2011 started as the year for racing rookies for Rick Ware Racing. RWR is running for “Rookie of the Year” with Jeffrey Earnhardt in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Timmy Hill for the same title in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. RWR’s first ever Grand-Am event, the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, would also consists of all five drivers as rookies, a big task for any organization.
After 24 hours of the most grueling endurance event in all of American motor sports, Rick Ware Racing and the #47 Fuel Doctor team took the checkered flag in their Porsche GT, 11th in class and 25th overall.
“When we started this entire project six months ago, our goal was to finish the race. We knew if we could keep the car in one piece and the drivers focused, it would be a great run for us,” owner Rick Ware said.
The team consisted of five drivers: Jeffrey Earnhardt, Maurice Hull, Scott Monroe, Doug Harrington, and Brett Sandberg. They all pulled multiple two-hour shifts, keeping the car at a steady pace.
“This race wasn’t a sprint; it was more of a jog. Kevin Roush (the crew chief) and our spotters kept us focused on the goal. Of course, we’re all racers, so I’m not going to lie. It was easy to forget that having the fastest lap wasn’t the goal. The goal was to keep the car in one piece for 24 hours,” driver Bret Sandberg said.
RWR did not sail smoothly through the entire 24 Hours without trouble. With approximately one hour to go, the Porsche GT broke an alternator, which took the team 15 minutes to repair. They did not lose a single position in the process.
“When we broke the alternator with one hour to go, we didn’t initially know what the issue was. We just saw smoke and fire pouring out of the engine compartment. I was pretty devastated, but the guys didn’t miss a beat, diagnosed the problem, and had us back on the track in no time. That was a defining moment for our run. Kevin Roush of GAS Motorsport did a fantastic job for me, calling the shots. Not many crew chiefs can hop in and help set up the car like he did! Kevin O’Connell and the entire O’Connell Racing team helped tremendously with overseeing our entire operation to help make our debut a success.” stated Ware.
RWR is already setting up for a multi-car effort in 2012 for the 50th running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The RWR team will carry their momentum back to Daytona in two weeks for the series openers in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck series.
Keep up with their progress at www.wareracing.com or you can also follow the team on Twitter at @rickwareracing.