07/07/2009 - Leading the SpeedSource team into the second half of the Rolex Sports Car Series schedule was a return to Daytona International Speedway for the Brumos Porsche 250. This year's event was particularly special as it served as the precursor to the NASCAR Coke-Zero 400 on Independence Day. While enduring blistering heat and managing a weekend schedule which was compacted into just one day, the #70 SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 earned a Second Place finish.
Returning to the track that has always been special to the SpeedSource team, the driving pair of Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay looked to earn another Daytona win. Undoubtedly, there was an extra pep in the step of the crew as the #70 SpeedSource RX-8 rolled off the team transporter prepped and ready for on-track activities. The crew made a few setup changes in the early practice session in preparation for qualifying. Ham set fast lap during the morning's 15-minute qualifying session to take the pole position for the 5th consecutive time at Daytona.
"This was our 3rd straight pole for this event and 5th consecutive pole at Daytona," Ham recalled. "We weren't very confident after the first practice session; neither Sylvain or I liked the set up on the car, so we made a spring change for qualifying and that made the car perfect and 'Bob's your uncle' we were on pole."
Leading the GT field to start the race, Ham and the #70 SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 held off any challenges for the top position. Great driving early on created a large differential to the next GT car. The gap would have created a comfortable cushion for the driver change pit stop; however a full course caution midway through the race re-stacked the field. With Sylvain Tremblay taking over halfway through the race, the car was in position to challenge for the GT class win. Tremblay drove an excellent closing stint to bring the car across the finish line to secure second place.
"It was very hot in the car today. I tried to challenge for the win late in the race but was having difficulty drafting up to the #87 car," Tremblay stated. "It was a great effort by the crew to have two strong cars ready to race. This finish helps us in the points and we look forward to Barber."
Running in a competitive race of their own was the #69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8 of Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal. Assentato started the race 5th in GT and did an excellent job moving the car up to 4th before handing over driving duties to Segal. The car had the pace to challenge for the last podium spot all the way until race end, finally securing a 4th place finish for the #69 FXDD car. The effort moves the #69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8 into 8th in GT standings.
With both team cars finishing in the Top Five, SpeedSource team owner Sylvain Tremblay could not be happier: "This is a great outcome for us. To have just one fast car here is a challenge for any team, but arriving with two equally powerful cars that could compete for the top spot in GT is a testament to the work of our crew and engineering staff."
The #70 SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 now moves to 5th in GT Class points with just five races remaining on the Rolex Sports Car Series schedule. The team heads to Barber Motorsports Park next. Follow the action live on SPEED, July 19 at 3 PM ET.