Birmingham: Spirit of Daytona race report

Labonte and Cosmo's Race at Barber A broken suspension piece and threatening rain showers didn't stop the Spirit of Daytona MarineMax 09 Pontiac Crawford from finishing the Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant at the Barber Motorsports ...

Labonte and Cosmo's Race at Barber

A broken suspension piece and threatening rain showers didn't stop the Spirit of Daytona MarineMax 09 Pontiac Crawford from finishing the Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant at the Barber Motorsports Park. Bobby Labonte and Guy Cosmo finished the 09 MarineMax Prototype in 21st place in the 11th Grand American Rolex Series race of the season.

Labonte started the race from a competitive 16th place grid position under sunny skies and in thick humidity. Before any real racing occurred, a yellow flag waved overhead. Labonte and the rest of the competitors had to wait out the caution for seven laps and once again the green flag waved. At lap 12, the No. 77 Doran collided with Labonte sending him into the grass. Not only was the 09 Daytona Prototype covered in grass and mud, but a suspension piece broke during the incident. Bobby had to return to pit lane to repair the damage.

When Labonte returned to the track his car was nine laps down. Labonte stayed in the car until another yellow caution flag and pitted at lap 39. After Labonte's stint in the car he explained, "we (the 77 Doran) were racing side by side and I thought he was going to head another way, it didn't work out. I was out in the grass right after." After Bobby's on track incident he didn't have a chance to race the car during a long green flag. "It was a long yellow (at the start of the race). I didn't get to race much," said Labonte.

Rain clouds were threatening the track for more than half the race, and in the distance lightening bolts appeared. Weather reports were for severe rain showers but the 09 MarineMax DP never had to put on the rain tires. With 35 minutes left in the race, the heat started to take its toll on Cosmo. The team and seasoned driver decided to turn the racecar over to Labonte for the final half hour of the race.

During Cosmo's stint one of the occurring challenges he faced was braking in traffic. "With the repair we had to make to the rear suspension the corner weight in the car was a bit off. That has a big effect on the car under braking. I flat spotted the front tires pretty bad because I had to brake really early. It made it more difficult to get through traffic. The car was still very good. It is just a shame that we were not able to show how quick we were. We owe this one to MarineMax, a big thanks to them for being loyal to us," said Cosmo.

Before the finish of the race, Labonte turned 13 laps. " I just wanted to finish the race and keep the car going forward," said Labonte. "It is a little different to be able to swap co-drivers like this during the race. I am still getting use to driving with a teammate." Labonte and Cosmo will return to the track once again at Watkins Glen on August 11.

-sod

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Guy Cosmo