The 24 Hours of Daytona, "In his own words"

"After four months without racing, I finally got a chance to make up for the lack of driving with double duty during the opening race of the season in Grand-am. I got to drive both a Mazdaspeed3 in the ST class of the Continental Tire Challenge series, as well as a Mazda RX-8 in the GT class of the Rolex Grand-am series. It was a rare treat to be bouncing between series, always busy during every session of the practice and race days. However, the races did not go as planned.

 The MazdaSpeed3

             The Mazdaspeed3 car is new to the Continental Tire Challenge series, and therefore needs some time to develop. However, it was a fast car in a straight line and has potential to be a class- winning car later this season. It was also a new challenge for me and my slightly better-known teammate, Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey. Neither of us have ever driven a front-wheel drive car, so considering the circumstances, we were pleased with a 15th place qualifying effort, looking for a top-10 in the race. We planned for a one-stop strategy, knowing the fuel tank would be right on empty when we pitted. Unfortunately, it hit that point early in the lap shortly before the middle of the race, and eventually died halfway down pit lane. We lost a lap by the time we pushed the car back and got it fueled for my stint. Although we weren’t in contention for any good results, I had the most fun I’ve had all winter while restarting in the back of a 70+ car field. I made passes on the outside of Turn 1 and got forced in the grass in the following kink multiple times, making for an exciting race. We ended up well down in the field, but our teammate car finished 10th in class. Not bad for the car’s debut race.

 24 hour car

             I woke up the following day ready for an entirely new challenge in my first Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Jordan Taylor had qualified our Racer’s Edge RX-8 2nd in class, proving we had the pace.  However, a 24-hour race is about more than pace. Unfortunately, a bolt in the engine housing broke and was not repairable, only a few hours into the race. I never got a chance to get in the car during the race.  It was tough to walk away without ever putting my helmet on, but there was little any of us could do. That’s the way racing goes sometimes.  I look forward to next year’s 24-hours of Daytona."

John is proudly sponsored by Mazda.

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