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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A Merry Band of Race Fans Goes to Daytona.

It’s official. The 2010 Race season is here. During the weekend of January 28th – 31st professional road racing got underway with the Grand-Am Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. At some point last year someone told me, “Jackie, you have to get to Daytona.” I don’t remember who it was, but when I created my “race bucket list” for 2010 and 2011, Daytona 24 was on top. I booked the trip in November and was jumping out of my skin with excitement until the day I landed back in New York on February 1st. It then took me a week to catch up on sleep and to get my nervous system back in ‘normal operation.’ I have finally returned to a sense of calm. Looking back over two and a half days at the track, the memories are very much real versus surreal. It was overwhelming; it was amazing. It was definitely the best weekend to drop the green flag for the New Year. Adding to the richness of the experience was spending the weekend with Wilson and Felicitas, her Dad visiting from Germany, Theo, his son TJ, and John Allard. We were a merry band of Metro Race Fans.

How could anyone read the names on the driver lineup and not get excited? The list was a who’s who of the World’s Top Porsche drivers. Porsche Motorsports sent over their chosen, namely six of the nine Porsche Factory drivers: Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard, Wolf Henzler, Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Long and Richard Lietz. Also present were the top Porsche Super Cup and Carrera Cup drivers from Europe and Asia, Joreon Bleekemolen, Tim Sugden and Martin Ragginger. Mixing these drivers among the various Porsche teams made for a high-octane martini of driver talent to shake up the Mazdas and Corvettes on the track.

Throughout the weekend we made our rounds of the Speedway. This place is massive. Standing on the grandstand at midnight in the freezing cold watching the cars go by was incredible. The vibration in your ears as the cars pass at top speed on the straightaway is so intense; it travels down to your toes and your whole body shivers from the electrical impulse. It’s wild. Atop the Ferris wheel you can see the entire course and follow the neon glow of the headlights as they travel through the turns and down the straights. The whole track is lit up and the scoring tower glows neon red. You can see it for miles. It would not surprise me if you could see the whole track from space. The camping sites were filled to capacity; the Porsche Corral was packed with every member of the Porsche family tree.

Back at the garages, teams were scurrying about making preparations and taking time to talk with the fans. This location included some of the highlights of the weekend. We saw old friends and familiar faces; some wearing completely different team colors and others with new livery.

Under the TRG banner we found our friends Johannes van Overbeek and Seth Neiman entered in the #67 TRG/Flying Lizard Motorsport Porsche GT3 Cup car. Spending time with them along with Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long before the race is always fun. Johannes and Seth often have humorous stories of what has gone on since we last saw them. We were surprised to hear that Johannes will be driving with Ferrari in the 2010 ALMS season. Felicitas was asking if she needs to stock up on Ferrari gear now. My thoughts: “You can never have enough race gear. Let’s go shopping!”



Across from the TRG garage, we found more friends at JLowe Racing. Jim Pace and Dr. Jim Lowe, the World’s Fastest Neurosurgeon, were back for their 5th Rolex 24 at Daytona. Jim Lowe recalled his first time at Daytona in 2004 as “the adventure of a lifetime.” As their initial test days at the track were cancelled for one reason or another, a last minute spot became available to drive in the race with TRG. Lowe having no prior seat time in a Porsche and being unfamiliar with the road course at Daytona was a bit nervous. Jim Pace, his co-driver and instructor, calmly told him, “Don’t worry. You will be fine!” All Jim Lowe wanted to know after they completed the race was, “How many more Grand-Am events can we do?” Together, they assembled JLowe Racing right after that first event. Joining them this year were Tim Sugden, the Porsche Super Cup Asia Champion, James Walker, Formula Renault open-wheel Champion and veteran Grand-Am driver, Eric Lux. In speaking with Eric, I was impressed that despite being a full time student at Jacksonville University and driving in a full Grand-Am schedule, he still actively participates in PCA Club Racing and historic race series. What young 20-something do you know, who has had the opportunity to race a Rothmans 962 worth about a million dollars at Watkins Glen, and fondly refers to it as “driving an incredible piece of art?” That certainly requires some smooth driving and an incredibly cool head.



In addition to racing for the “highly valued” Rolex Watch, JLowe Racing in partnership with Siemans Gigaset, was also racing to raise awareness for “ThinkFirst” – The National Injury Prevention Foundation. The objective is educating school age children to “think first” before engaging in dangerous actions that could lead to brain and spinal cord injuries. Dr. Jim Lowe has been involved with the foundation for more than 20 years and shared, “Many of my patients would love to have that split second of their lives back, so they could rethink that bad decision causing them to be in a life threatening or life altering condition. The best way to treat brain or spinal cord injury is not to have it happen in the first place.” Information about “ThinkFirst” and their tree-planting fund raiser initiative can be found at JLowe Racing and www.GigasetVoices.com. With every $10 donation, you’ll not only be helping "ThinkFirst" but you’ll also help the environment. While Eric Lux encountered heavy rains at the onset of the race, he brought the #64 JLowe Racing Porsche GT3 Cup car from 17th on grid to P2 in GT class. Tim Sugden maintained a top five position; however, during the third driver rotation of James Walker, the car was retired because to a failed piston. Despite the disappointing outcome for the race, Jim Lowe acknowledged the fantastic efforts of Eric, Tim and James to maintain the car in a top position and keeping it safe during the tough conditions.



An adjacent trailer housed the team for the #14 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup car. This was a gentlemen driver lineup of Ron Yarab Jr, Daniel Graeff, Seth Thomas, Glen Gatlin and team owner/driver Cory Friedman. This Porsche was covered in the familiar livery of the Racing 4 Research - Children’s Tumor Foundation, which has competed every year since 2004 at Daytona. The team races toward the goal of fueling the cure for Neurofibromatosis. NF is caused by tumors in the brain that lead to various stages of neurological and physical disabilities in children. One in three thousand children is affected, making this disorder more common than MS, Cystic Fibrosis or Huntington’s disease. To have the #14 car and drivers present this year was a testament to the commitment of those involved in the Children’s Tumor Foundation and to Cory Friedman, owner of Autometrics Motorsports. Previously, the car was supported by Farnbacher Loles Racing and, since their dissolution, finding a car, a skilled crew and sufficient resources on such short notice was quite a challenge. Ron Yarab, Jr., surgeon and gentlemen driver, invited me to be present when the 50 NF Heroes (the children affected with Neurofibromatosis) gathered with their families, the Racing4Research crew and drivers, to sign their names on this year’s car. It was a really special part of the weekend. The children and their families raised funds to participate in this year’s Daytona 24 and donated monies directly into the Research Fund which receives NO national funding. As Ron warned me, the drivers visibly show their emotions when meeting with and talking face to face with the kids. On the receiving end, the kids soak up the attention and it is not hard to tell how much they enjoy being a part of the team. As for their results at the end of the 24 hours, the #14 Autometrics Motorsport – Racing4Research Porsche GT3 Cup started from the back in 25th and finished without major incident in 15th place. A staggering $374,000 was raised to fuel the cure for Neurofibromatosis. More information about this disorder can be found at Children's Tumor Foundation : Racing4Research.

A great fund raising effort has been put together by Fatheads - Fathead has created an official wall graphic of the #14 Children's Tumor Foundation car. This is the first non-NASCAR race car they've ever offered for sale. Fathead is donating a number of the #14s to CTF for the NF Heroes and sponsors. Any online sales of the graphic will also generate income for CTF - nearly $30 of each sale will go to the Foundation.

Fathead - Racing4Research wall graphics








Metro NY Region PCA also had three long-time members participating in the 24 Hours at Daytona. Over at Obit Racing, Tom Papadopolous of Autosport Design and John Baker were here, driving with Guy Cosmo, Johnny Mowlen and Lance Willsey in the #88 Porsche GT3 Cup. Tom has been racing for over 22 years, now appearing in his 6th Daytona 24, and has competed on other top circuits as Laguna Seca, Sebring, Elkhart Lake, Spa and Mugello, achieving several top 10 finishes in his career. John just finished his rookie season in 2009 winning the American LeMans Challenge class, partnered with pro driver Guy Cosmo at Laguna Seca also with Orbit Racing. While the #88 was moving up in position to a high of 6th, its race ended Sunday morning when an oil line broke and the #88 burst into flames. Race over. :(






We did end the day on several high notes. First, the #44 Magnus Racing Porsche finished in P5. Why is this significant? Because the Crew Chief for Magnus at Daytona and for the rest of the 2010 Grand-Am Rolex season is none other than Metro NY Region PCA member John Bedell of T&S Motorworks. John has participated in 10 consecutive Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona as part of the crew for TRG and now for the new team of Magnus Racing, with team owner/driver John Potter and Craig Stanton. Joining Potter and Stanton behind the wheel were two exceptionally accomplished drivers; Jeroen Bleekemolen , Porsche Super Cup series Champion and Porsche Factory Driver, Richard Lietz. Over the 24 hour period, the #44 Porsche GT3 experienced a few minor incidents, but John Bedell kept the crew on their toes and everyone was pleased with a 5th place finish. Magnus Racing will be participating in a full Grand-Am Rolex schedule for 2010. Good luck, John Bedell and the rest of the crew! It will be exciting to follow their progress this season.



The final high note of the weekend, of course, was to celebrate in Victory Lane. Porsche wins Daytona with the #9 Action Express Porsche V8 powered Riley, driven by Mike Rockenfeller, Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller and Ryan Dalziel. In GT class, we drank Champaign with Johannes, Seth, Joerg and Patrick, on a spectacular 2nd place step on the podium. We raised a glass to Wolf Henzler, Andy Lally, and the rest of the #66 TRG drivers and crew on a well earned 3rd spot on the podium. The 48th running of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona was certainly a good weekend for Porsche and also for us; the merry band of Metro Race Fans.





Porsche Wins Daytona!



:banana:

this will also appear in the March issue of the Metro NY Region PCA monthly magazine, the Porsche Post.
 

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I don't think you recovered yet.
Too bad you couldn't think of anything to say.
 

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Great post! You covered it all except the lousy rainy/extremly cold weather. What hapened to Flying lizard #67 did they have a pit problem to be down three laps to the #70 Mazda winner? I know that #71 Tino Bernhard and Romain Dumas were leading at one point then had another issue. I was just trying to stay warm and dry in the Porsche tent .
 

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Jackster:

Well done . . . you did a great job of capturing the ecxcitment of the Rolex 24!

Daytona is amazing. I'm heading down in about 2 weeks to spend 5 days at the Speeway for the Daytona 200 motorcycle races. Hopefully it will be a bit better weather than you had.

Thanks for the exciting read.

Court
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jackster:

Well done . . . you did a great job of capturing the ecxcitment of the Rolex 24!

Daytona is amazing. I'm heading down in about 2 weeks to spend 5 days at the Speeway for the Daytona 200 motorcycle races. Hopefully it will be a bit better weather than you had.

Thanks for the exciting read.

Court
yes, i hope you have warmer weather! but bring a jacket anyway! it was loads of fun and i will definately go again...

:banana:
 

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Well done NYPorscheChik!
One day I'll look back on your motorsports photo/journalist career and be able to say, "I knew her when..." :)
 

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Thank you for the excellent report and photos. I was unable to watch the race due to family issues. Reading your article was "just like being there.":)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thanks for the comments... i have the full interviews with Jim Lowe, Eric Lux and Ron Yarab, and a few brief comments from other drivers/crew. would those be of interest to anyone if i posted them?
 

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NYPorscheChik

I would really liike to read those interviews if you have the time to post them:) Awsome article WOW !! My favorite race of the year :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: NYPorscheChik

I would really liike to read those interviews if you have the time to post them:) Awsome article WOW !! My favorite race of the year :cheers:
sure, no trouble at all since they are all typed up.. i'll just pull out some of highlights of each instead uploading 6-8 pages..

i also have from last season, Bryce Miller, Wolf Henzler and Johannes van Overbeek and one of our NY Region club members who races with Schubert BMW at the Ring.... yes or no...

i also have a ton of photos from Rolex, but i'll be honest, i'm not a fan of the photo gallery on the site, so i am updating my personal photo site and will include the link here...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great job, Jackie! Your excitement really came through, and now I want to go to the next one!
Hey SteveKo.. for sure i will be at the Grand-Am at Lime Rock on Monday May31st. this will be Grand-Am's first appearance at Lime Rock.. Anyone is welcome to join our "merry band of race fans."


i'll be posting the interviews from Daytona by Wednesday with some additional photos which i am uploading onto my personal photo site...

:banana:
 

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What a great and informative account...as I was reading it, I actually felt I was there...good job...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
What a great and informative account...as I was reading it, I actually felt I was there...good job...
writing is a great creative outlet.. not to mention a beneficial way to stop my head from spinning after returning from an event.. from the moment i step over the entrance to the track, my mind spins and spins and spins with all the sights and sounds, the noise and the people i met.. only by doing a "brain dump" (writing furriously with pen and legal pad once i get home) does it stop.

the only way i know how to start is by "playing back the tape." i take the HD GoPro that is attached to my head and play it all back and write what i see, what i felt, how it sounded. it's interesting to view your own life like you are looking over your shoulder..(no, i dont wear a goPro on my head.. but you get the point.)

once i write it.. it's done.. i never go back and edit, add, or take away..

then i physically crash like a bad sugar rush.

:crazy:
 

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Well...you are very talented...keep that camera going...:hilarious:
 
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