the final pit stop when you came out, it appeared you went right after Juan Pablo. Was that part of the plan? How did you set up the winning pass, and could you talk a little about that?

DAVID DONOHUE: Well, Montoya was leading so I had to go after him. You never know when you're going to get an opportunity to pass. So I had plenty of runs on him. People talk about the straightaway speed. I didn't have enough to pass him on the straightaway. I had to get to the bottom. If I was going to do that, I had to force him high so that I could complete the pass on the breaking in the one or into the chicane. He was driving very well, protective of that lane. It wasn't until we caught some lap traffic that I don't know if he got slowed a little bit by it or I got a run because of it.

When I got clear of him I pulled down to take that lane away. That was the only way I was able to take that position. I was very confident that once I got in front I could stay in front without having to drive him into the grass or anything stupid like that in such a long race. If I just raced clean, I could get the job done, and the car just stayed with me, and it did.

Q: Montoya's got a reputation of making a car very wide. Were you at all worried about how cleanly he was going to drive?

DAVID DONOHUE: Well, there's nothing I can do about it, so, to be honest, I wasn't. He had already hit me a bunch of times for whatever reason. But that's just the nature of the game, I guess sometimes. I like to think that I don't drive that way, so I left any of the consequences up to Mark Raffauf, our series competition director. And I told him that in the past. I want to race clean, I want to have a good reputation coming out of all of this.

I race against guys the way they race against me. Fortunately for the regulars in my series and in the Rolex Daytona Prototype series, we can race clean up front and hard. And there is rubbing and some moving around and bumping, but we spend the whole season together, so we don't want to be just taking each other out of each race because there is too much money and effort wrapped up in this, like I keep saying to our team. And if you get mad at somebody and knock their car out and cause them a bunch of grief and work, you're not just punishing the driver, but I've got friends on these other teams, too, and I want to keep them as friends.

Q: Was that the final stint where he bumped you or was it earlier in the race?

DAVID DONOHUE: No, it was earlier in the race. He was clean on the last stint.

Q: On the speed coverage they talked about you had switched to reserve towards the end of the race with a few minutes left. How close were you on fuel?

DAVID DONOHUE: I didn't know at the time, but my guy on the radio, Mike Carlucci [phonetic], our team director, kind of said we were close, tongue in cheek. So I didn't know, but we had a lap of fuel on reserve, so by going to reserve a little early, we guaranteed we were going to make it around without a stumble.

With Montoya that close, a stumble could have set up a pass for him, and sometimes the way this reserve thing works, it's not always a precise science as people might think. Sometimes it takes a little while for the engine to catch up again after you go to reserve. It's not an instantaneous switch. So again, if I got a stumble and it didn't clean up right away and get going, he could have passed me as if I was out of gas.

It's hard enough to get that first pass done and get the opportunity for that first pass. You never knew if I was going to get it again. Especially on the last lap. The way we were running, there wasn't much opportunity for passing

Q: My other question, you guys were running the old body works, still. Do you see an advantage in that? Have you thought about moving to the new body work at all?

DAVID DONOHUE: It seems to be working pretty good for us right now. Or as my dad would say, pretty well for us right now. But I don't know that we have any plans to make a switch. But I never say never. Our guys are pretty methodical. We have a good, competitive package.

I was one to complain about the old body work a lot last year. Really wanted the new stuff. But there is a learning curve when we go to the new stuff. It works differently. You can tell by looking at the aero packages of the cars, both at places like Daytona and higher downforce places like Barbara or Laguna. The packages are quite different in the old body work and new body work.

We sat on pole three times last year, so we must be doing something right. We never really capitalize on a win. I don't know that we can attribute that to just the body work.

ASHLEY JONES: Thank you so much. We appreciate your participation today. Congratulations to David Donohue, and the No. 58 Brumos Porsche this weekend.

-credit: grand-am

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , David Donohue , Bob Snodgrass