Homestead: Racers gearing up for Saturday's race

Racers gearing up for Saturday's Nextel Grand Prix of Miami. MIAMI, Fla. (February 27, 2003) -- Rolex Sports Car Series teams arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway today to begin practicing for Saturday's Nextel Grand Prix of Miami. Many of the ...

Racers gearing up for Saturday's Nextel Grand Prix of Miami.

MIAMI, Fla. (February 27, 2003) -- Rolex Sports Car Series teams arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway today to begin practicing for Saturday's Nextel Grand Prix of Miami. Many of the racers began to dial in their cars by taking to the track this afternoon for the first official practice session of the weekend.

"Things are going pretty good. I can't really complain. The track is green, so it's pretty slippery out in the infield, but were pretty happy in the banking. I think our times will gradually come down and get faster and faster as we get more track time," noted five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Hurley Haywood, who will share driving duties with J.C. France in the Brumos Racing #59 Porsche-powered FABCAR Daytona Prototype this weekend. "J.C. got right up to speed. He's only a second back of me right now, so that's really good. We're looking for some improvements and hoping for some good times here."

Sunny skies and 85-degree temperatures in South Florida made conditions trying for some teams during the practice session.

"It's just hot, really hot. The engines are hot. The drivers are hot. It's just really hot out there," said last year's SRPII winner Terry Borcheller, who will pilot the Bell Motorsports #54 Chevy-powered Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype with Forest Barber in the Nextel Grand Prix. "The car's good right out of the box. Our testing helped last week. We'll see what happens as the weekend progresses."

One team that did not have much time to prepare for this weekend's race is The Racer's Group. While the team campaigned three cars at the Rolex 24 At Daytona earlier this month, two of the cars suffered major crash damage during the race. The team's third car went on to take the overall victory at the Rolex 24 and has been on display inside DAYTONA USA. Unable to repair its two damaged cars in time for this weekend's event, the team retrieved its winning car from the motorsports attraction in Daytona Beach only days ago to prepare it for the Nextel Grand Prix.

"We really had to thrash to get everything ready on time today. We wanted to get some time in the car today for me and R.J. (Valentine). The car was perfect though. I'm really proud of the team guys. They got the car ready so quick," said team owner and driver Kevin Buckler. "We are just going to continue to improve it all weekend. R.J. did great and he felt pretty comfortable. It's basically our Daytona car and we are just going to step it up a bit."

The Rolex Series cars will hit the track again on Friday at noon for practice and again at 4 p.m. for qualifying for Saturday's Nextel Grand Prix of Miami.

Homestead-Miami Speedway will offer fans both road racing and open-wheel racing during the February 28 - March 2 event weekend, with the Rolex Series running the Nextel Grand Prix of Miami on March 1 and the IRL IndyCar Series running its season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 2. Tickets are currently on sale for the entire event weekend online at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 305-230-RACE.

For more information on the Nextel Grand Prix of Miami and the Rolex Sports Car Series, visit www.grandamerican.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Terry Borcheller , Hurley Haywood , Forest Barber , J.C. Fra