Daytona 24: Flying Lizard Motorsports race report

Flying Lizard Finishes 13th in GT at the Rolex 24 at Daytona February 6, 2005-Daytona Beach, FLORIDA--Flying Lizard Motorsports completed (wearily) the Rolex 24 at Daytona today, finishing 13th in GT and 28th overall in the 24 hour...

Flying Lizard Finishes 13th in GT at the Rolex 24 at Daytona

February 6, 2005-Daytona Beach, FLORIDA--Flying Lizard Motorsports completed (wearily) the Rolex 24 at Daytona today, finishing 13th in GT and 28th overall in the 24 hour endurance race. Drivers Johannes van Overbeek, Jon Fogarty, Lonnie Pechnik, Seth Neiman and Patrick Long drove the No. 75 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car 582 laps on the 3.56-mile course. Guest driver Long turned the quickest GT race lap in hour nine of the race with a time of 1:56.815.

"Ay Carumba! This was one of the most difficult races I have ever experienced: tough on the car, tough on the drivers and really tough on the crew. Any endurance event tests the team to its limits, but bad luck combined with being in the wrong place at the wrong time really worked against us this weekend," said crew chief Tommy Sadler. "I'm proud that we were able to finish the race and the crew worked tirelessly throughout the 24-hour period. I saw some of the highest quality driving in our class from our drivers and they were consistent throughout the entire race. Our crew, as always, delivered what was needed to keep the car on track."

At the green flag, the team was off to a promising start, movinq quickly from their fourth place GT start position to leading in the GT field. However, in the third hour of the race, while leading the GT class, the No. 75 Porsche was struck by another car during a caution period, causing severe front suspension and body damage. While working on the car in the pits, the team exceeded the five-minute limit on pit work and received a 13-minute penalty. The car was off-track for approximately an hour, losing 27 laps to the leaders. The Lizards returned to the track 27th in GT and 54th overall.

Throughout the night, the team worked its way up the GT field, with strong stints by all five drivers. Over the next 14 hours, the team battled back to 11th position in GT. Each driver's stint averaged two hours and was relatively incident-free. "The Porsche was running really well throughout the night; we were able to make some minor adjustments over each of our stints and saw some excellent and consistent lap times across all of our drivers, " said driver Johannes van Overbeek. "Over the next 14 hours we chipped away at the field and by 6 a.m. had battled back to 11th in GT and 26th overall."

But the challenges were not over yet. Throughout the remainder of the race, the Lizard crew paid multiple visits to the garage to repair a variety of parts including the left rear upright, brake line, right rear brakes system and a windscreen change.

"The complexities of sharing a pit stall and having to manage the logistics and distance between the garage and the pits made our repairs a bit complicated," continued Sadler. "The crew did a phenomenal job getting the car running quickly again after each incident. We had a lot of issues throughout the race, but the crew responded quickly which is a testament to the strength of this team."

"Part of why the Rolex 24 at Daytona is such a great race is that it is so hard to win. Anything can--and does--happen. Still, I'm sure when we get home and get some rest we will start planning again for next year," added van Overbeek.

For information about Flying Lizard Motorsports and the 2005 schedule, visit www.lizardms.com.

-flm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jon Fogarty , Patrick Long , Johannes van Overbeek , Seth Neiman , Lonnie Pechnik
Teams Flying Lizard Motorsports