Patrick Long paid tribute to the Park Place Motorsports crew after securing fourth place on the grid in the GT class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Long will race alongside Spencer Pumpelly, Patrick Lindsey, Jason Hart and Daniel Graeff in the Racing4Research Porsche and came in just half a second shy of pole position in class.
Long admitted that practice hadn’t gone smoothly for the team but was delighted with the way the mechanics kept cool under pressure to deliver such a good qualifying result.
“It’s tricky. The GT fields are so full these days that it’s really about getting that everything to fall into place at the optimum time – your tire pressures, the ability to get a good little slip stream or a tow and, at the same time, avoid getting blocked by guys who are trying to get situated or up to speed ahead of you. We almost got it all aligned, but the real positive emotion is that we had a really challenging day up until qualifying and our run got the train back on the track. To have a top-five starting position is a huge bonus, but we are mostly happy about getting things back situated where we were at the Roar Before the 24. We definitely have a positive outlook for Saturday and Sunday.”
“They say you learn a lot about somebody when things aren’t going well, and it was great to see everybody kept their cool and we worked together and pulled things back together. John Horton, our engineer, was certainly digging deep on setup, and he got it all right where we wanted it to be. We even discussed throwing qualifying mentality out and just tuning on the car, and John said ‘No, no. I’ve got this. We’re gonna roll the dice and get what we need.’ And we did. So, we’re happy. I’m glad he took the initiative and said, ‘Let’s keep going.’”
The second Park Place Porsche GT3 will start 30th in class thanks to Jean-Francois Dumoulin’s effort and the Canadian, who will share the no.72 with Mike Vess, Grant Phipps, Chuck Cole and Mike Skeen, was relieved to deliver a hot lap after a tricky session with traffic.
“We got out there and had a pretty good session. It was important to get out there and try to put the best lap down we could to try and have a positive outcome for our starting point. The last lap I ran was the fastest during the session. We were able to make some adjustments during the session with the sway bar. I caught some traffic during the middle (of the session), but the end was much better as it was clear and I was able to get a cleaner run. Tonight, everyone will take turns for night practice. It’s important to get everyone more track time and rotate each driver. It’s good to get everyone behind the wheel so they will be comfortable during the race.”