Daytona 24: Spirit of Daytona race report

Spirit of Daytona Racing with Bobby Labonte was unable to complete the entire Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona due to engine failure. The Microflex/Spiralz/Oberto Beef Jerky sponsored Pontiac Daytona Prototype at best was running...

Spirit of Daytona Racing with Bobby Labonte was unable to complete the entire Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona due to engine failure. The Microflex/Spiralz/Oberto Beef Jerky sponsored Pontiac Daytona Prototype at best was running 9th place during the late evening hours and finished 35th overall at 10:21 AM on Sunday morning. For more than half the race the 09 Pontiac Crawford looked as if it would maintain its conservative pace and continue its top-10 position but after the one o'clock hour, the car's power steering started to act up. The team corrected the problem after a prolonged period in the garages and Doug Goad drove the 09 DP to the track in order to regain its top-10 position. However due to engine problems that started to plague the DP, Spirit of Daytona had to take an early finish on Sunday morning.

Co-owner/ co-driver, Doug Goad, was last to drive the 09DP during the historic race. "When the steering system failure hit us later on in the race it really took us off guard. We never had a situation similar to what hit us around 2:00AM this morning. We were able to correct the problem but then later on in the race the motor gave out. We really weren't pushing the engine as hard as we could of, which makes the situation on hand strange, we were running at a conservative pace," said Goad. The team was vying for a 15th place class finish. "Everything was working and all the drivers had found their rhythm. This is a tough beginning for the team, but it's a new beginning. We are looking forward to running with Larry Oberto in Mexico and the new opportunity we have with Bobby Labonte," said Goad.

Bobby Labonte completed his second Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona with the No. 09 DP. His last stint in the Pontiac Crawford was free from any of the mechanical issues that caused the team's early finish. " It was good driving the car, I had ideal conditions and didn't have any problems. But I would be happier if I was leading the race," said Labonte. Labonte's next scheduled race with Spirit of Daytona will be the Brumos Porsche 250 on June 29.

New team driver, Larry Oberto was in the DP and experienced the mechanical mayhem during his last two stints. " I probably turned eight laps with the power steering acting up. I really had to fight the car for control. But I enjoyed my time on track. I had a good rhythm and everyone was being careful on the track." Oberto was also in the car when the motor started to act up. "I don't know what happened to the motor, but we were not able to run at full force, probably only going at 75% of our capabilities."

European Sportsman driver, Harold Primat was able to turn some mid-night laps before the car's power steering acted up. "The car was going good for me, and I was really concentrating on the track. I had to remind myself to take a drink or my blood sugar would drop. With the onset of night many things looked different so it took me about 20 minutes of driving to readjust to the darker track." Primat's talent shown through during his time spent on track. His laps were consistent and he never got the DP into trouble. The experience Primat gained driving during the darken hours at Daytona will prove helpful for this years 24 Hours of LeMans. Primat plans on competing in the race with two other drivers.

Spirit of Daytona Racing with Bobby Labonte will use the on track experience gained from Daytona for the next race at Mexico City on March 4.

-www.spiritofdaytona.com

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Doug Goad , Harold Primat , Larry Oberto