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Jan 29, 2010 / reports

Zach Lutz: Daytona Race Report

Take a read of how the Daytona race unfolded from Zach’s perspective (he co-drives the #75 Civic with Ryan Eversley.

“I have to confess, writing about the Fresh From Florida 200 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race just won’t do it justice! It was what I would consider the highlight of my racing career without a doubt in my mind. Driving in a televised professional race at Daytona International Speedway is something that I never thought I would have the opportunity to do so trying to put into words the way that the weekend went may me a little difficult.

“Driving under the tunnel in to the track and seeing the utter “huge-ness” of the place almost leaves you breathless. Having done the test days earlier in the month I wasn’t too worried about having to get used to the car or learn the track so I could focus on my race-craft and fine tuning the car with Ryan. Two rounds of practice on Thursday before qualifying gave us a good amount of seat time but unfortunately some issues with the brakes in the second round had us a little worried about qualifying. We took the car back to the paddock and after checking the issue out the Compass360 crew fixed everything and gave me a great car to qualify with. Qualifying went well, giving us a P7 starting spot for the race on Friday.

So here comes the big day, my first Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous but it was nothing I couldn’t channel to bring some focus in the car. We had a short little practice session in the morning where Ryan and I both went out for short stints just to bring the car up to speed, shake it out and make sure everything is ready for the big race. Just prior to the race we had a Rolex style fan-walk where all the fans got to walk around the cars in the pit lane and get autographs, meet drivers and otherwise just interact with the competitors. It was a really good time being able to hand out hero cards, give autographs and get our pictures taken… Something I could definitely get used to!

“Alright, here we go… the race! Starting in P7 gave me a good view of the front of the pack going in to turn 1 giving me plenty of time to react if something were to happen in front of me, although our start was fairly clean with no major incidents. We did have a few caution laps right off the bat due to some of the GS cars making contact, going off track and otherwise making the track unsafe for green flag racing. After we make it through the first 15 minutes or so we had some relatively clean laps for a while and I worked my way up from P7 to dice for the lead for a few laps before ultimately settling in P5 to continue the rest of my stint out. After about an hour and fifteen minutes we had another full course caution which seemed like the best time for Compass360 to pit their cars. We did our pitstop and unfortunately due to an early thrown green Ryan ended up on track in P16 or P17 and had to work his way back up to the front. He did a great job working with traffic and using cautions to his advantage to put the car back up into P5 where we ultimately ended up finishing.

“Overall, Compass360 had a great weekend with the #74 finishing in P1, the #77 finishing P4 and our #75 finishing P5! I’d like to say thanks to JC Concrete, the whole Compass360 crew, my Dad, Ryan Eversley, all the Grand-Am fans and everyone who has helped out and supported me!”

See the original here.