Daytona finale preview

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Aug. 29, 2001) -- When the Grand American Rolex Road Racing Series competes at Daytona International Speedway, it's usually in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, an endurance test of man and machine. But in the Sept. 14-16 Grand-Am ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Aug. 29, 2001) -- When the Grand American Rolex Road Racing Series competes at Daytona International Speedway, it's usually in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, an endurance test of man and machine. But in the Sept. 14-16 Grand-Am Finale, sportscars won't be set up to last 24 hours. Instead, the Grand American Rolex Road Racing Series machines will be pushed to the edge in a three-hour sprint race.

"We'll have a lot more power because we'll have a sprint race engine in," said Butch Leitzinger, driver of the No. 16 Dyson Racing Riley & Scott. "It will probably be about 50 more horsepower and because of that you can carry a more aerodynamic wing on the car which will make the car have a lot more grip. We'll actually be faster both down the straights and through the turns.

"It will be nice, because you can drive it a lot differently as well. In the endurance race, if there's any question, you have to back off and let the other cars go through. In this one, it's pretty much take no prisoners, and just very aggressive driving."

The Rolex Sports Car Series will compete on Sunday, Sept. 16 at noon. It'll be the final chance for teams and drivers to earn points toward the season-ending championships. The Grand-Am Cup will have their season finale on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. in a six-hour endurance race.

Ron Johnson, driver of the No. 5 Fordahl Motorsports/Park Place Racing Saleen S7R, expects to see quite a show.

"It's going to be a great race because it's a sprint race format and everybody is going to be going full out," Johnson said. "There will definitely be a show going on and being the season finale, everybody is going to be pretty fired up going for the win."

Johnson, who is second in the GTS driver points standings, admits his team will be running the car on the aggressive side compared to the more conservative Rolex 24 At Daytona setup.

"(The car) will definitely be run a lot more aggressively than the Rolex 24," Johnson said. "In the Rolex 24, you back up the motor quite a bit, you don't use the RPMs, you don't use the braking, you try not to use the tires too much. But in the sprint race format, it's a real good test, especially at Daytona, to go out and push and see how far you can go to get a baseline for next year's Rolex 24.

"If we go out and push and find out the car responds well to it, that means we can try that much harder when we do come back for the Rolex 24 without worrying about the car breaking or having a tire issue. This will be a great way to attain initial setup information that can be refined in test sessions in the winter."

Tickets for the Grand-Am Finale can be purchased online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

-SPR

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Ron Johnson
Teams Dyson Racing