Grand-Am Rolex Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona
Topics: Rolex 24 at Daytona
January 25, 2009
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
J.J. O'MALLEY: We'll bring up our race winners, No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley. David Donohue, Darren Law, Buddy Rice, Antonio Garcia.
David, if you could talk about your emotions taking the lead from Juan Pablo Montoya and holding him off over the final laps of the event.
DAVID DONOHUE: I'm not sure how to begin after all what I just heard. We tested for like 3,000 miles here. "We" being the team. And Darren -- I wasn't doing much of the testing, and came up with a real efficient package, if anyone notices. Yes, we got them on the straight. Ever noticed how he closed up in the breaking and the chicane and so forth. I'll leave it at that. It's ridiculous at this point.
Emotions run high mostly for our team. We've been at the bottom of the barrel for a while through '04 and '05. And these guys just, I've said in the past pretty much racing has got a lot of tenacity there. Just a tenacious bunch of guys, never give up and today proves the point. We came here ready to run hard and we ran hard the whole time.
The point of running hard the whole time was to win the stupid race. So -- not stupid race. But we ran our tails off the entire time. It was a 24-hour sprint race, no doubt about it.
Was I surprised there were six cars in the lead lap come daybreak? Not really. The Daytona prototypes have proven their durability over the years. The field was filled with fully capable teams, multi-car teams, single car teams. Guys that had done their homework. It just makes it that much sweeter to beat a Ganassi and beat a Penske and beat a SunTrust and so forth.
And here I'm hugging the mic. Perhaps I should pass it on to my teammates here.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Darren Law. Montreal last year, you were, what, 200 yards from the checker flag and ran out of gas. What were your thoughts seeing this one so close once again for Brumos?
DARREN LAW: I thought about it the whole time. I kept running back over to the team saying, "do we have enough gas? I don't want a Montreal again." That was definitely on my mind. As David said, we've done our homework. The car was really, really good.
I don't know if anyone knows, we rolled off that trailer this weekend and never touched the car. Setup was spot on. We did a lot of homework. The car is really, really good. Porsche gave us a great motor. The team did a great job. All the drivers did good. So we're really happy.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Buddy Rice, you won open wheel racing's biggest event. And now you've won American sports car racing's biggest race. Your thoughts on winning the Rolex 24.
BUDDY RICE: I'm still shocked by it. To think my face is on the Borg-Warner trophy. That was an elite group. But now to also have all the people who have won the 24 hours at Daytona, and also for me to be able to do both, it's unbelievable. It's hard to believe. I'm just really happy to be coming in with Brumos Racing for the last three, four years, running on both the bookends of the series. I run here and run with Miller with them and it's a great thing.
Darren and I have known each other for years since I was in high school and started working with them, and it's just really cool. It's awesome. I can't be any happier. I'm grateful to see that Brumos, like David said, the last two years we've been quite strong.
We had a self-inflicted wound two years ago, we had a car that was capable of winning. Last year we had a bit of a mechanical issue. It's not like a big shock that we're running up front. But this year we made sure we had all of the Is dotted and the Ts crossed and we came here and executed. That's what Penske does. That's what Ganassi and Wayne Taylor does. There's guys that win races. They execute. You could see how close the qualifying was. You can see how close all times are, but it comes down to execution and not making mistakes. That's what it takes to win these 24-hour races and Brumos did it the best this weekend.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Antonio Garcia also has a double, won Leman in his class last year. Now you win with Brumos, the Rolex 24 overall. What's your thoughts?
ANTONIO GARCIA: It's incredible. I thought Leman last year was really tight. It was different, and here it was tight. Awesome. I could not see the last hour. I was --
DARREN LAW: While David was driving, Antonio, Buddy and I were sitting out behind the tent. We couldn't even watch.
ANTONIO GARCIA: A lot of things came in my mind. Also the Montreal race, because they were involved in that as well. I mean, I cannot describe it. I just want to thank Brumos, these guys, Porsche, everybody.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Thank you very much.
Q. It's clear, especially, David, you sounded a little, I don't know if upset -- hard to make you upset at this point, I would think. But that the 2nd place car would be less than 50 yards behind you after a 24-hour race and the talk is we don't have enough power. Does that --
DAVID DONOHUE: You just hit the nail on the head. Enough said, right?
Q. So my next question is --
DAVID DONOHUE: And they lifted, if he would have stayed in it, it would have been a lot closer, the five car lengths that he was before.
Q. I work for the newspaper in Jacksonville. What does this mean to Brumos?
DAVID DONOHUE: There were a lot of tears out there. Harris Snodgrass was in victory lane. Bob Snodgrass, our late boss, and he was kind of Brumos, and the passion and spirit behind Brumos, passed away two years ago.
We had an ongoing thing with him at the Rolex 24, in particular, because it's one of our two home tracks. The other one being Watkins Glen, since he grew up in Almira; if we won this thing, we'd shave his head. And I miss the chance to shave his head. It kind of jerks your heart a little bit.
But Brumos has a longstanding sports car tradition of success. Like I said before, we've been struggling three years with some equipment issues and organizational. And we just kept sticking to it without dumping people and having a lot of turnover, just getting things organized and prepared properly and getting the right kit together and the right ingredients. That's how they win races. The truth is in the result.
Q. David, that last hour, over here, that last hour was obviously pretty tough. Could you just talk about that, about battling with Juan through the whole hour, and can you describe a lot of the passes?
DAVID DONOHUE: I'm not sure if I can remember the passes. There was a lot of passing going on. No doubt we had good top end. You really had to know how to use it. And all alone -- I really have to be thankful, for making the passes I made, was Dave Marcus, believe it or not.
I did a lot of testing with IROC, and when you run with the IROC test drivers you're all connected on the same frequency and the same radio. So I could run with Dave and Jim Sodder and Jay Sodder and the other four of us are out there talking to each other.
We did a lot of testing here. And those cars are a lot more aero drafting significant than these cars. But the principles still apply. And I basically -- I used what Dave Marcus told me or what Dave Marcus yelled at me, (laughter) so much. And that's how I was able to do it. It wasn't that we could sit there and drive by. We had to plan it. It wasn't so easy. Juan protected a lot. And I had to really plan it and look, seize the opportunity when it surfaced.
Q. Tell me a little bit or tell us a little bit about Antonio's contribution to the team last year at Leman, his co-drivers mentioned he's very quiet, very unassuming but an assassin behind the wheel. Maybe Antonio is not as well known as the three of you here in America, but maybe tell us a little bit about his help here this weekend.
DAVID DONOHUE: I'm pretty worn out right now. So I think without him we might not have had the result that we had, because all of us are pretty worn out.
We planned to do it with three guys, and we ran really, really hard the whole time, and we had a couple of laps down but we were able to come back and it was just through perseverance of the whole team not coming up, all four of us as well as the crew itself.
And we keep -- I keep saying this. We're up here taking the glory. But thousands and thousands of man-hours went in to get us up here, these guys are in Phoenix, he's in Spain, but these guys are hold up in North Carolina busting their rear ends, doing long nights. And that's how we won this thing, not -- we carried the flag. But all we could really do is lose it. Those guys really won it.
Q. What was more significant at the end? Was it really, especially with your teammates sitting right here, the car that got off pit row in that final pit spot, was that the car that had the chance to go after them? Was the race essentially won there as well? And also how did you all get off of pit row first by making a driver change and still were quicker?
DAVID DONOHUE: I don't know if I went before he even said go or not. Our teammates are the hardest ones to pass. They have a similar kit to what we have. Not exactly the same, but very similar. And plus you don't want to take a big risk and knock out both cars after, like I said before, so much effort. It's really a two-car team. They're next to each other. The guys travel together, they eat together. And for one guy to take the other one out that would be pretty horrible within our organization.
Q. David, winning the pole and winning the race, your resume just got heavier. I'm wondering if you had given it any thought about what that does for your confidence and your career going forward?
DAVID DONOHUE: Not really. I'm just proud that I can deliver the goods for the team. And Darren or Buddy or Antonio, all four of us, could have done the same job. I was just the guy who got to be able to do it. If you look at the practice time, we're all right there. So I think that's what makes this team as strong as it is, to be honest with you. And that's why they chose Buddy and Antonio to join us. The same thing happens all year long between Darren and I. Doesn't matter who is in the car. That's what the car's got. We're really lucky that way.
Q. David, again, not to focus entirely on the last stint, but there you were coming, sort of semi cold, getting in the car, and then just immediately up to speed. I mean, that first lap on the restart, again as I sort of asked Juan earlier, he's known as being really quick on cold tires and restarts, but yet it looked like you were all over him and just sort of coming off the bench to do that. Can you just talk about that? And also, then, finally, there was much talk about the switching to reserve tank at the end and alarms going off and everything and wondered if you might give us a little insight into what was going on there on the last lap.
DAVID DONOHUE: Nice to know no one's listening to us, huh? I think the switch to reserve was a caution more than anything else, because if you get a stumble you lose a little time. So going into reserve there's only one lap left, what have you got to lose?
We could essentially get a stumble at pit end and still make a lap on reserve. So he told me to go to reserve as I was approaching Turn 1. So for sure we were going to make it without any sort of a stumble or hiccup. And the tires were fantastic.
They were fantastic, but we were trying really hard and sliding the car sometimes a little bit more than we should. If you get a stumble, when you've got a mistake and big slide going, that could get you all the way around. So I'm sure that's what was on Mike's mind.
So as far as the outlap, I mean I knew we had to get it done. It was all or nothing. Rolex 24. I really didn't care who was driving the car in front of me. All I knew there was a car in front of me and we were right there. And maybe I'm not particularly well known for my outlaps. I know I'm not particularly well known for my outlaps, and it just happened to work out that time, I guess.
Q. David or Darren, did the Ganassi guys have a legitimate gripe when it comes to horsepower, or is it just sour grapes on their part?
DARREN LAW: Honestly, it's just sour grapes on their part. We have the smallest motor. Two fewer cylinders than everybody. Porsche just built a good motor. Like David said, we've done our homework. The car was hooked up, trimmed out. And as David mentioned, look, they crossed the line 50 feet behind us. It was a fight the whole way through.
Maybe people fail to see, but you watch it in NASCAR all the time, when you're coming up, when you're behind another car, you get a draft and you get a pull. As you get that pull you can pop out, get a slingshot around him. It wasn't like we just motored around the outside.
Q. David, I think we'd be remiss if we didn't at least ask you about the connection to your father with this win, with the anniversary, and starting from the pole and winning the race. Can you talk a little bit about that? Does it give it any extra meaning? Is there a connection there?
DAVID DONOHUE: I think it's probably a nice thing to write about. But to be perfectly honest, he's been gone for quite some time. And our guys are the ones that have been doing the hard work and putting the effort to win this race. It's a nice story line, for sure.
I'm certainly very, very proud of my father and his accomplishments and what he's done. Just coincidentally we happened to nail it on the 40th anniversary of him winning the Lola and Penske's winning the Lola. So significance, I feel more of attachment to the effort my guys have put in to this and to Brumos and to Hurley and Bob Snodgrass and Bob Carlson from Porsche. That's where my heart is, to be honest.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Congratulations on winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
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