The final round of the AMA Pro SunTrust MotoGT championship ends with a formidable 8-hour endurance race at Daytona International Speedway this weekend, and the Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati hopes to be an equally formidable force with three bikes, nine riders and a championship crown within their grasp.
The two-time national champions head to Daytona with a 14-point championship advantage with their #77 Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE and need only finish on the podium to claim their third consecutive crown. They will also run the team’s #38 PS1000LE as well as an 848 in the premier GT1 race.
Pete Friedland, Corey Rech and Brad Phillips will team up for the #77 bike whilst Brian Stokes, Dario Marchetti and Franks Shockley will run the #38 bike. In the premier GT1 class Ryan Elleby, Matt Lynn and Hawk Mazzotta will pilot the Ducati 848.
The team’s last two eight-hour races were drama filled. In 2007 they won the race and championship in the last lap when tuner Mark Sutton successfully changed the clutch on an unscheduled pitstop, earning him the name Hot Fingers. In 2008 the #77 bike crashed twice in the first hour – Friedland first crashed after hitting another rider, Phillips just crashed on his own accord – and the 848 suffered fuel problems.
Team orders and strategy will be key to the team’s success this year. Team owner, Frank Shockley, has a dozen different scenarios to work with. If the #77 takes pole it will earn them an additional point allowing them an extra position in the race. If the #38 wins the race it makes the scenario even better for the championship leader. So despite last year’s crashes, the conservative riders will team up on the #77 bike while the #38 riders will fight for the lead. But the competition will be stiff with new entries from across the nation vying for the sizable purse.
“We just need to stay focused and stay out of trouble and make sure we’re there at the end for that magic lap” says Shockley.
Source: Ducshop Press Release