Rolex 24 Daytona debrief

With the live “post card” tweets from the track it seems like I’ve given this particular race, the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona a lot of attention. Yet, as an opening event of the 2013 season it fully deserves it. As my first 24 hour endurance race, and a very eventful race as well, it deserves it even more.

So what did I like about this event so much? Well, first it was at an incredible track. My mom told my dentist I went to a racing event in Florida and her first comment was: “Dayonta?” … sure its not the same event she’s probably thinking of, but hell close enough. Second, it was interesting to see how I could handle such a long endurance race, and to my amazement I held up pretty well. Like the last 6 hour race for Grand-Am at Watkins Glen, with only two of us on station or the ten hours of Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta with six of us on station, it seems these endurance races don’t draw “too many” marshals. Ironically there’s almost always many more marshals for local SCCA events on each station than for these Pro-Events. And somehow we manage. Nobody forced me to work double or triple shift, but with so few people it made sense to stay on.

Time went by quickly particularly because we were in a direct impact zone for any car coming out of turn 4 and getting a wheel caught on the sand beyond the rumble strip. Four cars smashed directly into the station over a two day period I was there. Six in total over the Rolex 24 weekend. That doesn’t normally happen, but I’m glad we escaped unscathed.

Navigating my way thru Florida was fun. I always wanted to live there and after visiting Orlando and Daytona Beach (as well as a side trip to Cocoa Beach) I can totally see myself doing that in the future. Couch Surfing also came through with excellent accommodation near the track and near the airport, so I couldn’t be happier with that.

daytona 24 debris

daytona 24 souvenir

daytona 24

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daytona 24 local paper

daytona 24 crash APR

Photo courtesy of APR: http://www.onehotlap.com/2013/01/are-pro-drivers-eternal-optimists.html

Ironically, unlike at other events here we were encouraged to take pictures. And wouldn’t you know it that instead of the hundreds of shots I normally take, I only had a few. Luckily my buddy Tim Stoll took a bunch high-quality professional shots that he was kind enough to share, so check them out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/91832184@N04/

Next year’s Daytona is a must!