Daytona 24 Hours Review: Spirit of Daytona
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Daytona Beach, FL 25 January 09 ­- The Spirit of Daytona Racing No. 09 Porsche V8-powered Coyote overcame several setbacks over the course of 24 hours of hard racing in the 47th Rolex 24 At Daytona before racing to the finish with the Boy Scouts of America-livered machine. The team completed 649 laps to finish 11th in the Daytona Prototype class with motorcycle champions Jeff Ward, Scott Russell, and Jason Pridmore sharing the driving duties with Spirit of Daytona Racing pilot Guy Cosmo.

The race marked the first round of the 2009 Rolex Sports Car Series as the team continued to move the development curve forward for the Coyote chassis teamed with Porsche V8 power.

Starting the race from the seventh row, the team was dealt its first bad hand in the early laps, as the electrical charge dropped, forcing the drivers to race in the high cockpit temperatures without the benefit of helmet blowers or coolers as all non-essential electrical systems were switched off to conserve power over the long run.

Before the race passed the first hour mark, the challenge got even bigger after the clutch went, only to then be followed up by a throttle cable issue that also slowed the team's progress. But the team continued on undeterred, focused on bringing team partner Boy Scouts of America a finish in their first Rolex 24 together.

Despite the race being the first Rolex 24 appearance for Pridmore and RussellWard made a start in the 1997 Rolex eventthe motorcycle champions continued to show a quick adaptation to running on the high banks on four wheels rather than two, keeping the car moving at a quick clip over and over on the 3.56-mile infield road course.

The team continued to press on through the night and into the long Sunday race day. As the field thinned from attrition while the team established a strong rhythm and moved up the charts, there was one final set back as a fuel line broke and caused a small fire in the pits as Cosmo came in to turn the car over to Russell. Quick work in the pits by the team and fire marshals saw both Cosmo and Russell out of the car unscathed. After taking the No. 09 behind the wall for the first time after over 22 hours of racing, the team found the problem, fixed it, and sent the machine back out to race to the finish.

Appropriately enough, Mr. Daytona Scott Russell took the machine across the finish line for the 649th time to accept the checkered flag just after 3:30 PM ET local time.
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