Race of Hard Knocks Ends Top-10 Streak for Dempsey and Foster as Team Finishes 11th in Brumos Porsche 250 At Daytona Dempsey Strong In First Stint In No. 40 El Grado Tequila Mazda RX-8 Before Foster Gets Punted DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 6,...
Race of Hard Knocks Ends Top-10 Streak for Dempsey and Foster as Team Finishes 11th in Brumos Porsche 250 At Daytona
Dempsey Strong In First Stint In No. 40 El Grado Tequila Mazda RX-8 Before Foster Gets Punted
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 6, 2009) -- Dempsey Racing's Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster finished 11th in the Brumos Porsche 250 At Daytona for the second consecutive year after a hot and at times frustrating Fourth of July Saturday race in the No. 40 El Grado Tequila Mazda RX-8.
Although the team's two-month old Top-10 streak came to an end, the drivers and all on the Dempsey Racing team left Daytona knowing they had a better race and car than the results showed. Starting driver Dempsey raced solidly in the top five in the opening stint and was even scored as high as second as the field cycled through pit stops within the race's first 45 minutes.
"I felt really good and comfortable and it was nice to be able to run up there and not make any mistakes," said Dempsey, who came to Daytona riding a five-race top-10 streak with co-driver Foster. "I think it was very consistent and I think I can build on that."
Dempsey pitted just before the 45 minute mark in a 70-lap race that ultimately took just over two hours and 10 minutes to run. Foster took over the driving duties in what was more of a strategy move than a needed driver relief change despite extreme humidity and typical Florida summer temperatures in the mid-90s.
"We were really working on the mileage aspect of it and you could see everybody slowing down towards the end of the race, so we were right on track," Dempsey said. "I felt good in the car, I could have stayed in longer. I felt really comfortable. All of the driving up to this point has really helped with the conditioning."
Although the driver change pit stop was slower than anticipated -- "We need to work on that," Dempsey said. "We just have work to do and we will make some adjustments" -- Foster was on pace and working through the field after taking the wheel. He was in a large pack of cars exiting Daytona's East Horseshoe just after a restart when the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley of Oswaldo Negri sideswiped Foster and sent the No. 40 Mazda RX-8 spinning into the infield.
"I spun several times in the grass," said Foster, who was able to continue in the race but only after watching most of the GT competition race past. "They got a drive-through penalty for it but that put us very far back. At that point, and for the last 45 minutes we ran on pace and at the similar lap times of the leaders. The balance of the car was good and once, right after the hit, we cleaned out all of the grass in the car and changed tires, we were running well. We made a final stop inside the fuel window and just ran hard to the finish."
Dempsey and Foster finished 11th in Daytona's summer race for the second year. Although the top-10 run that began for the Dempsey and Foster duo in May's rainy race at New Jersey Motorsports Park is now over, Dempsey Racing's progress has been evident.
"We have been really consistent," Dempsey said. "We have been fortunate that the car has been really strong this year. That's a real testament to the crew and Mazda and what everybody has been doing here has been very solid."
Dempsey, Foster and the Dempsey Racing team also raced with the large and enthusiastic on-site support of El Grado, which sponsored the team and drivers for the third race this year. In addition to a strong presence at the track, El Grado also hosted a special reception for VIPS and the media at the nearby Shores Hotel in Daytona Beach on Friday night.
"It was great to have them here," Dempsey said of the El Grado Spirits executives and personnel in Daytona for the weekend. "It was nice to see that their families were here too with them, especially on the Fourth of July holiday."
Five races remain on the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule. Next up is the Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, July 17 -- 19. The Barber race can be seen live on SPEED at 3 p.m. ET.