Spirit of Daytona Practice Sessions at Phoenix The two 45minute practice sessions held on Thursday night were crucial for the Spirit of Daytona's 09 and 07 Pontiac-powered Daytona Prototypes. The combined hour and one-half ...
Spirit of Daytona Practice Sessions at Phoenix
The two 45minute practice sessions held on Thursday night were crucial for the Spirit of Daytona's 09 and 07 Pontiac-powered Daytona Prototypes. The combined hour and one-half sessions were the only preparation for the four seasoned team drivers. Driver of the 09 DP Marc-Antoine Camirand and Roberto Moreno driver of the 07DP, needed all the time they could squeeze out of the two sessions because it was their first time driving on the rovel at the Phoenix International Raceway.
In contrast Doug Goad, co-owner/driver of the 09DP, and Bob Ward, owner/driver of the 07DP, have both raced and placed in the top-ten last year during the April 04 race. Even with the past track experience the race conditions have changed considerably from last year's race. This weekend's weather topping off in the 100's Fahrenheit will be a huge factor affecting time spent in the DPs.
The first practice session for both the 09DP and 07DP were purely for practice. The 09DP sponsored by Spiralz/SpeedCom Communication/Chemcraft was still having its setup examined and reevaluated from the last race at Mid-Ohio. Drivers, Moreno and Ward, in the 07DP sponsored by Waste Service, Inc. were trying to get acclimated to racing again after a two-month break in their racing schedule. Both DPs had trouble finding the much needed grip and their laps were not the times the team wanted to see. So the team went back to work.
After the first session, the Spirit of Daytona team only had 45 minutes to work on the cars and improve the setup. Justin Lages, crew chief of the 07 DP, commented on the ability to turn the 07DP around so fast, "We had sheer determination and drive to fix the 07 front and back. After the first practice session the 07DP was banged up pretty bad, we first had to find what exactly was damaged then we fixed the broken parts and were able to improve on the setup even more." Bob Ward, owner/driver, of the 07 DP was happy with the adjustments and last minute improvements on the car. "Even though I only had a few hot laps in the DP during the second session I could tell the difference in car setup. They could not have gotten it any better in those 45minutes," said Ward with a satisfactory smile.
During the 45minute break between sessions, Troy Flis, owner/ team manager, was able to utilize all of his resources and improve the 09 DP setup considerably. At the conclusion of the shorten second session the 09DP had the 12th fastest lap time and both drivers, Goad and Camirand were happy with the setup and the car's grip.
Flis explains the improvement, " We did much better and I feel the setup is finally working out for us. We have been working with the Crawford group this weekend to setup for the Phoenix track and improve on the car's geometry. The car is reacting well to the changes and we are all excited to see how much more we can improve on the car. Friday's qualifying session will be used as a practice session to understand the car better and see what we should push and change around. We will continue to do what we think is best for the car and see how it responds to all the new changes."
As Thomas Edison said, "Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless." With every race and every fast lap or slow lap the Spirit of Daytona team will learn as much as they can to constantly improve their car and their chances at the pole.
The 09 and 07 DPs will hit the grid at the Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday September 10 at 7:00PM.
Phoenix: Spirit of Daytona DP practice report
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