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January 28, 2018

Mike Conway

Eric Curran

Stuart Middleton

Felipe Nasr

Dayton Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our second place finishers in the Prototype class. Drivers of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi. We are joined by Felipe Nasr, and Eric Curran, Mike Conway and Stuart Middleton.
Eric, do you want to talk about where you finished today and thoughts on the race.
ERIC CURRAN: Yeah, absolutely. Overall, really, a great day or a great 24 hours for sure. I mean, our Whelen Cadillac was strong all race long. It was one of those days where, very little cautions and a lot of green flag driving and just had a few little issues. It was just enough to kind of pull us back and silly things.
We had brake lights failed and I had to come out of the lead and come back and put a rear section on the car and lost a lap. There are things like that. Then we had a bit of a potential overheating issue with the car later in the race. And it just knocked us back just a couple laps, but it was just enough with no cautions that we were basically behind our teammates in the 5 car give or take two or three laps for hours on end. And we couldn't just make up the time.
And but hats off to Action Express. Unbelievable weekend for those guys to finish 1‑2. They put a lot of effort into this whole program and obviously it shows today.
It was fun. Our Whelen Engineering Cadillac was great. Can't complain about a second place finish at the Rolex 24 hour. My best finish here, but it would have been nice to go home with a watch.
But hats off to my teammates. Everybody did a great job. Felipe Nasr did a phenomenal job opening stint and all the way through the race. He and I will be teammates for the whole season. And we brought in Stuart Middleton from the Sunoco Challenge who did a great job, ended up finishing up the race and brought it to the checker. And then our buddy Mike Conway who has been with us the last couple of years. Just a phenomenal mix of people.
Just want to thank especially Sonny Whelen, Whelen Engineering for all their sport. Cadillac, Cadillac Racing and all the guys at Action Express for putting this whole program together and giving us‑‑ as a team it doesn't get any better than the results that Action Express had today.
And really happy for our red and white Whelen Cadillac, but one more step on the podium would have been a little nicer than this but we'll take it.

Q. Felipe, you've been pretty quick around here all month. Talk about that and your thoughts on the race?
FELIPE NASR: Did we get fastest lap in the end or not?
THE MODERATOR: I would have to look.
FELIPE NASR: One point faster. I hate to say but I hate finishing second. I guess we all do. But that's racing. Sometimes you can go one way or the other. But I'm, on the other hand, it's been a fantastic comeback here. I really missed being here in Daytona. And having the opportunity to join the Whelen Engineering Cadillac together with these guys here was an amazing experience again. Just felt like we had the car to fight to the lead from the beginning.
We made up some nice positions right from the start. And I just could feel the car was strong enough to be fighting for the win, which as Eric has explained, we had it in our hands as well. But I feel little issues here and there, losing some of the laps to the other 5 car.
But, hey, it can't get any better than that. 1‑2 for Action Express. Our beginning of season here. There's so much to happen. But as Eric said as well, it will be nice to be a step further. But overall an amazing job all weekend getting those drivers right, comfortable in the car, all the procedures. The team has been unbelievable good and I can't wait for the next one.

Q. Stuart, your thoughts on the race?
STUART MIDDLETON: First and foremost, I'd like to thank everybody involved getting me here and the opportunity just to race in the Rolex 24 is just crazy.
It's something I never could have pictured, say, the start of 2017. To come here and finish P2 on the podium in the Prototype class is crazy. I'd just like to express thanks to Action Express Racing, Cadillac, Continental tires and Sunoco Race Fuels.
It's been an incredible 24 hours for us. Finished P2 in my first ever 24‑hour race and my first ever timed race in a DPi car is something I couldn't have pictured.
For sure I've enjoyed my experience. And hopefully there's more to come in the future. But, yeah, for sure the race was very exciting. It was a big learning curve for me. I was just having to learn the Cadillac DPi lap after lap in the race and I was just trying to make sure I learned as much as I could throughout this race weekend.
The guys have done an amazing job. I couldn't have asked for better teammates than these guys. They've been (inaudible) all weekend. What an amazing job by Action Express Racing. And, yeah, I wish these guys the best of luck in the future and hopefully they'll have a wonderful season.

Q. Stuart, you are coming from the Sunoco Challenge, the winner more or less I think it's fair to say you're something like a guest driver. Do you think that this win will be helpful, that you will stay as a regular driver in the IMSA series?
STUART MIDDLETON: Hopefully it creates more opportunities. For sure it's got to look good on the CV. It's my first‑ever 24 hours, as I said before. So, yeah, to finish P2 in a race amongst some of the best drivers in the world in prototype cars, it's insane to me.
So I'm very happy with how it's went. And, yeah, hopefully I'm back sometime soon.

Q. Eric, we saw, especially with Taylor's car, a lot of tire problems, tire failures. I'm sure you were informed by your team that this happened; you were scared personally and was there any possibility to address this, to change something with the car setup‑wise?
ERIC CURRAN: I think Felipe actually had one tire failure on our car, on our Whelen Cadillac. I didn't have any issues at all.
The worst case was, because the track got so dirty later in the race, if you got off line a little bit it picked up so much debris, you'd get a big vibration in the car. But we've got one of the best teams in the paddock and those guys are always monitoring everything.
So they've done this race a number of times. They know what it takes. They know what they need to do for setup‑wise I think they protected the tires well on our Action Express cars.
Scary stuff. No one wants to lose a tire at 100 miles an hour. That's for sure. A lot them lost today. One right in front of me, at one point, the 10 car, Van Der Zande, blew up in front of me.
I literally smelled the tire and saw him pitch off. Scary stuff. But we were okay for the most part except that Felipe had an issue but didn't tear up the body work, didn't do too much damage. Not so bad.

Q. Stuart, in 2017 was a fantastic year for you, the youngest ever winner with (inaudible) British GT championship and the youngest Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner. If we look back in the history books for this race, last 18 years or so, since the turn of the millennium, you're the youngest overall finisher on the podium as well. Just talk us through how that feels.
STUART MIDDLETON: It feels incredible. I feel so proud to be in the position that I am and so honored to do the job I'm doing. So for sure 2017 was definitely the best year of racing for me, winning the British GT championship, my first year in GT cars was something incredible.
For sure, my progress is moving really fast now. Yeah, hopefully there's more to come in the future. I'm just trying to do everything I can and keep trying to impress.

Q. Felipe, we never really saw very good replay of what happened with Hélio. Can you kind of describe what happened with the contact and how much did it damage your car, too?
FELIPE NASR: Yep. Well, it was through the night wasn't it?

Q. Yes.
FELIPE NASR: We came out from the restart and had a bunch of Prototypes together. I felt a clip from behind. I spun the car, lost the car coming out of 3 to the inside. And I was hoping no one was going to go on the inside just so we could get it clear. But Heli was the one‑‑ unfortunately he came over and clipped my front splitter. And I guess it damaged his car as well.
So I had to come in for a change to a new front splitter. And maybe his car was also damaged at the time.

Q. This is for any one of the three of you. There were a lot of overheating problems during the race. When your team had to come in and spend I believe it was three laps in the garage during the 18th hour to have water put in and other additional repairs, when did you guys first note the temperature issues?
ERIC CURRAN: Well, I think the 5 car had something happening similar to ours and maybe had it happen just a little bit earlier than we did. So they brought their car in in kind of a preventive maintenance thing just to make sure everything was okay and brought in, added water, whatever they did. Those guys got out really quick, and we thought, well, our car's running a little warm.
It's really tricky here, because there's so much debris on this track 24 hours and tires blowing up and all these different things that are happening that the radiators and everything really pack full of debris and rubber and all that and the cooling doesn't get to the radiators and to the engine.
So everything's kind of running hotter, you're doing all these pit stops. I think that had something to do with it. But, yeah, we came in and kind of preventive thing added water to the car, did whatever the guys did, but for us it was too bad it dropped us back three to four laps, I think, just on that one service. So really unfortunate. We had a couple‑‑ we had that issue and then of course the taillight issue and a couple little things.
All it takes is just enough to knock you back. But the good thing is that our Cadillac engine just kept chugging along and ran strong for 24 hours. So that's a nice reliable piece there.
So it was a good run for that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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