in Sunday's KONI Sports Car Challenge Testing at Daytona
Bryan Ortiz posts the fastest time Sunday and second overall as Mustangs remain fastest
Rehagen Racing stayed at the top of the charts for the second straight day of testing Sunday during the "Roar Before the Rolex 24" Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport (GS) practice session at Daytona International Speedway, leading a fleet of Mustangs preparing for the Fresh From Florida 200 later this month at the 3.56-mile track.
Bryan Ortiz led the day in the No. 57 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT with a time of 2:01.051 (105.873 mph), good enough for second quick during the first two days. Saturday, Ken Wilden drove the No. 59 Rehagen Racing RehagenRacingProducts.com Ford Mustang GT to a lap of 2:00.918 (105.989 mph) during the afternoon session, and that continues to lead overall.
Tom Long of Freedom Autosport put the No. 146 Mazda MX-5 atop the Street Tuner (ST) charts with a lap of 2:10.131 (98.485 mph), also during the morning session Sunday, and that time also leads overall during two days. Kristian Skavnes, whose No. 111 Subaru Road Racing Team Subaru Legacy led Saturday's practices, laid down a lap of 2:10.223 (98.315 mph) during Sunday afternoon's session.
Thirty-three cars have tested over the two days. Monday's practice session, which includes the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, is scheduled from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
JBS Motorsports Where Team Wants to Be
Defending KONI Sports Car Challenge GS runner-up Bret Seafuse said he believes his JBS Motorsports team is where it needs to be after two days of testing at Daytona.
Seafuse and co-driver James Gue were 11th at Daytona last year and finished second in the point standings in 2008, driving the No. 37 JBS Motorsports Ford Mustang GT.
"Daytona is going well so far," said Seafuse, whose car was fifth after two days of action. "The cars are running well. We're pretty happy with where we're at. We have a good race car. We're not at the top of the leader board, but we're close."
Also happy was Nick Igdalsky, who is teaming with cousin Chase Mattioli in the team's No. 47 JBS Motorsports Ford Mustang GT. Igdalsky, who has spent most of his career in open-wheel racing, has never competing in a car as heavy as the Mustang. Still, Mattioli has tested at Daytona before in a stock car, and Igdalsky said he believes the two are ahead of where they need to be right now.
"Everything is positive so far," Igdalsky said. "The car really seems to be hooked up. Right now, we're just trying to get acclimated to it. These cars are a lot heavier than what we're used to running. So we're getting used to the braking. We're a lot better off than we thought we'd be. We're only a couple seconds off the lead, which for the first time in the car, is not too bad."
Defending Daytona Winner BGB Motorsports Struggles Early; Finds Speed Late
One of the last teams to switch to the mandatory KONI shocks for 2009, BGB Motorsports struggled during the first day of action Saturday with the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997, but finished in the top 10 in Sunday's affair with drivers Craig Stanton and Josh Hurley.
"We're off to a bumpy start," team manager John Tecce said, but added the team had a strong test session last month.
"I'm confident we'll be able to prepare two good cars for the race," Teece said. "Sometimes too much testing can be a detriment to progressing. But we're going to continue to work on the chassis and other things leading up to the race. I'm not concerned yet."
Stanton won the 2008 Fresh From Florida 200 after moving from fourth to first in the final laps. His co-winner last season was Tim Traver. Nick Longhi and Joe Masessa are expected to drive the team's No. 38 Porsche 997.
Hurley has not yet been signed to drive fulltime for BGB Motorsports, but the 23-year-old has gelled well with the team and is close to going full speed. Hurley is the defending Jetta TDI Cup champion. The team is ninth overall in two days.
Kinetic Motorsports Brings Four Cars to Test
Kinetic Motorsports remained one of the strongest teams not fielding Ford Mustangs. The team's No. 80 BMW M3 is 10th overall with team principals Nic Jönsson and Russell Smith, who is running in GS for his first full season.
The team also brought the No. 78 BMW M3 - with Jönsson, Smith and Lee Davis entered - and No. 32 BMW M3, which will be piloted this season by defending ST race winner Glenn Bocchinio and Todd Lamb.
Lamb ran multiple races for Kinetic in 2008 and looks for a strong season with Kinetic in 2009.
"The car is running very well," Lamb said. "It's pretty much the same setup as we had last season. It feels really good. We're doing little things here and there to make the car better. We'll change some things up for tomorrow, and see if we can put together a good time."
The Buford, Ga.-based team also brought its No. 79 BMW M3, which is the newest version of the car. It did not contest the first two days of testing and is not expected to run Monday, but Lamb said may contest the Fresh From Florida 200, which is scheduled for Jan. 23.
Cardiosport Happy So Far with Porsche 997
Terry Heath said his No. 07 Cardiosport Racing Euromotorworks Porsche 997 felt "the best it's ever been, right out of the box," when the team took the car out one on the track for practice Saturday.
Heath and co-driver Dr. Gary Grigsby, who met while competing against each other in club racing, are preparing for their fourth season on the KONI Sports Car Challenge circuit together in 2009. The team's crew consists of family members and friends.
"We've been here a few times, so we knew where we needed to be," Heath said. "It feels awesome. There are other teams out there going faster than us, but things are okay. The Mustangs are fast and have great brakes; we have the handling."
Heath's Euromotorworks business specializes in fixing Porsches and other German cars. Grigsby is a cardiologist in Lexington, Ky.
Long Puts Freedom Autosport Up Front
After setting the second and third fastest times of Saturday's testing, Tom Long took Freedom Autosport to the top of the charts Sunday. Long earned a time of 2:10.131 during the morning session.
Despite the fast times, Long contests the track isn't the best platform for the Mazda MX-5. He said the team would be happy with a top-10 performance, but also doesn't want to mistake that for a podium finish.
"This, so far, really compliments the team and all of its hard work this winter," Long said. "We're working on developing the car and making sure the package is as good as possible. When we come back at the end of the month, we can pat ourselves on the back hopefully and say we did the best we could. It's an odd-ball track for us and not our strong suit, but we'll take what we learn and apply it where we can."
Freedom Autosport calls Daytona International Speedway its home track, as the team is based out of Tallahassee, Fla., about a six-hour drive away. The team recorded a pair of second-place finishes in 2008, with Long a runner-up at Lime Rock Park. The team ran three cars in 2008 and plans to again in 2009. Drivers listed so far include Long and team owners Derek Whitis and Rhett O'Doski.
Meyer Motorsports Finding Speed Near End of Second Day
Meyer Motorsports team owner Eric Meyer was hoping his hard work would pay off after the team made a number of changes following Saturday's first day of testing. It did, with the No. 30 Mazda RX-8 taking the third fastest ST time in the afternoon session.
Payton Wilson was behind the wheel when the car turned its fastest lap of the weekend, which came in at 2:11.939.
"We're doing things out there just to pick up some speed," Wilson said. "We're not quite where we want to be, but the car is doing well this weekend. I think we're heading into the right direction, but we still have a ways to go."