Daytona 24: MSR/Fusion Racing early out report

Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR Daytona run ends early (Daytona Beach, FL) 29 January 06-- Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR made quite an impression in their Daytona debut, getting off to a flying start and launching into the lead...

Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR Daytona run ends early

(Daytona Beach, FL) 29 January 06-- Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR made quite an impression in their Daytona debut, getting off to a flying start and launching into the lead in the early going, only to be sidelined by terminal overheating problems that forced the team to park the Lexus/Riley before the race reached the halfway mark.

The driving duties were shared by Paul Tracy, Paul Mears, Mike Borkowski, and Kenny Wilden, with Tracy first up at the controls. Tracy made a charge from the drop of the green flag and moved up from thirteenth on the grid to slot into third by just the eighth lap. After the team called him in to make a well-timed pit stop under the race's first full course caution on lap nineteen, Tracy rejoined the pack and continued his charge, taking the lead on lap twenty-three.

Fifty-three laps into the race, the Canadian Champ Car star brought the Graydon Elliott machine into the pits and turned the car over to Borkowski, who rejoined the field in fifteenth, but was quickly back into the top three, and then took the lead on lap seventy-five.

But the strong run came to a halt on lap eighty-eight, just minutes after the race entered its fourth hour, as problem with the halfshaft left the car without drive and Borkowski stranded on course. The team hustled to get the car back to the pits and back on track, giving both Mears and Wilden runs in the car, but an overheating problem kept the team from fighting into the night as the car was retired with just over twelve hours remaining.

"It's disappointing to be out early after getting the car into the lead," said Tracy. "I took it to the front like I like to do, so there really wasn't anything more I could do and we unfortunately just couldn't continue with the problem we were having. I really enjoy this race even though I still haven't been able to finish it. It's just too bad this wasn't a two-hour sprint race!"

The Champ Car star has been driving a variety of cars of late as he has also been getting some NASCAR miles under his belt, but the 2003 Champ Car World Series Champ certainly seems to enjoy his time behind the wheel of the Daytona Prototypes.

"I'll be back in this race next year, and I hope my schedule gives me the chance to run more of these races this season," said Tracy, who will also be racing a selected schedule of NASCAR Busch Series events in 2006.

The early pace that the Graydon machine gave the entire Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR crew reason to be optimistic in the early going, but some bad racing luck intervened to keep the team from converting their early race pace into a strong result.

"That was a hell of a run we had going in the Graydon Elliott car," said Mike Shank. "I'm really happy with the performance from both the car and the team, getting to the lead and then fighting to get the car fixed and back on track, but we just couldn't get all the overheating issues solved, so we had to park it. We certainly had the pace, but the luck just wasn't with us tonight."

-msr/fr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Tracy , Mike Borkowski