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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

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Lucas Luhr
Scott Tucker
Richard Westbrook
January 31, 2010


THE MODERATOR: Scott Tucker, you qualified and started the No. 95. Met with some adversity during the practice sessions, came back and got a podium finish. What's your thoughts on the way the Rolex 24 went.
SCOTT TUCKER: It was a hard fight. We had a lot of adversity we had to overcome. The guys did a great job. The team held it together, and we executed on what we could. And here we are.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan Hunter-Reay, how did your race go?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Everything went really well. Everybody did a great job. The drivers did a great job. And Scott started the car in treacherous conditions, did a great job passing it off after that.
And everybody pulled their weight unbelievably. We went two laps down because of duct tape in the seatbelt. We had it jammed so we couldn't tighten our belts. It was a safety issue.
But, unfortunately, we went two laps down because of that. We had one of the quickest cars on the infield. But when it came to the straights, I didn't pass a single person the entire two days. Neither did these guys, neither did anybody, on the straight. We didn't pass anybody on the straight. We passed everybody on the infield that we did. And it's not anything of BMW or Demon, it's just the way things are right now I guess.
THE MODERATOR: What happened on the final lap?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Completely fried the front pads. We were done -- I was on conservation mode big time the last full tank of fuel, and I was short shifting everywhere because the sister car blew up. And it was total conservation mode. The pedal was really long. And finally it snapped and the brakes were done. It was Flintstone brakes from there.
THE MODERATOR: Richard Westbrook, would you talk about the racing conditions and how your race went.
RICHARD WESTBROOK: It didn't really change for me. I started in the dry. I had a great race. I think we can be proud of ourselves that we fought for not so much the victory but the lead lap for I think it was like 12 hours. Then we had this stupid seatbelt issue. Just a little bit of tape.
But all of us drove, I thought, really well considering -- as Ryan said, it was so difficult with our engine. I didn't overtake anyone down the straight. You have to be clever in the traffic.
You have to put people into a mistake, and it was really, really tough. It required a lot of concentration. But I absolutely loved it. It was a great experience. I want to thank Scott and Level 5 for inviting me, because it was a really good experience.
THE MODERATOR: Lucas Luhr, another very strong outing in the Rolex 24 with a class victory and then came close to an overall victory. How did this race compare to those?
LUCAS LUHR: Well, it's the same result as the last one, third of all. But now as the other guys said, first of all, Scott did extremely well in the beginning.
I was, to be honest, I was lucky I didn't have to be in the car at the start, because it was sliding everywhere. So he did a very good job there. And also the whole team, I mean, they worked really hard and you cannot forget we had the big accident. So the car was basically built the whole front end built completely new for the race.
And it was completely reliable. But the engine issue or the lack of top speed we had, I don't know why it was that, but it was like this sometimes you get a little bit frustrated if you start behind other cars, due to lack of top speed.
But that's the way it is. I still had a good race. Congratulations to the winning team. I mean, they deserved it. Otherwise they wouldn't have won. And hopefully we can come back next year and take a victory then ourselves.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for third place finishers.

Q. Richard, I thought this race might be a perfect opportunity for you to alter people's perception of you as being a great GT pilot but nothing more. Do you think you maybe rewrote the book a little bit about you as a prototype driver?
LUCAS LUHR: I think -- sorry, but that's bullshit. He's good no matter what he's in.
THE MODERATOR: Richard Westbrook your comment after Lucas Luhr's comment.
RICHARD WESTBROOK: Nice question after a 24-hour race, it's not so much being classed as a GT driver, but a Porsche driver, just someone that just drives Porsches. It's difficult to get this sort of opportunity. Like I said before, I want to thank Scott and Level 5 for putting faith into me for doing this.
And it would have been easy for them to say you've got no experience; it's too risky. But I hope I did a good enough job that they're pretty pleased.

Q. Ryan, so the only real problems you had was the seatbelt; there were no mechanical issues? And were you surprised by the number of mechanical issues, especially in the DPs? And was the pace, did that contribute to it?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: That's a good question if it contributed to it. I'm not sure. Yeah, that was really our only issue. We came in for a cautionary check on a feeling that I had in the car. Similar to Justin Wilson when he came in. We just came in, looked it over, nothing wrong, went back out, got our lap back, no problem.
But going three laps down because of the seatbelts, that's where we lost it, where we fell out of contention. We're always hoping for that yellow to get us back in, lucky yellow, get the wave-around, whatever. But it never happened.
The pace, it was amazing, I was clicking off low 42s at one point. And I was watching Angelelli for one, just leaving me, especially on the straights. But he was checking out. Had we had a little bit more on the straits -- I think we were losing about half a second on the straights. So we were right there. Definitely right there. Good car. The team did a great job. And that's why I was short shifting in the end.

Q. Ryan, can you explain a little bit what actually happened with the seatbelts?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Well, you know, first of all, all the guys on the crew did an excellent job. One of the guys was new to it and put a piece of tape to show -- in the dark you can't see which side is forward so you don't get it flipped over. You need something to mark the forward side of the belt so you can click it on the proper side.
But he put that up here. He put it up on the top of the belt. So when you open it would go into the rolling clasp, and it made a cobweb from there and it got stuck in there. That's all it takes in racing, you know.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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