BRIAN FRISSELLE/No.6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley Daytona Prototype was fastest Rolex 24 at Daytona driver Thursday morning at Daytona International Speedway in the first practice for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask 16. What a mouthful! His best time was 1:41.098/126.768 mph/204.013 kph. All fifteen DP’s were on track, with varying degrees of success. Several were in the garage during the session. No one was hurt during practice, which was shortened to eighty minutes after the last incident.
Forty-two of the forty five entries were on track, with three GT’s showing no time. The fastest GT was DAVID HASKELL/No.70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8, running a 1:50.009/116.499 mph/187.486 kph. Several GT’s were also in the garage.
NASCAR four-time Sprint Cup Champion, JIMMIE JOHNSON was driving No.99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley DP when he hit the tire wall in the horseshoe. Johnson was unhurt, and the damage to the car has not yet been determined. He was running fourth overall at the time, near the end of the session, which then was checkered ten minutes early.
GT driver, MARTIN RAGGINGER/No.23 Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3, said he had no brakes and backed into the Turn Six tire wall. There appeared to be severe damage to the Right Rear of the car, which would require some dismantling to determine extent. At the time the car was in the garage, being examined by a pacing team owner, ALEX JOB, another driver offered a comment. JACK BALDWIN said “We’re in trouble right now.” The car is being taken off-site for tear-down evaluation and repairs if possible.
Young RICKY TAYLOR was congratulated by his No.10 Sun Trust Racing DP crew for keeping the Ford Dallara under control and off the wall when the Right Rear tire blew. There appears to be minimal damage to the car.
TRACY KROHN/No.75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola DP had problems with the rear suspension and brought the car in, so the crew could check. The entire back half of the car was taken off.
Team Owner KEVIN DORAN brought in his No.77 Doran Racing Ford Dallara DP so the team could practice brake changes in the race. They were busy working on the Left Front and Right Rear when last observed.
Godstone Ranch Team Motorsports/Team MBR co-owner LEIGHTON REESE was not a happy camper about the condition of his GT Corvette after it was towed in. The car had been parked on course by SCOTT RUSSELL on its out lap when the car had master cylinder problems. The car damage came from the tow truck, said Reese.
JIM BRIODY/No.21 Matt Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R had clutch adjustment problems while on track and brought in the car for work. This race weekend was put together very recently by MATT CONNOLLY, who is running two other GT cars this weekend – No.19 MCM/Black Flag Racing Corvette, and No.20 Porsche GT3.
This weekend is Briody’s fifty-first 24-hour endurance race, of which he’s won 21. He’s still aiming for a podium finish at the Rolex 24. For many of Briody’s races in a variety of series, including Trans-Am, his wife PAT BRIODY was his crew chief and engine builder, winning the TA Crew Chief of the year Award. Briody did win last weekend’s 24-hour endurance race in Dubai, driving a BMW Turbo Diesel with car owner COR EUSER of Holland, and American drivers TOTO LASSALLY and HAL PREWITT.
Briody’s co-drivers this weekend are also experienced. GABRIO ROSA of Italy has run 24 24’s, and young SPENCER TRENERY of Berkeley CA lost count but estimates he’s run 26 round the clock races.
The second practice is Thursday afternoon at 1:30 PM local time. The weather bright, sunny and working on warm. The flags are gently waving in the breeze. The high is forecast for 67 degrees F/19+C.