OAK Racing

Sebring 12-hour: Selected quote roundup


Here’s a selection of post-race driver and team quotes from the second round of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring:

  • “It was incredible. We couldn’t believe we were in position to win. It’s certainly the biggest day in my career. We were lucky the way the traffic and the restart went. With about an hour to go I didn’t think it was going to work out. The car was a real handful but we finally found the sweet spot right at the end and the whole team and my team-mates did a great job,” –Marino Franchitti, No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley, overall and P class winners.
  •  “The part of the race that is hard to swallow is the mistaken penalty to Cooper (MacNeil) eight hours into the event. That mistake by the officials cost us any chance at winning the race. It was too bad because the car and the drivers never missed a beat all day. The car didn’t have a scratch on it. We just deserved more. Disappointing,” –Alex Job, team principal, Nos. 22/23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT Americas in GTD.
  • “The No. 2 car had a great day and unfortunately had a little bit of contact and they would have been right there shooting it out for the win. David (Brabham) and Ryan (Dalziel) raced the No. 1 car to the front and did an incredible job.
 We just were very unfortunate with the yellow.  If the Ganassi No. 01 car was two-thirds of a lap down and or the yellow never came, they wouldn’t have been able to gain the ground and catch us, so we would have won,” –Scott Sharp, No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b, finished second in P.
  • “This was the hardest race I have ever done. We had no grip on the track during the day and we suffered a lack of power compared to DPs and HPDs,” –Gustavo Yacaman, No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan, finished fourth in P.
  • “The car felt quite lively and very quick in my first stint. It was nice that when I came out from my pit stop, we were able to run a very similar pace to the other prototypes. We had a bit of a brake issue in the first stint, but once I had the opportunity to cool them down during the long yellow, it was fine. But once again, the DeltaWing proved to be a fantastic car in traffic – it was a good stint and it was good to lead a race again,” –Andy Meyrick, No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13 coupe, first hour race leader.
  •  “I was just telling myself ‘don’t mess it up’ those last laps. Patrick (Long) always says I am good at night and I am just happy that it did work out,” –Jorg Bergmeister, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, won GTLM.
  • “It’s still very surreal to be here. Having so many challenges throughout the race made for a very exciting 12 hours, and I’m still in a bit of shock that we came away with a victory,” –John Potter, No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America, won GTD.
  • “For a program that was pulled together at the last second, to come out of here with a second was more than we could have hoped for, so I’m very pleased. Starting the year with podiums at Daytona and Sebring is not too bad!” –Townsend Bell, No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, finished second in GTD.
  • “We had the drive shaft yoke break at the rear axle. The shaft stayed connected to the transmission and what I felt was it banging around in the driveshaft tunnel, which was all beat up. My power had gone, no drive, and I bet it knocked off a fuel line, I was sitting there trying to start it, feeding, fueling the fire, no pun intended,” –Ben Keating, No. 33 ViperExchange.com SRT Viper GT3-R, GTD, car burned to the ground in the first hour.
  • “The performance of the SRT Motorsports car was flawless, absolutely flawless all day. I just couldn’t believe how close the race was. For almost 12 hours there was less than 20 seconds separating the top-three. It was probably the most exciting race I’ve seen yet,” –Ralph Gilles, SRT President & CEO; Nos. 93 and 91 finished second and seventh in GTLM.
  • “My second stint was really fun. My back-and-forth with the No. 09 got a little bit closer than I wanted it to. I kind of got caught up on the restart there when the whole pack of DP cars came by. But I managed to recover from that and retake the lead,” –James Gue, No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09, won PC, had great lead battle with David Heinemeier Hansson for class lead.
  • “That was probably the most fun I’ve had in a stint in a long time. The car is excellent. I had a phenomenal battle with the CORE car,” –David Heinemeier Hansson, No. 09 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09, finished second in PC.
  • “The team actually did an incredible job when repairing the car because we only lost about 18 laps, which is pretty good considering the damage we sustained. We had setup issues beforehand and found that they had been cured after the crash, so I don’t know whether we had some mechanical problems beforehand or whether the track just came to us,” –Tom Kimber-Smith, No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09, finished fifth in PC.
  • “I got a little wide and then got into the marbles that sent me right in to the wall. I’m OK, the car not so much. I know the guys will get on it, I know they will. It’s just about putting this one behind us and looking ahead to the next one,” –David Ostella, No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09, PC (accident in fourth hour)

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Ryan Hunter-Reay

Ryan Hunter-Reay
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MotorSportsTalk continues its look through the Verizon IndyCar Series field. Finishing sixth in 2015 after a late rally was Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda

  • 2014: 6th Place, 3 Wins, 1 Pole, 6 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 195 Laps Led, 10.2 Avg. Start, 10.9 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 6th Place, 2 Wins, Best Start 3rd, 3 Podiums, 4 Top-5, 7 Top-10, 71 Laps Led, 12.2 Avg. Start, 10.4 Avg. Finish

The old adage “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” would probably be the best way to sum up Ryan Hunter-Reay’s 2015 season, which until the final quarter of season could best be described as a forgettable nightmare.

The first three races seemed somewhat OK, with eighth, seventh and fourth place grid spots. But none of the three produced a result of note; Hunter-Reay was also caught up in the three-car, late race accident at NOLA Motorsports Park and didn’t bank any good finish until a fifth place at Barber the end of April.

A tailspin followed. Hunter-Reay started between 14th and 21st every race between the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Milwaukee – a stretch of eight races – and only had one top-10 finish in that stint, eighth at the rain-affected lottery that was Detroit race two. Some seasons are just ones you want to end and by Milwaukee it was obvious that Hunter-Reay was racing just to get to the end of the year, without things getting any worse.

Things finally came good with a typically good drive at Iowa and arguably one of the drives of his career, two races later at Pocono, to end with two wins and extend his streak of winning a race in each of his six seasons at Andretti Autosport. It was no coincidence, either, that Hunter-Reay’s uptick in form came with the return of the late Justin Wilson’s presence in a fourth car.

After Pocono, Hunter-Reay also drove well to finish second at Sonoma, and by that point he’d completed an incredible late-season turnaround to jump from 14th to sixth in points. But if asked, he’d probably admit this was his toughest season yet at Andretti and arguably his toughest overall since his 2009 season, when he was in-between full-time rides and saw out the year with Vision Racing and A.J. Foyt Enterprises.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Helio Castroneves

Helio Castroneves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its look through the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series field with fifth-placed Helio Castroneves.

Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet

  • 2014: 2nd Place, 1 Win, 3 Poles, 6 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 282 Laps Led, 5.7 Avg. Start, 9.3 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 5th Place, Best Finish 2nd, 4 Poles, 5 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 198 Laps Led, 4.9 Avg. Start, 9.3 Avg. Finish

Much as you’d write about his fellow countryman and longtime friend and rival Tony Kanaan, age hasn’t slowed Helio Castroneves, but it’s instead fueled continued success. And while Castroneves went winless for only the second time (2011) in his illustrious 16-year career with Team Penske, he wasn’t down on performance.

Now 40, Castroneves continued to have several shining moments in 2015, which was particularly important to do to stand out against defending champion Will Power, this year’s primary title contender Juan Pablo Montoya and new driver Simon Pagenaud.

Castroneves scored four pole positions and boasted a 4.9 averaging starting position, second in the field to Power, which was very impressive to note. His run of form from Texas through Milwaukee, capturing three podiums in four races, was his best race stretch this season. Additional highlights included back-to-back runner-up results in the NOLA lottery and then on pure pace at Long Beach.

The month of May must though be viewed as a disappointment. Castroneves played a role in the first corner mess at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and got a points penalty (although the number was dropped) as a result. Then he endured another Indianapolis 500 where he was not the out-and-out fastest car in the Penske brigade. While Montoya and Power were dueling for the win and Pagenaud had speed to burn all month, Castroneves’ lone moment of note came with his accident in practice, which mercifully he emerged unscathed from.

As ever though, fifth in this field owed to his consistency and dogged determination to succeed. Castroneves has ended top-five in seven of the last eight seasons since the IRL/Champ Car merger in 2008 and if it wasn’t for Dixon’s top-three run hogging the headlines, we’d probably appreciate Castroneves even more so. As long as he’s continually competitive, he’s still worthy at Team Penske.