David Salters, President of Honda Performance Development, says that it feels unbelievable that the organization finished the 61st edition of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday with a 1-2 finish as Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing who came crossed the line ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Cadillac drivers.
Speaking during a post-race press conference, David Salters said:
Oh, yeah. There’s a reason why. This just involves the hard work of a lot of people. I get to ponce around here and look not good in a hat, so that’s okay, but there is just an army of people who work really, really, really hard to do this, so the real privilege is to work with those people and to achieve days like today.
We all know it doesn’t happen all the time, so it’s just — was it worth it? It’s been two years. I think it’s the best thing I’ve been involved with, in terms of the pure effort. We’re not a lot of people, but I think well done Acura Motorsport. If that isn’t a definition of precision crafted performance, I don’t know what is.
Well done, everybody. Well done, Oreca; well done, our teams; well done, our drivers. It’s just people. This game is not rocket science, by the way, it’s getting the right people in the right places and letting them job their jobs and helping them.
Is it worth it? Oh, hell yeah, and it’s because of the people that you get to share it with. It’s like anything in life that’s worthwhile; if you can share it, it’s worth it.
Well done, everyone here that contributes, and all the fans and IMSA have done a great job just to make it a great show. It was okay, wasn’t it? Scared me to death.
Honda has a big presence in the NTT IndyCar Series and Formula One, and Salters was asked about what the victory means for Acura Motorsports in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, to which he responded by saying:
Well, you all need to tell me. I think it is a landmark moment, isn’t it? It’s the pinnacle of sports car racing to show your performance. Acura is all about performance, so I think we just — can’t drop the mic. But there you go. We came out of the blocks. It showed Acura’s performance.
Also, it’s a new age. It’s electrified, all that sort of stuff.
Walk the walk. I think it’s pretty good. Very pleased for Acura Motorsport. Again, all part of the same group. I think Acura Motorsport shows where it is in sports car racing.
Speaking about the relationship with team owner and winner of the Rolex 24 Hours Mike Shank, who Salters works with both in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and the NTT IndyCar Series commented saying:
Mike is wonderful. The results, racing results, speak for themselves. That’s all you need to know. Two Daytona wins, championship, Indy 500, you cannot do much better in North America, can you.
With the greatest of respect, some of the things you’ve said are not true.
It’s people doing work. What Graham did — today is great. Tomorrow, right, what are we going to do for Sebring. So that’s the standard we set for ourselves, but we just appreciate the people. Mike is really smart, got the right people in the right places, team is tremendous. He has really knuckled down, and he has taken his team to the next level.
Just go in his pit box and look what’s happened. That’s just the mentality of how can I be the best.
All the teams here are world class, so…
Meyer Shank Racing team co-owner Mike Shank commented on the win saying:
I sat here, was it yesterday? I don’t even remember now. I did that thing. The amount of — David Salters I just saw was in here and his crew and the group of people that put this together, the odds of this happening I gave probably 5 or 10 percent.
It was just — this thing, this has been such a huge job, and there’s 200 people from every department that made this happen, and to have it come together, then have it come together, win the race and finish one-two with Wayne Taylor and Andretti and us, no, it’s just amazing. I just don’t really know what’s going on.
I’m dead tired. I was so stressed. Our car had a gearbox problem all night. I mean, all night, and we could not fix it. We decided just to run it until it blew up. It didn’t blow up.
We got super lucky.
We’re grateful, especially for Acura. Jon Ikeda is here from Acura, and he’s the one that really had a vision for performance at Acura really five or six years ago when I met him. These people believe in this program, and I needed to deliver.
So does Wayne. Wayne and I worked well together. We texted each other on that last restart, because God knows what was going to happen, but it was very respectful restart.
We’ll reciprocate how we raced each other later with them for sure.