ALEX GURNEY, NO. 99 GAINSCO/BOB STALLINGS RACING CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE (DP), met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway following his first driving stint in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
TELL US ABOUT THE FIRST STINT AND MAYBE A QUICK LOOK AHEAD TO THE REST OF THE 24 HOURS:
“I think it started off reasonably well. I made up a position on the start got around (Ryan) Dieziel on the outside of the first horseshoe and just tried to settle into a pace. I think we were going along well. I was behind (Richard) Westbrook for a while and finally got by him. He got caught up in traffic and got by him, so as far as the Corvettes concerned we were thinking we were looking pretty good. A little farther into the stint (AJ) Allmendinger I think went off in front of me, I think that was him; it was one of the (Michael) Shank cars, in the kink all the way through the grass. When I was coming around the second horseshoe I thought he was maybe come into me, but that worked out okay. After the first pit stop I got caught for speeding. I just went a little early; I know they extended the pit lane speed limit area. That was a shame because I didn’t get to try it in practice, just went too early. That didn’t help our cause fell back to tenth. It looks like the guys did a really good pit stop. After the pit stop we got up to sixth.”
AFTER 23 LAPS THE BMW’S WERE 23 SECONDS AHEAD. IF THEY DON’T BREAK DOES ANYBODY HAVE ANY SPEED FOR THEM?
“Well, it’s hard to say. That is a pretty good stat there. We saw from qualifying there is an awfully big gap. We are at minimum wing angle so we can’t do much as far as going down the straight any quicker than we are. We would like to think that we can get the car working well enough to challenge them at the end, but we will after to wait another 22 hours or so.”
HURLEY (HAYWOOD) WAS IN HERE EARLIER AND WAS TALKING ABOUT THE BUTTERFLIES YOU GET BEFORE THIS RACE AND HOW HE WAS MISSING NOT HAVING THEM. COULD YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE BUTTERFLIES STARTING THIS RACE AND MAYBE ABOUT HURLEY (HAYWOOD) MISSING THIS EVENT?
“I understand the sentiment there. I think every driver gets it. I certainly get it especially at a race so important and with so many fans all around. I don’t know. So many great drivers on the grid there I got (AJ) Allmendinger in front of me and (Ryan) Dieziel next to me and I think (Max) Angelelli behind me and (Stephane) Sarrazin I guess so a lot of big dogs. You want to be nice and clean, don’t make mistakes and try and hang in there. As far as Hurley (Haywood) missing it, I mean I definitely understand that. I have been on the sidelines. If you feel like you can do it you want to be out there racing.”
IT WAS MENTIONED EARLIER DID THEY ADD SOME RESTRICTION TO YOU SINCE QUALIFYING TO THE CHEVYS AND WHAT WAS THAT AND HOW MUCH DID IT COST YOU?
“Well actually added it before the start of the weekend. It costs us dramatically. I don’t understand why they did it. I think they felt that a lot of guys were sandbagging and it turned out they weren’t. In my view they put a penalty on the slowest car on the straight. I don’t get that. They halved that difference after qualifying. So, we are a little closer.”
MEMO GIDLEY, NO. 99 GAINSCO/BOB STALLINGS RACING CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE (DP), met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway following his first driving stint in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
TELL US ABOUT THIS EARLY STINT FOR YOU? WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THE REST OF THE RUN?
“Well I think the car felt pretty good. Honestly, the first half of the first stint I probably did more laps than I have done in all the preseason testing. For me it was just getting back used to the car again and then also with all the cars out there it’s a lot of traffic. It’s great to have the field that we have this year. It makes it super challenging. You come up on two or three or four GT cars battling, going three and four wide. You just have to be really patient. I think my whole mindset going in is just to keep doing laps. If I have to lose a position I will lose a position and keep it safe so we have a fast car at the end.”
I’M SURE YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT WOULD MEAN TO THE TEAM STARTING WITH ALEX (GURNEY) TO WIN THIS EVENT. HIS FATHER WON THE VERY FIRST INCARNATION OF THIS RACE BACK IN 1962:
“That was a pretty special victory for Dan (Gurney) for sure. Then just Bob Stallings has put a lot into the series and a lot into this team. Not to mention it’s truly an all American team. He doesn’t hold it against us if we’ve got an American accent which is totally cool. He has just invested a lot in this series. He is also as far as a team owner and I’ve been with a lot of teams Champ Car, Atlantics, all the way up through the ranks. He is probably one of the best, most supportive and fun to be around and gives you the tools to win races. I think his team shows why they have won so many times except for this race.”
IS THERE A NOTICEABLE DROP IN THE TEMPERATURE OUT THERE ON THE STINT YOU JUST DID?
“Inside the car you don’t feel a whole lot different when the temperature drops because the DP’s are pretty warm inside. It makes a big difference in the amount of grip and I noticed in the first stint the car was sliding around a fair amount, wasn’t too hooked up. I had to work a little bit harder. As the sun went down the track cooled off and it’s almost like the rubber that is on the surface gets a little bit more stable and the car hooks up, rolls around the corner better, puts the power down. Other than the visibility being a little tougher, I really enjoy driving in the night when it’s cool just because the car seems to just hook up a little bit more.”
HOW IS THE TRAFFIC NOW WITH THE SMALLER SERIES IN THE TRACK? ARE THEY CREATING PROBLEMS FOR THE TOP DRIVERS?
“It’s very challenging. It’s part of what makes this race so interesting. Actually the slowest cars, the GX cars they are actually a lot easier to get around because down the straightaway we are considerably faster. But, when you look at the GT’s and how fast they are going looking at the times they are doing 47 (second laps) or something in qualifying. That is not a whole lot slower than what we are doing. This is really a horsepower track, so I can see one coming out of the bus stop that is 100 yards ahead of me and I’m lucky to get around him by start/finish. That makes it really challenging to get around these guys. Just makes it a little bit harder everywhere.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE TOP CARS HOW THEY ARE DEVELOPING THE RACE? ARE THEY ON A VERY FAST PACE?
“I thought the pace was pretty fast. It really comes down to II think there are some cars that are a little bit faster than us ultimately, at least right now. We will tweak on it a little as the night goes on. I think that it’s a pretty fast pace for sure. I think there are a lot of cars that are really close within a second. As the night goes on and as the cars change a little bit, some hook up, some start loosening up, changing handling wise. You never know who is going to be in contention, but there are just a lot of good teams out there.”
MAX ANGELELLI, NO. 10 VELOCITY WORLDWIDE CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE (DP), met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway following his first three driving stints in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
TELL US ABOUT THE FIRST STINT AND OBVIOUSLY YOU GUYS WANT TO GET OFF TO A GOOD START THIS YEAR AFTER LAST YEARS EARLY DISAPPOINTMENTS IN THIS RACE:
“As everybody could see I did three s
tints. At the beginning of my first stint I really took my time, very patient, just stayed behind to look around at what happened. I felt the car was pretty balanced, good fast and it was too risky to take those people and they were already racing like the final hour. When I got the opportunity I went by. Our guys, the Velocity Worldwide team had an excellent, exceptional pit stop both times. That really helped because we overtook so many cars in the pit. The final stint, my third stint, I could stay with the No. 01 for half of a stint, but it was too quick in the straight. As soon as I loose contact there was no chance. Our car Corvette is really good, very well balanced and we’ll see.”
THEY MADE A CHANGE TO THE RESTRICTOR THAT YOU ARE USING COULD YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE AT ALL?
“No, I didn’t know. Did they change? No feeling at all. I mean if change is 0.000001 millimeter is not a change. They need to be released, just look at the top speed it is very simple.”
THIS IS REALLY SOME TEAM. YOU ARE HERE WITH JORDAN TAYLOR WHO IS ONE OF OUR VERY BEST GRAND-AM DRIVERS FOR A FEW SEASONS IN GT AND NOW IN DP AS WELL AS THE INDYCAR CHAMPION RYAN HUNTER-REAY. WHAT KIND OF TEAM IS THIS AND WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL?
“I’m very proud to share the car with Jordan (Taylor) and Ryan Hunter-Reay the champion in IndyCar. We have two great drivers it’s just fantastic. In talking to Jordan he says if he cannot make it in racing he is going to Hollywood (laughs). He has an option open.”
WE HEARD THIS IS ACTUALLY THE FIRST TIME THAT YOUR FAMILY HAS BEEN ABLE TO SEE YOU RACE OVER HERE IN THE 24 HOUR. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE EMOTIONS THAT YOU HAVE KNOWING THAT THEY ARE HERE WATCHING YOU TONIGHT?
“It was strange for me it was the first time ever. My kids, who are 9 and 5 they only, discover I was a race car driver last year. So, 8 years, 4 years for the other one, they didn’t know. They thought I was a mechanic and I was working on Wayne Taylor car. My wife it’s her first time here ever all three of them. I’m looking forward to seeing them and asking them how they are feeling.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 10 VELOCITY WORLDWIDE CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE (DP), met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway following his first driving stint in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
TELL US ABOUT THE EARLY STINT AND THE OUTLOOK FOR THE REST OF THE 24 HOURS:
“Well I think I got caught for speeding on pit lane. They extended the line and I think I just got caught out, which I was surprised about. But, the car is good I think it is pretty quick. I don’t know if we have enough for Ganassi if we really wanted to push hard. We are definitely in cruise mode right now saving fuel. I got stuck behind the No. 99 for a while. I think if we were able to get around them we would have been quite a bit quicker. But, I don’t see a point in really racing anybody at this point in the race. We saved enough fuel to go a lap longer than them and were able to pass them in the pits and then pull away on the next stint. I think the car is quick enough if we really want to start going, but at this point in the race I don’t see any reason to start pushing it so far.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR YOU TUBE VIDEO AND HOW IT CAME ABOUT?
“Well I was just informed that it might be taken off You Tube so I’m a little upset right now. My friend Mark Jensen we were at dinner one night at a little Mexican place and a Mariachi band came around and serenaded us. I think they thought we were together. From that point we kind of thought of a funny idea of maybe doing a Mariachi dance for a video and then it kind of escalated from there. I said on TV just now that everyone at the track sees all of us as very serious people and I don’t really think they see our personalities away from the track. We all thought it would be fun to kind of just do a weird, goofy video like that. If you have a sense of humor you will enjoy it. Some people took it a little too seriously I think and were making some weird remarks. I think if you are just open to laugh at people we were just laughing at ourselves the whole time. It was just a fun video.”
YOUR BROTHER SPENT A NUMBER OF YEARS IN THE SAME ROLE LEARNING IN THE PROTOTYPE WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE FOR YOU THE FIRST WEEKEND WITH MAX (ANGELELLI) AND RYAN HUNTER-REAY? HAS IT BEEN A BIG EDUCATIONAL ASPECT FOR YOU YET? ARE YOU STILL SOAKING IT ALL IN?
“We had the November test just Max (Angelelli) and myself and then January it was all three of us. I’ve been able to get used to everything, get used to the car and the team. It’s definitely been a learning experience as you saw in that first stint that was basically my first time in race conditions when GT cars are actually trying to hold you off. It took a little time to get used to it and following guys like (Allan) McNish and (Scott) Pruett and them. You pick it up pretty quickly just learning from the best guys. I think when you are thrown in at the deep end with these guys that is the best way to learn.”
AFTER YEARS OF BEING THAT GUY IN THE GT CAR WHAT IS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE NOW?
“I realize why so many DP guys dislike GT cars. You are in your own race in GT and you try your best to not lose any time. You do block a lot of DP cars. I didn’t really realize how irritating that is until tonight. You are always on the radio asking who is in this car, who is in that car, because you want to understand which drivers are like what. When you get back in the car later on the team is kind of aware of what drivers drive in what style and you know what to expect so you don’t get caught out.”
THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK HERE OF THE CHEVROLET’S MAYBE BEING DOWN ON POWER A LITTLE BIT, BUT AT ONE POINT MAX (ANGELELLI) WAS ALMOST MATCHING SCOTT PRUETT’S LAP TIMES, BUT HIS QUOTES SAY THAT HE JUST COULDN’T KEEP UP WITH THEM ON THE STRAIGHTS. WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU GUYS ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE TO THE BMW’S?
“I would definitely put it to straight line speed. We were around the cars in practice and it was difficult to even stay close to them out of the bus stop even if you got a run on them. Even if it there was not a great driver in the car, but our car in years past the No. 10 car has traditionally been very strong here at Daytona under braking and on the infield. It is not surprising that Max was able to match lap times I would say if you look at sector times we are gaining in the infield maybe two or three tenths on them and then they are gaining it back on the oval section. I think if we get to the end of the race. It will be definitely a very tough battle for us because the best place to pass is obviously on the straight.”
DARREN LAW, NO. 99 GAINSCO/BOB STALLINGS RACING CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE (DP), met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway following his first driving stint in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR STINT OUT THERE IN THE RED DRAGON:
“The car is good. It is running well. We are doing like we should just basically protecting the car, staying out of trouble. I have got to say, I have been running this race for over a decade and it is pretty crazy out there right now. I mean stupid stuff where I literally have to stop and go to first gear in the chicane sometimes. It’s nuts.”
OBVIOUSLY RUNNING IN THE TOP-FIVE RIGHT NOW IN FOURTH-PLACE CAN YOU TALK ABOUT MAYBE HOW YOU FEEL YOUR PROSPECTS ARE AT THIS POINT?
“I would say as far as the Chevy powered cars, I feel confident we are among the best there. I feel fairly confident with
the Fords. I still think the BMW’s really have the legs on us on the straight. If you don’t you have to really run through the corners hard and get a heck of a run out to be able to even try and run with them. It’s going to be tough, but we have seen a ton of cars go out already. You never know we have a long way to go. Not even half way.”
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT IT HAS BEEN LIKE TO DRIVE WITH A NEW TEAM HERE THIS YEAR:
“Well I drove for Brumos for a long time and Action Express for the last couple of years. The GAINSCO car has always been fast. It has always a desirable car to be in and the guys have been very welcoming. A great group of guys, I’ve known them all for several years now and raced against them. I was happy to be asked to come to it. For me power wise the Chevy, aero wise the Corvette body I was used to that from last year. The thing that is different is I’m back in a Riley which is what I ran for many years prior to the Coyote last year. It’s very nice to be in a Riley, great handling car. I actually feel that it is easier to drive at a competitive pace for a long period. I think it is better for the long races for sure.”