What could be better than being at the heart of the action in the pit and garages of a prestigious motor racing event, and being able to eat, sleep, and live race cars for several days straight? Well, they say that it is sometimes better to live vicariously through others, and so it would seem to be with working on the crew of a GT car at the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona. My friend Ed and his buddy Mike have been doing this for a number of years, and rather than just look at the pictures and dream again this year, I thought it would be good to share some of them. Like many 24 hour races, the weekend had highs and lows, so follow along.
The team was campaigning a corvette with the Texas Heart Institute partnering with the experienced crew from Mike Baughman Racing out of Maryland. The drivers included 2008 GT champ Paul Edwards, John McCutchen II, Le Mans winner Davey Jones, and motorcycle racing legend Scott Russell. High. Problems early on had the team missing the morning practice sessions. Low. Then, Edwards recorded the quickest lap of the day for a while, and eventually put the car 4th on the grid. This was an impressive result proving the car was quick, and made for a very hopeful weekend. High. The green flag saw heavy rain and tire issues had the team losing places. Low. After a 2nd pit, the car set quickest lap a few times and climbed back up to 17th. High. The car taps the tire wall and is forced to pit twice and then take the car into the garage due to growing vibration. Low. Crew replaces gearbox and stub axle in record time and the car goes back out. High. Car hits the tire wall in turn 1 and does body damage. Low. Crew repairs it and sends the car back out again. High. The car runs for hours, and Edwards begins to run some very quick laps until he feels the rear suspension break and comes into the garage. The car is forced to retire. Low. The team knows it has a quick car and gained some good exposure for the non-profit sponsors. They plan to compete in the upcoming rounds of the Grand-Am series. High.