Daytona 24 Hour Notes: AIM
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Woodbridge, Ontario (January 27, 2009) The AIM Autosport crew arrived in Florida with lots of enthusiasm and anticipation for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The AIM Autosport/Tower Events/Mike Direct Connect No. 61 Ford Riley was all ready to go and sporting new livery. The regular drivers of the No. 61, Mark Wilkins and Burt Frisselle, would team with John Farano and Alex Figge who will race AIM's No. 51 Ford Riley later this season and there was a good chemistry. Rolex class winner David Empringham would also be there as a reserve. From the minute the car rolled off the trailer on Wednesday morning, everything seemed to be going according to plan until it came to a rather frenetic halt early Sunday morning.

AIM Autosport had a specific strategy for this years Rolex 24 that had been worked out between team principal Ian Willis and engineers Jim Malicki and Jeff Braun. This was Jeff's twentieth Rolex 24 and his input was integral to advance preparations as well as the advances made during the early hours of the race.

The AIM Autosport/Tower Events/Mike Direct Connect No. 61 Ford Riley qualified fourteenth. Under any other circumstances this might be seen as a setback, but the Rolex 24 is no sprint race and the mantra repeated around the AIM paddock area reflected the fact that anything can happen in a twenty-four hour race. Being prepared for any eventuality and using a "slow is fast" approach to getting the job done right was foremost in everyone's mind.

"Over twenty-four hours, taking your time to ensure that everything is done properly is paramount" commented Braun. "A few seconds delay in a pit stop will not hurt you over the long run compared to rushing through something and getting it all wrong. That can come back to bite you and you end up down laps instead of seconds."

By race time, the No. 61 was up to 12th on the starting grid due to some cars being put to the back for technical infractions. Burt was all pumped up for the start and knew what the pace and strategy would be for his initial stint. The race has started under clear skies and finally, some warm temperatures and after moving up two positions quickly, Burt is on pace and settling in. He brought the car in from 7th for the first pit stop that would include a driver change (John Farano) fuel and a new set of Pirelli tires.

John Farano came to pit road two laps off the leaders to hand the car off to Alex Figge for a double stint.. A pretty good run for the Daytona Prototype rookie driver. Three hours in saw the first full course caution and the team elected to stay out when the rest of the Daytona Prototypes came to the pits. This allowed the No. 61 to regain a lap. This would be the plan through ensuing yellows and eventually, with Mark behind the wheel, AIM was back on the lead lap. After going down three laps by hour three, the AIM Autosport/Tower Events/Mike Direct Connect No. 61 Ford Riley had come back to the leaders over the next two hours. The strategy and the race, were coming to them. With Burt back behind the wheel and 163 laps completed and teams pitting under caution, the No. 61 was in 6th place, just seven seconds back of the leader. Burt continued to keep pace with the leaders and seven hours in, the No. 61 was in the lead.
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