- First series pole for Antonio Garcia
- Spirit of Daytona, and Coyote pole
Spirit Of Daytona Earns First Career DP Pole At Barber
Team leads Chevrolet-powered 1-2-3 in Birmingham, AL
BIRMINGHAM, AL: Friday marked a day of firsts for Spirit of Daytona. Qualifying for the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL, the Daytona Beach-based team earned its first career Daytona Prototype pole with a lap of 1:21.682 around the 2.3 mile, 17-turn circuit, 0.496 seconds ahead of the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing DP. It was not only the first pole for the Spirit of Daytona, but the first pole for driver Antonio Garcia in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car series and the first pole for Coyote chassis.
The No. 90 Chevrolet/Coyote now leads what will be a 1-2-3 starting effort for Chevrolet on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
“I’ve been with this team for years now so to get this first pole for the them, I couldn’t be happier for everybody involved, and of course for Chevrolet and Coyote. This all goes back to all of their hard work over the winter,” said Garcia. “Last year we proved that we were a competitive team on road courses, but not on the ovals. This year we’ve come out fast on the ovals, so I would understand if we gave up a little bit on the road courses. But I’ve been in this car two days now and we haven’t given up anything. If anything we are better.”
The strong qualifying effort was important for a team that suffered a scare Thursday when a driveshaft failure in the weekend’s first session sidelined the team for 12 minutes. Still, the team was able to repair the car, rejoin practice and later turned its fastest lap of the session.
We said we were going to be good, so I’m glad we backed it up.
“We said we were going to be good, so I’m glad we backed it up. We’ve had three good years here, but we haven’t been able to make it happen yet. Now we’ve got tomorrow to come out and try to lead the rest of the weekend,” team owner/manager Troy Flis said. “We’ve got a fast car for to hopefully run up front all day tomorrow. But we’re not just fast because we’re at this racetrack. We were strong at two tracks we didn’t expect to be, and now we’ve got a pole. I’m very excited.”
It’s been an up-and-down season for Spirit of Daytona. After two strong qualifying efforts (Daytona-6th; Homestead-3rd) the team was looking at podiums in each of the season’s first two races, but was sidelined in both by accidents. Still, since joining the DP ranks in 2004, there is no denying that the once little team out of Daytona Beach is poised to earn its first career DP win.
“We started out like a little baby team, and a baby car and race package, and now we are growing and ready to earn victories,” Garcia said. “The team’s not fully grown yet, it never will. We’re just going to keep growing and growing and I hope it never stops.”