Daytona 24: Matt Connolly Motorsports race report

With the teams Daytona Prototype not being available for the January test days, this past weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona would mark the first time that both team cars, all drivers and crew would be together at the same time. The team quickly ...

With the teams Daytona Prototype not being available for the January test days, this past weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona would mark the first time that both team cars, all drivers and crew would be together at the same time.

The team quickly started setting quick times in the GT class behind the driving talents of Diego Alessi, Karl Reindler, Spencer Trenery, Vic Rice and Hal Prewitt. This would prove to be a formidable lineup throughout the weekend. With the teams' Pontiac powered DP, making its first appearance at the Daytona International Speedway, the task was more about getting a good set up for its diverse lineup of Ettore Contini, Mirco Schultis, Miro Konopka, Bob Frost and Seth Ingham.

After an exciting GT qualifying that saw the #21 MCM Pontiac GTO-R prepped to take the starting grid in the 5th class position, the DP utilized the first qualifier as another set up session, and that worked well with team driver Ingham taking another 2 seconds off his best time for the weekend with a 1:46 lap time.

The race got off to an interesting start as Diego Alessi quickly picked off a position to take 4th in GT, only to have a Porsche squeeze down on him, making contact before turn one. This would prove costly as the right front upright would give way just a brief time later and having to put the #21 entry behind the wall for repairs. The #31 Daytona Prototype would spend some time behind the wall as well, but not before running as high as 12th overall in an excellent showing as all the drivers had their best laps of the weekend in the race before the differential failed near the 10 hour mark. Driver Bob Frost was hit in the left rear, bending the rim and putting him into a spin that would eventually end the day for the much improved DP. Driver Miro Konopka was next to climb into the #31 car, but after 50 minutes into his stint had to pull into the pits as the differential made the car virtually undrivable. The #31 drivers drove a great race, and showed improved pace all weekend.

The #21 entry would have its issues, but the determined team and drivers refused to give up and pressed on through the night that saw a number of issues stare them head on. The team felt a sense of victory to see Australian driver and first time Rolex 24 competitor Karl Reindler take the checker in a very emotional finish to this storied event for the team that finished in 27th GT class position out of the 45 entries.

-credit: mcm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alessi Diego , Vic Rice , Matt Connolly , Spencer Trenery , Mirco Schultis , Seth Ingham , Karl Reindler , Hal Prewitt , Miro Konopka