The Roar Before the 24 To Daytona 200! By: John Henry Capestro-Dubets A.K.A JCD 1/29/2011
2/3/11

Coming into this I would like to say that I am new to Grand-Am and BimmerWorld. What a great team and awesome series to be in. The BimmerWorld Crew is one of the hardest working groups of guys I've ever met. I come from a small racing background and was lucky to be found by Exclusive Management Inc's Michael Duncalfe, who teamed me up with Gregory Liefooghe and the one and only BimmerWorld!


 Coming into the Roar before the 24 I had only driven the BimmerWorld #81 ST car one time at a VIR test/tryout. The test went very well and I was invited to do the season with the team in 2011. Next thing I know I was landing in Orlando and driving to Daytona International Speedway. I had never been to Daytona before. When I first went through the tunnel under turn two and emerged in the infield I looked up at the banking with my jaw dropped… All I can say is it’s very humbling. I was very lucky because I was one of the first to drive the new surface that was very smooth and fast. We started the test with me learning the new dash that looked like a fighter jet cockpit! I quickly learned what buttons to push and which buttons not to push.


Once on the track it was straight to business, figuring out the car and how it responds to different circumstances such as braking, handling and how it would takes curbs. Next it came down to fine tuning the setup. I was very fortunate to be teamed up with Gregory Liefooghe, since I was the rookie all the setups felt great to me. I was
accustomed to a one set up car and just deal with it attitude. Greg quickly helped me to understand what we needed to work on and what we were ultimately looking for.

After a few sessions with Greg and David Wagner (our
ST engineer) to fine tune our setup we had a car that was ready to lay down some laps. Once feeling the car with a proper setup I was able to become very comfortable with the car and start to work on my driving! Once again Exclusive Managements Michael Duncalfe and Greg were able to get me up to speed to be competitive in our upcoming race in a few weeks.


After a couple long weeks of waiting I found myself back in action, but this time it was the real deal. The race week was now upon us. Greg and I headed to the track for our first drivers meeting and practice session. After spending the last week with the EM Inc. team preparing I can honestly say I have never felt so relaxed coming into a race weekend. The guys worked with me on every angle of what we needed to get done. After the meeting we headed out to find we still had some setup work to do. After a few turns of the wrenches led by Ryan Kuhn and his group of hard working mechanics we had a good race setup.


My first qualifying session began and we hit the track running. I found a few good drafts but found myself stuck in slower traffic. Another pack of cars was running together and we couldn’t seem to catch them. At the end of the session we found ourselves 7th out of 45. Not too bad for my first professional qualifying session, but could have been better.



It was finally here my first pro race! I was ready and could not wait for the green to drop. As soon as they cleared the fans walking I belted up and got a few last words of encouragement. I then dropped my visor and got in the zone. The engines started and we lined up, and before I knew it the green was out. Within a few laps I had made my way up to p3 before the first yellow came out. We lined up and did a few laps under caution then it was back underway. After battling with a Boxster for a few laps I earned my way up to p2 and found myself running after the APR car. The goal was to just stay in the top three and hand the car over to Greg in good condition and let him show his closing abilities. Then the APR car pitted, not the way I would have liked to earn p1 but still I was leading the race in my debut. Doesn’t get much better than that. After a few laps I was called into the pits under green, for my first driver change ever.

I came flying into the pits, without speeding and got out of the car like I was late for school. Greg hopped in and James Clay’s BWR crew
did their thing. Next thing I know Greg was back out there. He came out around p8 and made his way through the pack. With 20 minutes to go he was sitting p2 and another caution came out after a
BMW running in the top three hit the wall. Now we had a whole stack of cars behind us eager to sneak by us for a podium finish. The green fell and it was on again Greg was fighting a
transmission issue while trying to hold off the Kia. With a nice pass the Kia slipped by and we were in third with 8-6 minutes to go when out of nowhere another full course yellow! The race ended under caution and we had our first podium of the year at Daytona.

Greg and I met in pit lane and made our way to victory lane after talking to the press. We both stood there proudly as we represent EM Inc and BWR! This was the first time either of us had a podium finish in CTSCC. We held our trophy proudly and popped champagne. We look forward to Homestead and the rest of the 2011year in CTSCC!