A pit lane penalty saw a top ten finish go out of the window for Spirit of Daytona Racing at the Circuit of the Americas’ Grand-Am debut.
Ricky Taylor placed the #90 Corvette Daytona Prototype in fifth place during Friday’s qualifying session, but was adamant that he could get more from the car during the race. He proved himself correct as he held third place during his stint in the first half of the race.
“During the second stint we made a little change in tire pressures and the car was excellent,” said Taylor. “I think we had a car that could have won. It was a lot of fun and some close racing today. It was a good show for these fans in Texas so hopefully we won some new fans, even if we didn’t win this race. Now, on to Barber!”
After holding a top-seven position for his entire time in the car, Taylor handed driving duties over to Richard Westbrook during a green flag pit stop. Westbrook rejoined the race in twelfth but managed to battle his way back up to eighth before contact with another DP car caused he #90 Corvette to serve a penalty.
“It was rubbish day in the office really and we’ll look forward to the next race,” said Westbrook. “The good thing was that we had a good race car. Some days you win and some days you don’t. We got a penalty that was my mistake. I’m really sorry for Ozz [Negri], I hit him in the back in a corner that he was really struggling in and I should have given him more space. We’ll go and focus on Barber and hope to do what we did there last year.”
Despite a poor showing for the Spirit of Daytona team, they leave Austin in sixth place in the Grand-Am Rolex Series points standings, hoping to turn their fortunes around at the next round at Barber Motorsports Park, the scene of a convincing victory for the team in 2012.
“It was an up and down day for us,” said team owner Troy Flis. “I think we had a really good car and we had good pace. In the beginning with the sun out, we struggled a little bit but we made an aero change on our first pit stop with Ricky which he made a really good call on and gave some good information back. I think it’s just that the competition is so stout in this series that it’s pretty amazing that you can have that many cars on top of each other for three hours. Mechanically, the car ran really good – I think at the end of the race we were a top-three car still. I think we just put ourselves in some bad positions so we have to work better at that. We’ll hopefully go do a little testing and work on some things to make it a little quicker.”