No. 41 Team Seattle Mazda RX-8 GT Leads Dempsey Racing's Qualifying Effort with Third Place Run at Grand Prix of Miami
HOMESTEAD, Florida (March 4, 2011) – Dane Cameron made his first ever qualifying run with Dempsey Racing count Friday with a third-place effort in the No. 41 Team Seattle/Global Diving & Salvage Mazda RX-8 GT while Patrick Dempsey qualified 11th in the No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA/ModSpace/Construct Corps Mazda RX-8 GT for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Saturday’s 2:45-minute timed race is the second event on 2011’s 12-race schedule and can be seen live on SPEED, Saturday, March 5, at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT.
Cameron, who is making just his second race start in the No. 41, was the top qualifying Mazda and equaled the team’s previous best effort from 2010 when teammate James Gué qualified third at Lime Rock Park. Gué and then teammate Leh Keen also gave Dempsey Racing its first podium finish with a third-place result in the No. 41 in last year’s Grand Prix of Miami.
“It was good to qualify,” Cameron said. “I haven’t qualified in the Rolex Series in at least a year and a half, maybe two years, now since I got to qualify one of these cars. I enjoy qualifying a lot, and I have a lot of fun getting everything out of it. That was as fast as it was going to go, we were happy to be the quickest Mazda, and we are still making some gains. Hopefully we can get a good result and keep building the momentum that we had in the Team Seattle car at Daytona.”
Gué will take over from Cameron and drive the No. 41 to the finish in tomorrow’s race.
“This is really one of the toughest tracks we go to as far as setup,” Gué said. “I think, like everyone, we are scratching our heads a little bit, but Dane did an awesome job in qualifying in P3. That’s the highest Mazda in the field. We are getting there, a good start to the weekend, and hopefully we can turn it into another podium.”
While the third equaled the No. 41 car’s previous best starting position, Cameron has a personal-best qualifying effort of second at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) to his credit in 2009. He hit the front row that weekend in his first ever qualifying run in Rolex Series competition. His equally strong run today should help keep him out of any early trouble in what will be a challenging race.
“We did a few changes right before qualifying, and it seemed to help out a lot, but we are still not quite where we need to be,” Cameron said. “It’s going to be a really, really tough race, especially with conditions in the middle of the day when it is going to be really hot. A little bit of a cautious approach is probably what it is going to take to do well here.”
Dempsey, who is partnering with regular co-driver Joe Foster, qualified for the first time this year.
“That was the first time I had a fresh set of tires and it makes a huge difference,” Dempsey said. “The real problem is that this track has no real grip at all, you have to be incredibly patient, and you end up going faster. It’s when you start to push that you start losing time, and that’s what the practice this morning really helped me concentrate on, then slowly getting up to speed in qualifying.”
Dempsey was pleased with not only his performance but also the strong showing for the No. 41.
“I am happy, really happy with the team and that’s the first time Dane qualified the 41 car, and I would love to see those guys do well here again,” Dempsey said. “It would be good for Dane, James and Team Seattle after some tough luck at Daytona. They were the fastest Mazda today.”
Although the Grand Prix of Miami is just the second race of the year, this weekend is the final appearance of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in the State of Florida this season.
“This is our last race in Florida, and with the ShareaLittleSushine.org colors on our Mazda, and starting at the next race we will have the VISITFLORIDA.com colors,” Dempsey said. “So we are very grateful to VISIT FLORIDA, Mazda and our new sponsors ModSpace and Construct Corps for our bright yellow Mazda for the last two races.”
Learn more about Dempsey Racing at www.DempseyRacing.net.