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Grand-Am Rolex Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Rolex 24 at Daytona

Grand-Am Rolex Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona

Ted Ballou
Kevin Buckler
Wolf Henzler
Andy Lally
Patick Long
Seth Neiman
January 31, 2010


THE MODERATOR: Finishing 3rd we've got Wolf Henzler and Ted Ballou, Andy Lally, No. 66 Porsche. We team owner Kevin Buckler and also in our 2nd place car, which was the TRG Flying Lizard Motorsports joint effort, Patrick Long and Seth Neiman. Wolf, why not start it off and talk about your role in the No. 66 Porsche today.
WOLF HENZLER: For sure. I mean, today that race we were five drivers and finally we tried to give every driver as much time as possible in the car. In the beginning, okay, it was raining, and we said, okay, we put the driver with the most experience in the car. So Andy started the race, did a fabulous job.
I got in the car, which was not an easy decision, but he has experience in the rain and me, too, and I have done many races here before. So that's how the race started. Unfortunately, we had an early problem in the race. We had to bring the car back in the pits and repair -- we lost maybe eight or nine laps and it took us down to, I think, position 11 early in the race.
And then from then we said, okay, we have to push hard. So we increased the driving time of Andy and myself. We were double standing a couple of times and spending a lot of time in the car to bring the car back to good position and finally we finished third.
So I never expected after that problem we had in the beginning that we would finish on the podium. And I must say Andy did a good job, good lap times, and also helped to bring the car back.
THE MODERATOR: Andy Lally, won it last year. What did you think of your chances this year and the way it turned out?
ANDY LALLY: I thought our chances going in were very good. I was very pleased with our efforts before the race and leading up to it. I knew we were going to have very strong competition in the race. Most notably, I thought from my teammates, I picked what the top four were going to be, and if you -- and I nailed three of the top four, and I actually had us fifth.
So stuck us in there and got pretty close. I knew the Lizard guys were going to be really good. I thought the 70 and 57 were going to be really strong. The 71 was my other pick, which was the other TRG car.
And all of which, at some point, all of those cars, including us, led the race. And it was definitely an extremely challenging event this time, every time. But this time it was very, very up and down and every car that led had a problem at some point. Last year we had the easiest 24-hour race I've ever run before. We got extremely lucky. Had good weather and no mechanical issues at all and a strong lineup.
And this year we went out and we were charging right from the get-go. Little things just kept biting us. But we had a good group of really awesome crew. And led by a good strategist. And having a teammate like Wolf and the guys and Ted and Pat and Kelly made it a heck of a lot easier.
THE MODERATOR: Seth Neiman, Flying Lizard would like to welcome you back to Daytona International Speedway and the Grand-Am Rolex series. You had a great partnership with TRG. Came up second. Could you talk about the race, please, Seth?
SETH NEIMAN: As Andy said, it was an unusual race. Every one of the five or six cars that had an opportunity to win the race, had problems, and multiple problems. And that of course produced a lot of emotional roller coasters. I think particularly the TRG cars. But everybody in that top 5 was amazing in their adaptability and made for great racing.
And we had a moment where we went from 1st to 3rd -- well, from 2nd to 1st, to 3rd in a matter of about eight minutes or something like that. And that's why everybody values winning these 24-hour races so much. They're extremely hard to do. And they really put you through the ringer.
I think one of the interesting things was watching our guys. We had Tommy Saddler, Thomas Long and Craig Watkins, in particular, from the Flying Lizard crew, crew chief, chief engineer and strategist, on the 67 car. And just watching them integrate with the TRG guys, who could not have been more welcome. Of course there's a little friendly competition. Not just between Patrick and York for the fastest race lap, but for who was going to get what spot on the podium. But still we were very welcome. And I really appreciate the support that we got. And it was really a great way to come back and run Daytona.
THE MODERATOR: Pat Long, talk about your race, please.
PAT LONG: As Andy talked about. Him and I shared a car last year for Kevin. Had a flawless race. Dream-like races where you couldn't do anything wrong. Very different this year.
There were times where I'm sure the Stephenson guys thought they had it in the bag where we thought we had it. The 71 and, of course, the Mazda guys, who did a great job. And I want to just stop and say congratulations to them. Because as a Porsche TRG Flying Lizard contingent, if it's not going to be one of the family members, there's not a better organization to have to hand the trophy back over to after they won the race in '08.
Those guys push hard, and they give me a lot of hope that I've got a few more years of driving in my career. But no disrespect meant there. They worked their tails off. And I was behind Sylvain. We were just talking about it, about three in the morning when Bouchur used him as a braking marker and reminded us all it's never over until it's over.
But back to the race, great job by everybody, and just always great to be back in Daytona.
THE MODERATOR: Kevin Buckler won two last year in GT. In the early morning hours looked like you might do that again.
KEVIN BUCKLER: I pulled out my camera, I don't know what time it was, and we were 1, 2, 3, actually. I said I better take a picture of this, because that was pretty cool.
Having the team that we put together, all five cars in the last three months, we've been working on this. I know there was a lot of early mornings for myself and a lot of the core guys when we started this thing off several months ago.
And when Seth and I shook hands also and started this deal up together and that was really cool to be able to partner with one of the -- we're kind of the two remaining Porsche powerhouses in North America and joining forces here together was really an honor and also really a pleasure. It was kind of cool to be able to do that.
But Andy was just pointing out to me, we've had two cars on the Daytona podium three years in a row. And that's pretty cool. I gotta give everyone a big high five for that and our teams are good.

Q. What was the exact problem with the 66 car, Kevin? And also what made this race so much different than last year in terms of attrition?
KEVIN BUCKLER: 66, we had a early miss with the car. We weren't sure if it was a fuel pump or coil pack, an ECU. We got a bunch of good heads together and brainstormed this thing. But by the time we figured it out, it was a reference sensor in the engine. 10, 12 laps. Put us back. That put the car back on its heels pretty much.
Like Seth was saying earlier, we had -- every one of the cars led for a while but attrition was crazy. It was several years, couple years ago when we were running 1, 2, 4 for most of the race. We had to kind of hand it over to these guys here, not by choice, but the Mazda guys, we had the race in the bag but our radiators were plugged up from all the gunk from the tires. The choice was either burn up or finish 2nd, 3rd, 4th instead. But a bunch of little issues, gremlins, that bit us this year.
I can't put my finger on it. It wasn't anything that anyone did differently; it was just the way that it all fell into place. Just every car had something different that at one point we led and one point we were back, and one point we led and at one point we were back. And it was just wow, wow, wow.

Q. Kevin, as far as I asked John Force and Richard Petty this question. But Since your recent wins, it's a good question for you, too. Is there anything routine about winning?
KEVIN BUCKLER: For sure not here. I can tell you, as far as regular races, like we usually are, one of the stronger teams, you get a couple of three wins in a season, you might fall into a little bit of a routine. But winning is always really special.
But this race, number one, it's in my opinion, it's the most difficult race any of us ever do, including all the races overseas, 24-hour races. It's sort of our signature event.
It means a lot to us now that we'll be back here next week and the week after with the other part of TRG Motorsports and with Bobbie driving. So, no, nothing routine about it. And it's all special and we have to be grateful when we do win. And when we don't we have to accept it gracefully.

Q. Curious, with the combination of the -- I'm sorry, Kevin, I'm supposed to ask you a difficult question like the square root of six or something. With the combination of these two teams -- Patrick knows what's going on -- with the combination of these two teams are we likely to see this happen again in the future and especially this year, the Flying Lizards and the racers group?
KEVIN BUCKLER: From my side, I don't know where we would do that, probably. But I'm sure we'd love to. If the opportunity came up, we'll try to do it again next year. I'll leave it over to Seth, too.
SETH NEIMAN: This is an idea that's been percolating in my mind for a little while. We thought we'd do it this year. It went very well. We don't have any current future plans. I think if the opportunity comes up it's something we might pursue.
KEVIN BUCKLER: We're just dating right now. (Laughter). We're trying to figure out who is going to pick up the check.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations TRG and Flying Lizard on 2nd and 3rd place finish in the Rolex 24. We saved the best for last. Welcome back the No. 70 SpeedSource Castle Syntec Mazda RX 8. Already had a couple of announcements here this morning by team members. Let's start off with David Haskell. How much did you drive today. And these were brand new cars you ran. This one, I think, was the last to be finished up. Talk about getting ready and getting it here and the top step of Gatorade victory lane. David Haskell.

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