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The Inside Line: Jack Smith and the Yellow Dragon Motorsports Crew, Part 2

10/25/2008 | Interview conducted by TheRaceSite.com

TheRaceSite.com: There are several packages to choose from for the GT class. What made you choose the Mazda brand?

Jack: The Mazda RX-8 was a natural choice for us. I have raced Mazda products for over 20 years, Norm has worked with Mazda teams including Formula Mazda and GT cars, and Phil has worked with a number of Mazda powered teams going back to the Camel Lights Series. Our experience has been that Mazda is the ultimate in reliability and durability in the racing environment.

Additionally, the Mazda program is excellent in terms of team and customer support. SpeedSource Race Engineering is a superb car constructor and has been an outstanding advisor as well. An objective evaluation of the facts always brought us back to the Mazda brand.

TheRaceSite.com: What drew you to the Rolex Series?

Jack: The cars, the high level of competition and the people we have met in the process. The Grand-Am Rolex Series seems to be at an inflection point in terms of the next leg up in growth. We want to be part of that growth. Everyone we have met with the Grand-Am operation has been extremely helpful and interested in our program. We look forward to 2009.

TheRaceSite.com: As you go into next year, how is your driver plan shaping up?

Jack: We have met numerous very qualified individuals in our search for the proper driver talent and are continuing discussions with them. We are being a bit careful as we believe that two of the three parts to a successful season--the right car and the right team-- are in place. The third element is drivers with a strong competitive sprit and as focused on excellence as the rest of the team.

Norm: I am impressed with the talented drivers that have expressed interest in joining the team. Several of them could be an excellent fit and we are having further discussions with them. We anticipate meeting more drivers as the various race series finish their season and people become focused on planning for next year. We are looking for drivers that have the appropriate fit for the team and can achieve a good competitive result.

TheRaceSite.com: Yellow Dragon is a unique name for a race team. What made you come to that name?

Jack: Although one might expect to hear that we paid consultants and ran focus groups, the reality is that I was looking for a team name for my yellow Mazda RX-7 club racer. My daughter has an interest in drawing Japanese anime and had drawn a dragon. I asked her to draw a dragon to put on my RX-7. When looking to name the Grand-Am team, I looked to that experience and selected Yellow Dragon Motorsports. Although the dragon created by my daughter is very different from the stylized logo because her drawing is a more artistic depiction of the creature, it was the inspiration for the name and she was consulted during the development of the LavaGraphix logo design. I plan to have her version airbrushed onto my helmet.

The name is unique, memorable and has an element of fun and, after all, isn't that what this is about in the end.

Read Part 1

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