BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After more than seven years of trying, everything came together for Spirit of Daytona in a near-perfect day at Barber Motorsports Park. Richard Westbrook and Antonio Garcia combined to lead all but 19 of the 103 laps to win the Porsche 250 in the Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP – the first victory for the new car, team and Coyote chassis in Grand-Am Rolex Series competition.
Garcia was leading by 32 seconds when a late-race caution period set up a three-lap sprint to the finish. It was no problem for the Spanish driver, who beat Alex Gurney to the checkered flag by 2.326 seconds.
“The car felt great all weekend, particularly in race trim,” said Westbrook, who followed up his first career pole with his first triumph in the series. He paced the opening 33 circuits.
“The most important thing was to bring home the first victory for the Corvette DP,” said Garcia, who led twice for 51 of the 103 circuits. His only prior Rolex Series victory was in the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Gurney, driving the No. 99 Gainsco Auto Insurance Corvette DP, held off Scott Pruett over the closing laps to take second. Pruett and Memo Rojas had a two-year winning streak ended at Barber in the No. 01 Telmex BMW/Riley.
“Spirit of Daytona has a magic sauce here, based off what they’ve done here the last few years,” Gurney said. “We tried real hard to find out their secret, but we’re only about halfway there.”
A year ago, Spirit of Daytona won its first DP pole at Barber and led a race-high 50 laps before being slowed by an electrical problem late in the event.
SpeedSource teammate Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito won in GT by a full lap in the No. 70 Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-8, with Bomarito leading the final 70 circuits. Jeff Segal finished second in the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am started by Emil Assentato, followed by Leh Keen and Andrew Davis in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche GT3.BREAKING NEWS: SPEED SPORT is back in print with a new monthly format! Subscribe for just $24.95. Special offer for former subscribers.