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  1. First off, thank you, thank you, thank you to every single person who had a yellow shirt on or those who were at a corner worker station to make this event one of the best ones that we have been a part of! Mike, Andrea, Phil and Dan have their positions so well figured out that everything flows so smoothly and efficiently. Having raced with other series for work (after making a name for ourselves with Chumpcar), I can honestly say that the events are ran on a professional and fair level that rivals (and often betters) many well known "professional" racing series. The next round of thanks goes out to the people that come to the track with us to help support us. Thomas Jaeger (my main guy at my shop and fill in crew chief when I am driving or away at a different race), Eric Conkling (one of the best drift drivers in Florida ), the Tenney Family, the Saunders Family and especially my wife for letting me continue to do these events out of town while she watches our three kids (4, 2 and 5 weeks) and keeps the house in order. We all work really well together as a team and had a couple pit stops where we fueled the cars, changed a hurt wheel/tire, rolled a fender, added oil, swapped cool shirt boxes, cameras and drivers and still made the 5 minute cut off at the end of pit road. For the first race ever, our Z was driven by only renters and they did an awesome job! David Spitzer, Mark Zaremskas, Sean Norman and Metod Topolnik all took great care of the car and turned consistent laps to keep the car up near the front. As a car owner, there is always a bit of nervousness that goes with these races, but having this crew pilot the car helps to ease that! Now all I have to worry about is something silly breaking on the car, them getting caught up in a racing incident or having to deal with rain all day (and that combination is why I was up walking around the infield at 4:30 am on raceday, lol). I love racing in the rain as a driver, but hate it as a car owner. For those that did not know, the Z took major damage at Sebring when the RF brake caliper bracket failed late in the race. Took out the caliper, wheel, tire, radiator, oil cooler, core support, brake line, tension strut mounts, bent the frame rail, damaged the rack, bent the fender and brackets up. Luckily, Ethan Lowe was in the car and did a great job keeping it out of the wall in Turn 1 when the failure happened. This was the first race back for the car with only a shakedown test at The FIRM and it looks like she is just as good as she has always been. Our Lexus SC300 finally got the Daytona win that has eluded our team since the first event (that we led most of with our Z). The drivers this time were the car owner David Tenney, Lee Saunders (2015 Trans Am TA3 Champion) and myself. David started the race and did awesome in the rain keeping us in P1 before he pitted. The car has a welded rear diff (yes we claim the material for the welding on our AIV/TCV er whatever it is called these days) so it is a bit drift happy in the wet, which actually makes it a blast to drive. Lee was in the car next and started putting in some faster laps as the rain died off. As things dried out, the faster big power cars started making up ground and we had alot tighter racing all around. I got into the car for the third stint, having never drove the car in a race and not having been in a road race car since Daytona last year. I managed to just squeak the FTD time for the car over David and Lee. My best was the 2:17.7, and Lee and David both ran 2:18s. I will still argue up and down that consistent clean driving is what wins races and I think these results again speak for themselves. We all manage traffic very well and other than David getting hit on the RF by a car that came from near the marbles outside of T1 to try and clip the tires by the apex, we ran the entire race without contact. If David had not been paying attention and way over-slowed to try and avoid contact, the damage likely would have been race ending for us. After the contact, the steering would bind up whenever the front end was loaded and it made the car pretty tough to drive fast. Basically you had to get the initial set of the steering just right because that is where it was stuck until you had to unwind from the corner with a ton of extra effort. I know I missed it a few times and had a couple of big moments in close proximity to other cars and I am very thankful that we were able to avoid each other!! We hustled the car for the rest of the day trying to keep up a fast pace and not take ourselves or anybody else out in the process. The 2JZ engine was smooth as a sewing machine all day and for those who are interested, we were dynoed on Friday and the car made 197 rwhp. Congrats to all of the other teams who finished on the podium!! It took everything we had to pull it off so we know how hard the rest of you worked to get there. Since both cars are in good shape and the Daytona event being moved to earlier in the year, we are going to add at least one more event to the schedule for the middle of the year. NCM and Charlotte are on the radar right now. Any other Florida teams have an interest in those and will pay some of the fuel bill for us to deliver their car to the track for them in the semi?
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