January 31, 2018
It’s Daytona time and Caribou’s Griffeth hits it out-of-the-park with his logo
A mixture of perennial rye grass and annual rye grass carefully planted in the intricate pattern of the Campbell Blue Bird II took place in November 2107. Griffeth and crew has nurtured the turfgrass for the biggest speed events in the world.
Mowing, fertilizing, and watering combined with the addition of the Daytona logo by another specialty company, has made the design come alive for the motorsports events in January and February. The front stretch tri-oval is probably one of the most photographed areas at the speedway.
Griffeth, a Class of 2000 Caribou High School graduate and member of the first CHS Hall of Fame Inductees, worked at Fenway Park as the assistant for 14.5 years before taking over the Head of Grounds position at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) in November 2016.
In addition to the turf within the DIS property, he manages several acres of off-site turf used for parking lots and hay. The son of Robert and Lona Griffeth of Cross Lake, he attributes much of his work ethic to working on his father’s potato fields when he was growing up.
The beautiful turf grass in the tri-oval will give way to the Bike Week events after the Daytona 500 on February 18. Almost immediately after the 500, a flat track motorcycle track will be built on the front stretch with 8 inches of clay making up the track. Part of the track will include pit lane while the rest will be built on the area planted with turf grass currently.
On top of the flat track will be a world-class motocross track designed by world champion Ricky Carmichael. The crew will have less than 24 hours after the mot-cross race to remove all traces of clay and soil from the racing surfaces when the powerful speedway bikes take over the track.
Jason and his crew will be busy the weeks leading up to the Bike Week as well as during the week. Once bike week is done they will sprig the tri-oval grass area and have it ready for the July 7 Coke Zero 400.
Highlights of racing action at Daytona
Gene Cherry in Auto Blog, “Unfortunately we had too many issues that were out of our control,” said Alfonso who was making his debut in the 24-hour endurance race.
“Some unlucky situations, first of all with the puncture in the third or fourth stint…..We lost four laps with quite a lot of damage on the car.
“And after that we had a brake issue … and we lost 40 minutes. So that was the end of our race, probably. Then we had a throttle issue and then again a brake issue.”
Last year’s winner, Wayne Taylor’s #10 Cadillac DPi suffered multiple rear tire punctures and was withdrawn when they could not pinpoint the problem.
So how did I do picking the winners… zero picks!
Grassroots Motorsports Magazine big presence at Rolex 24 Hour weekend
Motorsports Ministries chapel at DIS
Each of the three years I have covered the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona I have had the privilege to attend Motorsports Ministries chapel services. The President of Motorsports Ministries, Terry Borcheller was the speaker each of those years.
This year he spoke from Philippians 2:12-16 “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
14Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
He left the audience with three words, 1)revelation 2) participation and 3) transformation. He addressed a dozen Teen Challenge youth who were at the track with their sponsor. He encouraged them to surrender to the life offered by Jesus Christ.
Borcheller has two wins at the Daytona 24 Hour race, a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, and five finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a podium at his first appearance at the French track. He has over 50 wins in other race series. He currently serves as a driving coach in the Ferrari Challenge Series.
Borcheller lives in Vero Beach, Florida with his wife Tracy and has five children.
Soli Deo Gloria