Dyson Racing Has Seen Both Sides Of The Rolex 24 At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 28, 2002) - Team owner/driver Rob Dyson has seen his fair share of success by winning the 1997 Rolex 24 At Daytona as a driver and as an owner capturing the...
Dyson Racing Has Seen Both Sides Of The Rolex 24 At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 28, 2002) - Team owner/driver Rob Dyson has seen his fair share of success by winning the 1997 Rolex 24 At Daytona as a driver and as an owner capturing the overall win with his Riley & Scott Ford in the 1999 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Still Dyson has also experienced the heartbreak that comes with the twice-around-the-clock sportscar endurance race.
In the 1998 Rolex 24 At Daytona, both of Dyson Racing's Ford & Riley Scott's broke in the closing hours of the race opening the door to Ferrari's victory in North America's most prestigious sportscar event.
In 2000, Dyson Racing was leading in the closing hours when internal engine problems slowed the Lincoln Riley & Scott and the Dodge Oreca Viper was able to pass and pull away for the overall victory.
Last year, Dyson Racing was again running away with the Rolex 24 when the engine failed as Butch Leitzinger was navigating through the International Horseshoe. Team Corvette took advantage of Dyson's misfortune to take its first Rolex 24 victory.
"Yesterday is history," said Dyson, who won his first Rolex watch in 1997 on his 10th start in the Rolex 24. "Let's regroup, go back and move ahead. It was disappointing for sure. We go to Daytona like everybody else * to win. But on the other hand we're realistic and know that a 24-hour race is a long race and failure happens."
"The Rolex 24 break was just a one-off failure," said Dyson Racing driver James Weaver. "There was nothing wrong with the part that failed. It was the right spec, right design. It just flat broke."
The engine failure illustrates how the Rolex 24 At Daytona can reach out to any team and crush the hopes of victory. When Leitzinger climbed from the car after the engine failure, Dyson watched from the pits on televison and began to shed a few tears.
"2001 was probably the classic Rolex 24," Leitzinger said. "The race can be so cruel. People don't realize how taxing on equipment a 24-hour race is especially at Daytona. With about eight hours to go after the Ferrari dropped out, we just backed off trying to take it as easy as possible. We lowered our shift points and tried not to strain the engine and still it was extremely hard on the car.
"It's a race car. You're trying to stretch the limits the whole time and with three hours to go you've got a part with a little bit of a flaw in it, and there's no way for anyone to know that. It was complete heartbreak for us but that's what that race does."
Dyson Racing will return to the "World Center of Racing" for the 40th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Feb. 2-3. Despite the setbacks, Dyson still yearns for the success he has experienced twice before.
"Daytona means a lot to Dyson Racing," Dyson said. "Daytona's an important track for us. It's an important event."
Tickets for the Rolex 24 At Daytona can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.