Segal Safe After Daytona Flip Late race accident spoils Rolex run before Champ returns to KONI podium (Daytona Beach, FL) 7 July 2008--American racer Jeff Segal emerged unscathed from a spectacular high-speed flip at the Daytona ...
Segal Safe After Daytona Flip
Late race accident spoils Rolex run before Champ returns to KONI podium
(Daytona Beach, FL) 7 July 2008--American racer Jeff Segal emerged unscathed from a spectacular high-speed flip at the Daytona International Speedway in Thursday night's Brumos 250 after contact with a Daytona Prototype sent the 2007 KONI Challenge Champion rolling in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 before coming to a halt just off the banking at Daytona.
Segal was hoping to add Daytona International Speedway to the list of famous tracks on his win tally for the 2008 season after scoring a KONI Challenge victory at Lime Rock Park in May and then taking a Rolex Series race victory at Watkins Glen in June. At the time of the accident, Segal was running in second to the sister No. 70 SpeedSource Engineering Mazda RX-8, which won the Brumos 250 event.
"I got out of the car completely fine, not even sore at all the next day," said Segal. "I had a huge headache, but I think most of that was from thinking about how we lost an almost-certain podium, and a shot at another win for the FXDD Mazda. It's just a huge shame all around. The car was unbelievably good, and you don't get that too often. The guys have been working so hard to keep this car at the front after our win at Watkins Glen, and we were so close to getting a perfect SpeedSource 1-2 finish for them. Now there is a ton of work to do to get back in time for the next round at Barber. The car is pretty banged up, but I know that everyone is working non-stop so hopefully we'll be able to bounce back strong in two weeks."
The FXDD Mazda RX-8 suffered extensive damage from the Daytona accident, but the safety measures did their job as Segal walked to the ambulance for his mandatory trip to the infield care center in Daytona.
"As far as what happened, I had to watch the replay before I could really put all the pieces together. One minute I was trying to stay in the No. 70 car's draft onto the banking, and the next I'm seeing pavement out the windshield, which is never good. Obviously we were very close to the end of the race, the battle for the GT-class was very close up front, and I was just trying to get clear of the cars behind and hang with Sylvain to get a little gap. We had some DP traffic throughout the lap, and when I entered the bus-stop I checked the mirrors and thought we were clear for a bit.
"At that point I was focused ahead, trying to keep the draft and get a good run onto the straight. I guess I underestimated the closing speed of the DP, and on the exit I just never saw him-- never knew he was there on the high side. We made contact, which was never going to be good, but wouldn't have been game over on its own. The problem was, I guess he felt it was the prudent thing to do to keep accelerating through my car instead of lifting or braking to avoid me, and ultimately he sort of scooped up the corner of our car and flipped me down the banking. It's all pretty clear on the replay, and its just really disappointing because it made a bad situation much worse than it needed to be. Now we just need to put it behind us and work towards a good finish to the season."
Segal did not linger long on the incident, as the Philadelphia native went straight from Daytona to Watkins Glen, where he grew the championship points lead he shares with Jep Thornton in the KONI Challenge GS with a run to third place in the Glen 200 to cap off a busy weekend of racing.
"That was definitely a very interesting race-- there was some good action on the track, especially on all of the restarts. There was even more action in the pits though, trying to work out the perfect strategy. We decided early to gamble on the fuel and try to make the tank last with just one stop in the race, so the beginning of my stint I was being really careful, just trying to conserve as much gas as possible without falling back too far. The guys called the strategy perfectly, and we had just enough fuel for the finish. We didn't have the speed to be a contender for the win in the last laps, but I'm happy to finish on the podium at Watkins Glen and add a little bit to our points advantage. Big thanks to the entire crew for excellent pit work, and especially Ed Senf and Eric Schieb for enabling us to make the fuel gamble work!"
Segal will have two weeks to prepare for his next KONI Challenge+Rolex Sports Car Series double header weekend, as both series will race at Barber Motorsports Park on the weekend of July 18-20.