PRESS SNOOP: ROLEX 24 – 5 SOURCE THE SPEED • PHOENIX UPDATE-JIMMIE JOHNSON JET SETTER

GT Pole -No.69 Mazda. Photo by Mark Weber

GT Pole -No.69 Mazda. Photo by Mark Weber

JEFF SEGAL/No.69 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 set a new qualifying track record in garnering the GT pole position for the 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona with a lap of 1:49.282/117.274 mph/188.731 kph. Segal pulled that lap out of his helmet on the last lap of the fifteen-minute qualifying session. He knocked off his sister car, No.70 driven by SYLVAIN TREMBLAY. Segal later said “I can’t remember the last time when Sylvain wasn’t on the pole for the Rolex 24″

Jeff Segal on high banking. Photo by Mark Weber

Jeff Segal on high banking. Photo by Mark Weber

As for his pole effort, Segal said “Qualifying is all about getting the right draft and we did.”

Starting next to Segal will be teenager JORDAN TAYLOR/No.30 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8. He had been fastest until the last lap.

Jordan was shooting to make it an all-Taylor family pole situation after his father’s team garnered the DP pole. Father/Team owner WAYNE TAYLOR and older brother RICKY are co-drivers in No.10 Sun Trust Racing Ford Dallara, along with PEDRO LAMY.  And Jordan almost made it. This would have been the first pole for the college student, who just might be one, if not the, youngest driver this weekend.

GT Pole car. Photo by Mark Weber

GT Pole car. Photo by Mark Weber

The top three GT qualifiers were Mazdas.

The second Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8. No.41 was fastest in the second practice for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16, but no one is sure which driver claimed the honor.

The latest news from the saga of what I call The Phoenix (GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing No.99 Chevrolet Riley Daytona Prototype) is: the car will be on the track Friday morning. The team has made great strides and overcome many obstacles, logistical and otherwise, to find a solution and effect it to restore the badly damaged  sports car.

Riley Technologies was recently acquired by Sea Star Group, and BILL RILEY is now President of it. Riley Technologies has 24 cars this weekend including ten Daytona Prototypes, eight Rolex GT cars, and six Camaros in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, which has a field of 81 entries.

Bill Riley shut down his Rolex Series DP team at the end of last season, which made Team Manager BILL FINGERLOW redundant. Fingerlow was already at the track having meetings with several people. Riley saw him and when the Phoenix problem arose, Riley called Fingerlow and hired him on the spot to oversee the repairs to the DP.

Phoenix Rising-Bill Fingerlow strategizing. Photo by Lynne Huntting

Phoenix Rising-Bill Fingerlow strategizing. Photo by Lynne Huntting

As soon as Riley determined that the car needed a new rear bulkhead (not brain), he ordered one to be constructed at his shop in Mooresville NC. The part was two hours into being built when JIMMIE JOHNSON’s jet flew from Daytona to NC. The new part and a jig to hold it flew back and arrived at the track during Night Practice. The welding will be done at the track, rather than off site as previously indicated. The team requested and was granted hardship permission to continue working on the car after the garage closes Thursday night.

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