Dayton Warms Up for Rolex 24 by Driving Chevron in Friday's Vintage Race at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 29 - Highcroft Racing's Duncan Dayton co-drove Roy Walzer's red Chevron B-16 No. 8 in Friday's Daytona Thundersports Enduro...
Dayton Warms Up for Rolex 24 by Driving Chevron in Friday's Vintage Race at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 29 - Highcroft Racing's Duncan Dayton co-drove Roy Walzer's red Chevron B-16 No. 8 in Friday's Daytona Thundersports Enduro race at Daytona International Speedway, part of the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Rolex Historic Endurance Series. The two men finished the two-hour vintage-car race, a preliminary to the 22-hours-longer Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, third in the T2H2 class.
Dayton will also race in the Rolex 24 this weekend, one of four drivers for the SUPPORTNET Ford Riley & Scott team. That car, also carrying the number 8 but 27 years newer than the Chevron, will start ninth in the 78-car Rolex 24 field Saturday at 1 p.m.
Walzer, of Litchfield, Conn., qualified his Chevron, the only B16 Spyder in existence, 18th overall and fifth in class in the vintage race's qualifying earlier in the day Friday. He took the green flag in the car, which was the prototype for Chevron open racers. Brian Redman drove it to the two-liter championship the year it was new.
Things went well at the beginning and Walzer settled into 16th place overall in the running until he and a Spice made contact coming out of turn six, tearing the right-front bodywork and causing a vibration. Walzer soldiered on and the first of two mandatory four-minute pit stops to change drivers and refuel went like clockwork.
Dayton, of North Salem, N.Y., continued to make progress but then a cross bolt broke in the gearbox, causing a lengthy second pit stop. The repair job was difficult because the bolt was not easily accessible, but crew members John Rogers, Biff Bascetta and David Paqua made repairs as fast as humanly possible. Almost a half-hour had elapsed before Dayton was able to refire the car, however, which was costly.
A final stop was needed to repair a brake light that the officials noticed, but the team did take the checkered and was 16th overall and third in class in the final rundown. The event was won by Lloyd Hawkins' team in a 1990 Porsche 962C.
Unfortunately Highcroft Racing's Andy Lally wasn't able to compete in the race. He was slated to co-drive Dayton's yellow No. 7 Chevron B-23 with Martin Stretton of England.
Lally, making his first laps at Daytona ever, qualified the car third-fastest in its class and 11th overall in the 30-car field. After the session the Highcroft Racing crew discovered that the car's motor mounts had cracked due to the fatigue of running on the high banks, however, and they withdrew the car from the competition.
"We could have fixed it if the race was being held tomorrow, but there just wasn't enough time to make the repairs in the three and a half hours between qualifying and the race," Dayton said. "Things like this happen sometimes in vintage racing just due to the age of the cars. I feel especially bad for Andy; he really wanted to run here and he was doing a great job."
That car was built in 1972. A works car, it was run in the Springbok series in South Africa. It won five races in that series, including the Kyalami nine-hour race with Pete Gethin and Jochen Mass sharing the driving duties.
"Running at Daytona was great, but driving that car was really awesome," Lally said. "I'm glad I got the chance to run it during practice and qualifying. It is really fun to drive. The track is pretty straight-forward and very fast. Of course I'm disappointed that I didn't get to drive in the race, but it was great to be here."
The vintage race over, Dayton will now turn his attention to his second appearance in the Rolex 24.
His teammates in the SUPPORTNET Riley & Scott will be car owner Scott Schubot of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Henry Camferdam of Indianapolis, Ind.; and Indy Racing League driver Eliseo Salazar of Hollywood, Fla. Salazar will start the race. Dayton will do the second stint, followed by Camferdam. Schubot will then do the first double stint, and the team plans to do doubles the rest of the event.
The Rolex 24, America's premier road racing endurance event, is the first stop in the 1999 United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC).
ESPN2 will cover the start and the finish live with broadcasts on Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 7 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
A 90-minute highlights show is also scheduled for ESPN the following Saturday night, Feb. 6, at 12:30 a.m.
All times are Eastern Standard.