Spirit of Daytona's First GTO Finish The Spirit of Daytona No. 10 GTO finished 25th in the GS class and the No. 9 GS car finished 35th in class at the VIR 400. Both cars started the race at the back of the pack due to the canceled qualifying ...
Spirit of Daytona's First GTO Finish
The Spirit of Daytona No. 10 GTO finished 25th in the GS class and the No. 9 GS car finished 35th in class at the VIR 400. Both cars started the race at the back of the pack due to the canceled qualifying session. The grid position was set by points and since neither GTOs finished at Daytona, the cars were low on the point spectrum. The 2005 Spirit of Daytona teammate, Marc-Antoine Camirand, partnered up with Doug Goad in the No.10 Rockland Standard Gear/ Daytona Mitsubishi Diamond Suzuki GTO. Mike Weinberg and Craig Conway co-piloted the No. 9 Rockland Standard Gear/ Daytona Mitsubishi Diamond Suzuki GTO.
Right after the green flag waved overhead an early yellow caution flag jumped out on track which put a halt to the 80 car competition. A mild rain shower was playing havoc with the Cup cars. Camirand pitted the No.10 GTO after 7 laps during the caution to switch into rain tires. After a prolonged yellow flag the course went green for a moment just to be shot down with another full course yellow. The on again off again threatening rain shower did not help with the decision on what tires the team should compete in. After the fourth yellow flag, Camirand pitted and Goad jumped into the GTO. Before the pit in, Camirand was running as high as 4th place. Goad took the No. 10 GTO back to the track and was having to work his way up from 52nd place.
It was a tough race with what seemed like only a handful of green laps. Craig Conway in the No. 9 GTO had climbed as high as 6th place throughout the flood of yellow flags. Conway pitted after 32 laps, " I didn't even want to get out. We were running so good. But we had to change the tires, the track was dry. It was great to be running in front again," said Conway. "We kept the car out of trouble, and I witnessed some crazy crashes. It was such a mess out there," said the No.9 driver. As Conway got out of the GTO, Mike Weinberg climbed into the No. 9 car. While Weinberg was in the GTO he got knocked off track. He pit the car in and Conway got back into the GTO for the remaining 20 minutes. Conway raced the GTO hard and his lap times rivaled those of the leaders.
With 10 minutes remaining in the race, the track finally turned green and Goad had to serve a penalty due to a pit row violation. Unlike other cars in the race, Goad served his penalty and did a drive through. When he came out he was knocked to the back of the pack. Even though the final race results did not reflect the great performance from the GTO, there were moments of hope with both cars racing into the top-10 throughout the race. Goad said, " Each time we got knocked back to the end of the pack, we always managed to pass cars in front of us, we have a great car here, we just need the same sort of race conditions." Todd Flis, GTO team-manager said, "There is no mistaking that these GTOs are fast. They fly around the track. I wouldn't be surprised if we are pouring champagne on them in the upcoming races."