Daytona Beach, FL 25 January 09 – The Spirit of Daytona Racing No. 09 Porsche V8-powered Coyote overcame several setbacks over the course of 24 hours of hard racing in the 47th Rolex 24 At Daytona before racing to the finish with the Boy Scouts of America-livered machine. The team completed 649 laps to finish 11th in the Daytona Prototype class with motorcycle champions Jeff Ward, Scott Russell, and Jason Pridmore sharing the driving duties with Spirit of Daytona Racing pilot Guy Cosmo.
The race marked the first round of the 2009 Rolex Sports Car Series as the team continued to move the development curve forward for the Coyote chassis teamed with Porsche V8 power.
Starting the race from the seventh row, the team was dealt its first bad hand in the early laps, as the electrical charge dropped, forcing the drivers to race in the high cockpit temperatures without the benefit of helmet blowers or coolers as all non-essential electrical systems were switched off to conserve power over the long run.
Before the race passed the first hour mark, the challenge got even bigger after the clutch went, only to then be followed up by a throttle cable issue that also slowed the team’s progress. But the team continued on undeterred, focused on bringing team partner Boy Scouts of America a finish in their first Rolex 24 together.
Despite the race being the first Rolex 24 appearance for Pridmore and Russell—Ward made a start in the 1997 Rolex event—the motorcycle champions continued to show a quick adaptation to running on the high banks on four wheels rather than two, keeping the car moving at a quick clip over and over on the 3.56-mile infield road course.
The team continued to press on through the night and into the long Sunday race day. As the field thinned from attrition while the team established a strong rhythm and moved up the charts, there was one final set back as a fuel line broke and caused a small fire in the pits as Cosmo came in to turn the car over to Russell. Quick work in the pits by the team and fire marshals saw both Cosmo and Russell out of the car unscathed. After taking the No. 09 behind the wall for the first time after over 22 hours of racing, the team found the problem, fixed it, and sent the machine back out to race to the finish.
Appropriately enough, “Mr. Daytona” Scott Russell took the machine across the finish line for the 649th time to accept the checkered flag just after 3:30 PM ET local time.
“I couldn’t believe that they could get the car fixed after the fire and back out on the track,” said Russell. “There have been a couple of times that I had to pinch myself that this whole experience is really happening. The team has been great. It’s amazing to get through the adversity that we did, that the whole team fought back all they way to get to the finish. This Coyote did its job and I know the team is looking forward to getting the new one soon and starting that development process. This was a fatiguing race, but I had a blast and would love to do it again. It was great to have Guy driving with us because I’m not sure what we’d have done if he wasn’t with us. It was a long day! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to race again as soon as (Rolex next race) VIR.”
“This was a great opportunity to race in this Rolex 24 after watching it for so many years and just wanting so badly to race in it myself so it’s great for us to get to the finish today,” said Pridmore. “To be fair, we certainly had our share of problems in this race but the team never gave up and never stopped fighting. It’s a big challenge for us to jump into this sandbox like this, but I think we just kept getting closer and closer and we’ d made a lot of progress before the fire. You always want to finish on top, but this was our first time out. I’d love to do this again.”
“There was a lot of rubber and junk out there on the track in my last stint, but the car was pretty much consistent throughout,” said Ward. “I got a lot more time in the car in this race than when I was here in 1997 because even though we had some set backs, the car just kept running, all through the night. This is a great group of guys to work with and I want to do more races like this, but it’d be great to get more time testing and getting ready but if there was a chance, I’d really like to do more. The seat wasn’t perfect, so I’m going to be sore and tired tomorrow, but this was a tough race!”
“It is an amazing feat for us to finish this race, with the guys doing this for the first time and all the problems we had to overcome to get to the end is just amazing to me,” said Cosmo. “But all the guys did great. It was a grueling race, and I think we are all feeling beat up and cramped up, but I think this was a good chance for us to work with some fantastic champions and to also keep the process of learning this new Coyote bodywork going . I’m happy that the fire didn’t cause any injuries and that we were able to get back out and keep going to have Scotty take it over the finish line.”
“We put a pretty big challenge in front of ourselves to have the motorcycle guys taking this on for the first time after we just got this bodywork a month ago. So I think we have to be happy to come out of this with a lot of data and another finish in the Rolex 24 as well,” said Team Owner Troy Flis. “This was a great opportunity to work with some really cool people, and we’re all counting our blessings to get to do that. I’m just looking forward to getting the new car and to hopefully having the chance to go to VIR with a car that we’re already familiar with inside and out.”
Spirit of Daytona Racing Hourly Updates
Rolex 24 At Daytona
January 24-5, 2009
Time Position (overall)/Distance
Hour 1 P 17/34 Laps
Hour 2 P 19/65 Laps
Hour 3 P 37/86 Laps
Hour 4 P 34/115 Laps
Hour 5 P33/139 Laps
Hour 6 P 31/ 164 Laps
Hour 7 P 30/192 Laps
Hour 8 P26/ 226 Laps
Hour 9 P 25/255 Laps
Hour 10 P 22/280 Laps
Hour 11 P18/313 Laps
Hour 12 P22/330 Laps
Hour 13 P22/364 Laps
Hour 14 P19/387 Laps
Hour 15 P19/414 Laps
Hour 16 P23/431 Laps
Hour 17 P21/463 Laps
Hour 18 P21/493 Laps
Hour 19 P20/518 Laps
Hour 20 P20/549 Laps
Hour 21 P23/561 Laps
Hour 22 P24/589 Laps
Hour 23 P24/617 Laps
Hour 24 P23/649 Laps
About the Boy Scouts of America
Serving nearly 4.7 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.
Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts of America kicked off a multi-year 100th Anniversary celebration. Over the next two years, BSA will reintroduce to America the contributions Scouting makes in communities across the country and the positive impact Scouting has on millions of young lives. The 100th Anniversary celebration will include major national events, activities, and initiatives to engage nearly 3 million youth and 1.2 million volunteers; an estimated 50 million Scouting alumni; and the general public.
About Spirit of Daytona Racing:
Spirit of Daytona Racing is headquartered just down the road from the “World Center of Racing ” in the Daytona Beach, Florida area. Team principal Troy Flis has steered the team since its inception, and the organization has competed in Grand-Am since 1999, with sixteen class victories to its credit.
Utilizing the unique Porsche V8-Coyote combination, the team is looking forward to getting a fast start to the 2009 Rolex Sports Car Series season with three motorcycle champions-Scott Russell, Jason Pridmore, and Jeff Ward as well as Guy Cosmo behind the wheel.
About Sullivan Worldwide Marketing Group
Sullivan Worldwide is a leading strategic marketing and sponsorship agency. Since the firm’s inception in 2002 Sullivan has been responsible for structuring sponsorship and marketing relationships valued in excess of $980 million. Sullivan is best known for selling the entitlement of NASCAR’s premier series, The NASCAR Sprint Cup, on behalf of their client NASCAR.