Through the Esses - David Murry To Run Grand Am & ALMS
© Andrew S. Hartwell
This appeared on TheRaceSite.com on 01/22/04
David Murry is a former Porsche factory driver, and veteran sportscar racer, who lives just a few fast laps from the Road Atlanta facility in Georgia. He has been close to the track - and on it - for several years now, and he plans to visit that circuit, and many more, in the year 2004.
He is a racing instructor at Birmingham for the Porsche Driving Experience and has been successful at several different levels of the sport - in a variety of cars ranging from Formula Fords to NASCAR Stock Cars. When he first started out he was just your average young man who took work where he could find it. He held a job in the computer room of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper and he even spent time frying chickens in a Chick-Fil-A fast food restaurant. But those days of doing what he had to soon gave way to doing what he loved to. And that was to drive racecars - preferably, Porsche racecars.
Murry is signed to run in the Grand-Am SGS class with Dennis Aase's AASCO Motorsports this season. He also is getting closer to a deal with an American Le Mans Series team to run there as well. We caught up with him recently and asked him to tell us about his plans.
"In Grand-Am, I'll be racing with Craig Stanton in the #16 AASCO Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. We will run in the Super Grand Sport (SGS) class and we plan to hit all 12 races. At the Rolex, Craig and I will be in the #16 car with a third driver that is yet to be named. Mark Webber, Gary Becker, Joe Kunz, Derek Clark, and Pat Flanagan will drive the #17 car.
"Dennis contacted me and asked me if I was interested in being on the team. They already had Craig and the other guys on board. In fact, they had all the pieces in place and were just looking for a co-driver for Craig. He and I had raced together before, several years ago, with Reiser-Callas racing in the ALMS. I was delighted to accept Dennis' offer to join AASCO.
"Dennis Aase and AASCO have been around longer than I have. They are a very experienced team and that is why I am so excited about it. They have the experience to get it right and they are all just really nice people! It's like a bunch of friends going out and enjoying themselves. I haven't raced with Dennis before but I am really looking forward to working with him and Craig this season.
"I ran with the team that won the Grand-Am cup last season, Doncaster Racing. I ran for half the season. So I got the skinny on what made the cars fast. The Hoosier tires they ran last year are really the same tires we are running this year but without the tread. A lot of the stuff we learned last year will help us with setup this year."
Murry has driven in traditional prototypes in the past. His resume includes running at Le Mans in a factory Porsche LMP car and driving with Jim Matthews and Hurley Haywood in a Riley & Scott MKIII. He has spent more time in the GT Porsches and his heart is really tied to them and the Porsche marque.
"I really enjoyed the prototypes. But I'm really not desperate to get back into one. They sure are fun and the experience looks great on your resume but at the same time running in a Porsche is important because of my long relationship with them. Also, there are more long-term opportunities in GT's than in the prototypes.
His thoughts on the Grand-Am's DP concept: "I think the Daytona Prototype concept is great. One thing I really like about Grand American is the parity in the rules. They want to make sure that you have a chance to win the race, if you do your homework and work hard at it. And the prototype class is just that. It is a relatively low cost way to be in the premier class and have a chance to win overall.
"I think most people were sitting on the fence waiting to see if this was the real thing. I think people saw the racing was competitive and the cost was not out of sight so they decided to get involved. I think you are going to see a lot more teams entered next year too. If one team is not going to dominate then you have what racers are looking for, a chance to win overall. They just want to have the same opportunity the next guy has. They don't want the other competitor to have something that they can't buy. There is no politics in it because Grand-Am is committed to the idea that all the cars will have the same opportunity to win the race."
For the 2005 season, Grand-Am will run just two classes in the Rolex series, DP and GT. The plan is to simplify the racing action for what they hope will be a larger than traditional sportscar racing audience. The DP's will rule and the GT's will roll along behind. The move gives them bigger fields and - through enforced restrictions on the GT cars - an enhanced speed differential between the classes. As Price Cobb told me at Watkins Glen last year, the idea to slow down the smaller classes is really a brilliant way to keep things straight in the fans eye. Cobb called it a 'brilliant idea because, instead of spending more to go faster, you get to spend less to stay fast." But not so fast as to confuse the fans we surmise.
Murry: "The GT cars will also probably have to stop three times for fuel while the SGS cars will only have to stop twice, because they will have a smaller gas tank. And we hope that will give us a chance to finish higher overall."
2004 looks to be another solid season of on track activity for Dylan Murry's dad and Trudi Murry's husband. This personable family man will surely be looking to squeeze in some quality time with his brood, probably somewhere in between the test days and the podium photo sessions.
"I will definitely run both Grand-Am and the ALMS next season. I have signed a deal with an ALMS team but an announcement won't be out for another week or so."
When the announcement is made, the Race Site will carry it. In the meantime, David Murry is getting his calendar marked up with all the important dates to come. And some of those dates will certainly include his home track. He is expecting to get plenty of seat time this season and if he happens to enjoy a "home field advantage" when he runs at Road Atlanta, well that isn't any sort of problem for him at all.