Daytona advance notes



CRAIG T. NELSON (WSC #44 Screaming Eagles Lexus Spice) -- I'm looking forward to the race. When we first started out at Sebring, the car wasn't quite right. I think the 12 hours turned into about 12 laps. We had some problems and ended up doing engine development all year. Our first 'real' race was Laguna Seca where we finished eighth, but we were about 150 horsepower down.

(On Ability as a driver) -- I'm looking forward to just going out and being competitive. What I found last year was camaraderie among the drivers and they were willing to share some information and a willingness to let me race with them and be a participant. The fact that they let me race with them and realized that I wasn't a hazard out there was, to me, a victory. This is a great series. I hope we can be more competitive. If the car comes up to what we think it's capable of we'll feel good. To be out there and be racing is a great feeling. From our testing and what we've seen with the car, we've made huge strides since last year. We're getting there.

JEREMY DALE (WSC #2 Brix Racing Oldsmobile Spice BDG02) -- Just to get to the end last year was a victory for us. We finished ninth overall. We didn't expect to win. Anytime you finish the 24 you feel good about that. We were the first v-8 mid-engined car to do that in some 20 years. The points were very important. We had a problem a Sebring and missed winning the WSC title by three points. We did win the manufacturers championship. We felt like we had a great year. The Ferraris were very tough and are going to be tougher this year.

JAY COCHRAN (WSC #2 Brix Racing Oldsmobile Spice BDG02) -- It's great to have a good car and a teammate like Jeremy. It's also nice to have some knowledge of the Ferrari so I can bring something to the team when we get to the sprint races. We'll have our work cut out for us. This is obviously a very good team. I feel confident that this year we'll be able to give the Ferrari a run for the money.

HURLEY HAYWOOD (GTS-1 #01 Rohr Corp. Porsche 911 GT) -- Every year, I wonder why I'm back, but's that's the call of Daytona. I love Daytona. It's so close to my home. The people here at the Speedway have been very good to me and the people of Brumos, over the years that it's always a pleasure racing here.

(tips for Daytona) -- I'm not going to give anybody any tips. This year, we're driving a Porsche 911 GT. It's a GT-2 car in Europe, but it's in the GT-1 category in IMSA. It's a little bit slower than the car we had last year. It has the Porsche reliability. We don't really know what the speed of the GT cars will be because this is the first year under the new rules. We're hoping we'll be competitive. We may not be too swift at the beginning of the race, but after 12 hours we should be in pretty good shape. This is a race of endurance and being around for 24 hours. The nice thing about Daytona is that anything can happen.

TOMMY KENDALL (GTS-1 #70 Nobodies Fool/Roush Racing Ford Mustang) -- Jack Roush treats this race as if we're the only car on the track. We have a five page memo that was sent to the drivers for us to study. One of the main things he hammers home is traffic. Jack drills into us that it's the car that spends the least amount of time in the pits that wins the race. You more or less have to drive with blinders on in that you don't try to race with anyone; which goes against what you're taught. Until I came here with Jack, I didn't have a good grasp on some of those things. Until you become part of a team like Roush Racing and listen to Jack's way of thinking you might not see things like he does. He's going for his 10th win. He probably has a bit of a strange streak in him because at 4 a.m. he's walking around with a grin on his face. The harder it gets, the more tired everyone else gets, the more he thrives on the race. He really enjoys the race. The competition in this race isn't on the track -- to him -- it's in the pits where the strategy comes into play.

BILL AUBERLEN (GTS--2 #85 Porsche Carrera 993) -- I guess our new motto is if you can't beat them, join them. We've got a two-car Porsche team this time. Hopefully, this will take us where we want to go. this is a race where you do, as Tom Kendall says, have to race a bit with blinders on. the cars are becoming more and more reliable and the pace for the race is being upped. We may have to go a bit faster and win this thing.

ENRICO BERTAGGIA (GTS-1 #61 Callaway SuperNatural Corvette) -- For me, this is the first time in Daytona. I'm very interested in seeing how the track is. This is also the first experience for the Callaway Corvette at Daytona. This is a learning experience. In Europe, we run in the GT-2 class; here we are in GT-1. We don't how competitive we will be. We try our best to make good results. The team will try their best to finish the 24 hours.

STEVE MILLEN (GTS-1 #75 Nissan 300 ZX) -- I had a bit of a busman's holiday racing a TransAm-style Camaro in New Zealand over the winter. It's fun to come back as the defending overall champion. It was unheard of for a sedan to win last year. We were in the right place at the right time with a car so strong and proven that we came into last year's race as favorites. This year, I don't think there's any one solid favorite. We come here with a new engine -- a V-8, 4-valve motor from the Infiniti Q-45. I think it's going to be interesting. The 24 is always a challenging race.

We'll be going for the championship. We want to be sure and get through this race. We'll be a bit conservative here and not run the motor as hard as you would in a sprint race. The big thing is to finish and get some points. We've got a proven car.

JOHNNY O'CONNELL (GTS-1 #75 Nissan 300 ZX) -- A lot of guys look forward to this race, but I'm probably not one of them because this is so grueling. We ran Le Mans last year and the circuit is pretty easy on the body. The biggest difference is that they don't have the 31-degree banking Daytona has. When you get to four or five in the morning, things get pretty old and your body is beat. Another aspect of Daytona is that it's dark so long. At Le Mans, it doesn't get dark until 10 p.m. and then by 5 a.m. it's getting light.

We've got a really strong package with the new motor. It's a good barometer for us to see what we might need to change before the rest of the season.

REEVES CALLAWAY (Owner, GTS-1 #61 Callaway SuperNatural Corvette) -- Our first time at Daytona, as our first time at Le Mans last year, has to be considered a learning experience for us. We're really just trying to gain experience so we can do well in the future. This particular car is going to be retired into the Callaway family archives in Lagrange, Ga. after the race.

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About this article
Series IMSA Others
Drivers Tom Kendall , Jack Roush