Grand-Am Rolex Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona
Topics: Rolex 24 at Daytona
January 31, 2010
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
DAVID HASKELL: I think I drove like three or four hours. I try to do my part as much as I can. I let these guys go when we had to go at the end there. And I think we built this car in 30 days, did we? 29 days. It was the last car out of three that we built for two for customers and this one for us. It was the last one done.
And, yeah, I've been at the shop every morning seven days a week for 90 days like 6:00 in the morning until 7:00 at night. So it's all worth it, though. And I'm sure at all guys that are packing up the truck right now would say the same thing. And I'm with them there all the time and it's definitely worth it.
THE MODERATOR: Jonathan Bomarito, a great way to start up the run for the championship.
JONATHAN BOMARITO: Amazing. I was fortunate enough to do this race with these same three guys last year. And to be able to come back and have that continuity and that relationship, we just felt so confident in all of each other's ability, the car, and we knew what we had to do. We just had to stay out of trouble and keep the car on the track, and we did that. And here we are. I got a new Rolex. I can't believe it.
THE MODERATOR: Nick Ham, not sure of your future plans. What does it mean to go out with the Rolex watch for the second time at Daytona.
NICK HAM: It feels great. I talked to a lot of you earlier, so I'll be brief. It just feels really wonderful. And it's been an honor and a pleasure to represent SpeedSource and Sylvain and all these people and Robert and John in the background there, thank you very much for the opportunity. And it means a lot to me.
THE MODERATOR: Sylvain Tremblay, not an uneventful race with the contact there early on with the 55 car. You were driving at the time. Sylvan, your thoughts? Last year you had that problem. You fought your way back and way out of contention. This time you were able to get back and win the race.
SYLVAIN TREMBLAY: Just goes to show, never give up. Obviously it's one of our mottos at Mazda. This win is for all the dealers, 900 of them all across North America and Mexico. And I think we have over 9,000 in Mazda Speed Motorsports, club racers, that have the same will to win, the will to never give up. And that's what it was all about.
And, yeah, it's disappointing, we thought we were doing everything right and to be collected like that was frustrating. And it seemed to be the same color car causing the problem for us most of the day.
We got through it. The guys really did not panic. I think that was one of the key, having Bill Riley in the pit box is a great help.
When David's in the car, it's hard for him to do 900 different things. He usually does 800 different things. But having Bill was a calming effect for us. We have a great relationship with Riley Technologies, another chassis partner. And to put this program together. And the customer program, having multiple Mazdas running and doing well, to have our team car on the pole, to have racer's edge, being 2nd, 3rd. Having the Nonamakers running up to 4th at one point, to having the Dempsy Racing doing really well. It's really special.
David touched briefly on the amount of work that was done at the shop by a hard-core dedicated group of people in Sunrise Florida. Huge hours. Huge effort. So it's very special to be here for the second time and to win again at Daytona. I love this place.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. We were in here maybe a little bit past midnight having to console John Doonan, down in the mouth, looking at all the laps to come back. Things weren't going as well as he had hoped. He's an Energizer bunny. Was that limited to him, or was anybody on pit lane maybe not seeing the stars align?
SYLVAIN TREMBLAY: Obviously it weighs heavily on me. I was at the controls at the time of the incident as we're going to call it. And just the weight of disappointment, not only for me personally, in everything we have riding on this race, but the guys. -- I mean, we glory hounds here, we're just a very small cog in this giant machine. We have our partners at Mazda. Robert's here. Robert Davis, Senior Vice President from Mazda, and John Doonan and everybody that supports us. And you just want to do so well for these guys because they get it and they come here and do it.
So to roll the car to the garage at that time with some damage was just awful. So, yeah, it was tough, but everybody said we're not going to panic and we'll do what we need to do.
DAVID HASKELL: I'm also thinking, we were eighth at one time. I was telling Nick, before we came in here, trying to figure out what we have to do to, how quick we've got to go, two seconds a lap quicker, if we can do that, how many hours it's going to take and looking at the clock. So I don't think anybody really gave up at all.
We were just trying to figure out a way to get around this problem that just happened. It happened in the race. Sometimes that's what happens. When we want to know -- in '08 I had an incident where everybody did what they were supposed to do. The car came in the garage. And Sylvain and I grabbed a couple of strings to make sure everything was straight. We couldn't see anything was wrong. We sent Nick back out. We kept going from there.
The steering wheel was all crooked and you can't see the dash, but all these guys did awesome. I can't say enough for Jonathan and Sylvain and Nick. They just, they all put their head down and we had some luck. That's always part of this race.
Those guys that were just in here before, the TRG guys, had a couple of problems that really helped fall into our lap. We took advantage of it. I don't think anybody in pit lane was really down too much. We were just trying to figure out a way to get through this little snafu we had. It's not going to go perfect all the time. We haven't had one of those yet. That's what I think.
Q. Sylvain, the Mazdas really did an admirable job. This is one of the few times in recent years that we've seen an Armada car take on the Armada Porsches, and you guys -- Mazda really stepped up here. But I see by the statistics one Nick Ham led the greatest number of laps for the Mazda gang. And you came second to him in the team with 51. He was at 58. And yet Nick may be heading for cooking school. Could you tell us what your perspective is on what his future may be?
SYLVAIN TREMBLAY: Let me back up a few steps for you. He actually cooks very well. Really, the driving force behind this particular program, if you look at it, it is at the pinnacle of the motorsports ladder that Mazda has.
One of the great things that Mazda does, as compared to other manufacturers, they try to promote from within. They take from karting to Skip Barber to Star Mazda and so on and so forth. So Jonathan being a product of that, we really are fortunate to have dozens of top-notch talent, Mazda already has, Mazda shirts and Mazda jackets, that we can pick from.
For us -- not that Nick wasn't doing the job. That was not the issue. The issue was that we had three years for that particular combination, and we felt that we had the change in ingredient in the cooking, to go back to your particular term.
And we really felt that Jonathan, we were fortunate to have a shootout. He was head and shoulders above everybody else that shot out. We had this combination last year. And I thought we had a great combination to win the race last year and nine laps into it everything went awry per se.
Jonathan really is a product of Mazda, Mazda's development ladder, and this is the pinnacle or the destination, per se. Every ladder has to go someplace. And to sit here in victory lane at Daytona on the wings of Mazda, that's pretty special.
THE MODERATOR: Since we've been confirming rumors today. I've been hearing stories we may see a third SpeedSource Car at Homestead Miami Speedway March 6.
SYLVAIN TREMBLAY: That is the plan. We've sold another car. We're hoping to debut that car at Homestead Miami Speedway with the Martinez brothers, two outstanding talents from Colombia, that race a radical and do some endurance racing, are really intrigued about Grand-Am, how competitive it is, the different types of cars, different classes, the DP/GT concept, the racetracks we go to.
So obviously the international flavor of the Grand-Am series is touched upon in South America and has generated a lot of interest. The fact that our cars, the Mazda brand is now a worthy competitor to the German Mark, speaks volumes to their commitments to this series and what we're trying to do here.
It was very cool to see the pace car that I really like when it was out there. Didn't go out there a whole bunch, which is good, but what a beautiful pace car we had.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
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