Dempsey Racing Benefits From Reliability to Take First Daytona 24-hour Top 10
Heading into the Grand Prix of Miami, Foster and Dempsey find themselves in sixth place in the GT class of the Rolex Sports Car Series (photo courtesy: Geoff Burke, Getty Images Sport)
Patrick Dempsey returns for his third season in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT class competition in 2010 with teammate and driver coach Joe Foster. They were joined by Charles Espenlaub and Scott Maxwell in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Dempsey started his acting career as a juggler and unicycle rider and now stars in ABC’s hit show “Grey’s Anatomy” as Dr. Derek Shepherd. He also starred in feature films “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Enchanted” and “Made of Honor.”
After a grueling 24 hours of racing at Daytona, co-drivers Foster, Dempsey, Espenlaub and Maxwell came away from the 48th Rolex 24 with a sense of accomplishment following the No. 40 Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 GT team’s Rolex 24-best sixth-place finish in the GT class.
“It’s fantastic,” Dempsey said. “It’s great. I’ve really got to thank the team; they did a great job preparing the cars. It’s our first time out with two cars and both of them finishing is really great. The guys drove superb all night long, and we all just wanted to finish and to finish in sixth place is great. Joe drove fantastic, Scotty, everybody did a phenomenal job. I’m really excited.”
The No. 40 Mazda was a fixture inside the top 10 from the fifth hour of the race onward. Now the team will focus on the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 6.
The car spent roughly 20 minutes in the pits within seven hours of the checkered flag as the team worked to correct a front-end vibration that Dempsey encountered in the second half of his final stint. The team had another shorter stay on pit road with Maxwell at the wheel to work on issues at the rear of the vehicle, but outside of track position, the No. 40 Mazda did not lose much in the race standings.
“We had a few things to fix like everybody does, but the main thing is everybody stayed consistent and we just sort of stayed out there,” Foster explained. “We were never rocket fast, but we definitely caught drafts when we needed them at the right moment and kept going around, which is all you need to do for 24 hours.”
This year’s Daytona result was far and away the best in three Rolex 24 starts for the team. The previous best run was 22nd in the GT class and 35th overall last year.
“It’s a dream come true,” Espenlaub said. “Even in the last couple years when we’ve had problems and stuff, I still – at the heart of it – have a great time. I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid, so it’s a dream now to be able to race here. I just think it’s an honor to be included in the Dempsey Racing crew and to be able to share this with everybody.”
Next up for the Dempsey Racing squad is Round 2 of the 12-race 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, March 6. The race will be televised live on SPEED at 5 p.m. ET.
“I’m thrilled for Mazda, that’s really nice,” Dempsey said. “It’s been a tough year for Mazda and everybody in the car industry. We are the Mazda family and it’s just a great way to start our championship run for Mazda.”
For Grand Prix of Miami ticket information, click here or call toll free (866) 409-RACE. The Grand Prix of Miami will take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway Mar. 6, 2010.