Daytona II: Spirit of Daytona race report

Spirit of Daytona Racing Debuts New Coyote in Brumos Porsche 250 (Daytona, FL) 4 July 09 -- Every race is important, but Saturday afternoons Brumos Porsche 250 was a particularly big moment for Spirit of Daytona Racing, as the team deployed a...

Spirit of Daytona Racing Debuts New Coyote in Brumos Porsche 250

(Daytona, FL) 4 July 09 -- Every race is important, but Saturday afternoons Brumos Porsche 250 was a particularly big moment for Spirit of Daytona Racing, as the team deployed a two-car Daytona Prototype entry in the 70-lap sprint for round seven of the 2009 Rolex Sports Car Series season.

The one-day race weekend was key for the team as it marked the Rolex Series competition debut for the newest-specification Porsche V8-powered Coyote with drivers Antonio Garcia and Buddy Rice behind the wheel of the No. 90 machine, as well as fielding the No. 09 Porsche V8-powered Coyote entry of Guy Cosmo and Scott Russell.

The Boy Scouts of America joined the effort for Daytona debut of the No. 90 Coyote Daytona Prototype, which had a limited run of on-track testing time in advance of the race weekend.

Despite the schedule of the Brumos Porsche event being an intense affair, with practice, qualifying, and the race start all taking place within five hours, the new Coyote didn't miss a beat as the team soaks up every bit of data, driver impression, and feedback that the car has to offer as it sees development time during the heat of Rolex Series battle.

Rolex 24 At Daytona Champ Buddy Rice qualified the machine on the seventh row, and despite having to make an extra pit stop to evaluate a vibration early on, was a threat to the top-ten thorough out his stint.

Garcia then took over the controls, but before he could work his way forward, the Boy Scouts of America machine was off-course with damage after an apparent tire failure, which ended the day on lap 36 for the No. 90.

"I heard a sound and felt it bottom out, and then it turned, immediately," said Garcia, who had been hoping to visit victory circle as he had in January's Rolex 24. "This track is different from the others, so it was good to get some miles here with the new car. We just need to keep working, and learning this car step by step, learning all we can and looking ahead. We know it is a big challenge, but the car was already getting faster through the race."

While the race ended early for the new machine, the venerable No. 09 was having a highly competitive outing as Cosmo and Russell were looking to give the Coyote a good strong run at the home track, and the duo did just that.

Russell opened the race from the eighth row, and climbed steadily through the pack, racing as high as 4th place despite the close competition and the high heat of the midsummer Daytona race settings. The day continued to go well for the AMA Pro Racing-liveried machine as Cosmo took over and continued to make forward progress, passing some of the biggest names in Rolex competition as the car continued to be on track for a top-five finish.

However, his streak was slowed temporarily when too little space, too much ambition, and one GT car all added up to a quick spin for the No. 09 as three cars tried to run in the space where only two should, sending Cosmo spinning. Still, he was able to quickly return to racing action. But the final set-back was reserved for the end of the race, as the final lap saw Russell, who took over to run the final stages of the event, suffer a tire issue and drastically alter the result, as the 09 was credited with a 14th place finish.

"I had a good run going out there," smiled Russell, who is slated for a busy weekend as he'll travel to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to be part of the broadcast team for the motorcycle race. "The car was good-much better than when we were here in January. And, I was just a lot more relaxed in the car now that I've had more time behind the wheel. So things were really clicking, and I was really, really, enjoying it out there. Sure, it's hot, but I feel great!"

The coach and student combination both enjoyed the run in the No. 09, as the return to the high banks gave an excellent benchmark of how much progress had been made so far this season.

"The car was hugely improved from January, and we were on track for a really good finish so it's too bad what happened with the tire," said Cosmo. "I just want to say thanks to the team for the effort they've put in-not just today in this horrible heat, but also all season long to get us here. Scott (Russell) did a great job and I think showed how he's come a long way in a short time. It was too bad we weren't able to finish as high as we ran, as it'd have been great to give the guys a top-five on the day, but it was still good to have such a strong car and to be in the thick of it."

"Metro Motorsports did a great job with the No 09 once again," said team owner Troy Flis. "Guy and Scott had that car in the hunt no question. A day like today is tough in terms of really trying new things, but we still learned a lot about the new car. There is only so much you can do with a schedule like this. But we were still pretty happy with how things were going up until the tire problem, and it was pretty encouraging how things went for the first time out with a brand-new car. There is a lot to learn yet, but this was a good first step. It is certainly disappointing to have both cars have tire problems so that was a frustrating way for things to end with both of them, but overall I think this was a productive day all around for us and we will keep working and be ready for Barber!"

-credit: sodr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Antonio Garcia , Guy Cosmo , Buddy Rice , Scott Russell