Donohue puts SCP on notice
When Kerry Morse asked me if I wanted to write something for the site, of course I
said sure. When it comes to Grand-Am, our great relationship shows its true
colors - we agree to disagree...lately it is more often than not. However, whenever I
sat down to begin writing something, I never seemed to be able to start. So
consequently, Kerry (and John Brooks) never received what I promised months
ago after the finale at Daytona.
Of course I am very excited about our chances in the Rolex and would like to tell
everyone why. Brumos has put all of the required pieces in place for us to win
(either of the two cars really). But still, Kerry and I are on opposite sides of the
fence on the whole formula. He likes Group C, and so do I, but they did not survive.
He likes LMP-900, and so do I, but even that formula is struggling. So then, Kerry
being Kerry posted a photograph of my helmet on a mailbox. He claims it was to
see if I actually ever looked at the site, but I know him well enough that there is a
hidden meaning that I have yet to figure out. Brooksie didn’t even realize it was my
helmet, I guess that says something too.
So folks, here’s what has been going on with our Grand Am program: - As usual,
the winter seems too long even though we finished our season just in November.
We have done little testing, but that is not to say we have not been working hard for
the 2004 season. We’ve had two successful tests, Homestead and Daytona, in
which we have accomplished many of the goals we set out to during those
As expected, it took no time for Darren, Sascha, and Lucas get comfortable in the
car. It took Darren about half a dozen laps at Homestead to figure it all out, and
really none at Daytona. Both Sascha and Lucas sorted themselves out in short
order too. The result is that our race strategy will have nothing to do with who is in
the car at any given time. We are all capable of getting 100% out of the car. That is
rare in racing nowadays, and is a welcome situation heading into this weekend.
From the car and team standpoint, we are equally well equipped. Mike Colucci’s
guys in Jupiter and Jim Bailie’s guys in Jacksonville together have been working
very hard since even before the January test to guarantee to the best of their ability,
that the race weekend will go like clockwork.
Bump ‘n Grind
The Rolex 24 is a strange race though. It is different from Le Mans and Sebring.
This race seems to eat cars alive. It is normally not as much of a sprint as Le
Mans and Sebring because the attrition is so high, even the good cars. Experience
and tenacity seems to win Daytona. When my dad won in ’69 (against the
Porsches incidentally) they had a 90 minute stop to re-weld an exhaust header.
Typically, if you don’t have any problems, then you’ll win by a large margin. Most
years the winners do overcome some sort of adversity, so it comes down to who
manages their problems the best. I think this year’s race should prove to be a little
more heated than normal. There’s a good chance that there will be more cars
racing for position at the end of the race than what we have come to expect in
recent years because of the number of good teams and drivers in the field.
Eyes Right and Left
There is the #54 Bell car, which has won the championship, is always towards the
top of the timesheets, and has a strong driver lineup. The Ganassi team although
new, has shown early speed and has been doing long distance testing in
Phoenix, keeping Darren all too aware of the competition since he can hear the
car from his home. Ganassi also has a strong list of drivers. The Crawfords are
also fast, but also unproven; however, if you have seen one, you know not to
underestimate them. Yet again, some good names driving in Crawfords too.
Doran has won the race before, so it is naive to think he doesn’t know how to
prepare. The list just keeps going on.
I will say that I am completely confident in the Brumos preparation. Nevertheless, I
believe it is the sort of attention to detail that we as team have done to prepare for
this weekend that is a prerequisite for this year’s race winner. We’re not alone in
our quest for victory lane on Sunday afternoon. It will be a tough race, but hopefully
an exciting one. Of course, I think the Red Bull car stands the best chance.
Hey Kerry – are you happy now – only two months and two days late. But this time
you can expect some news from me at the track since I know you won’t show up!