Teams work together to get to Birmingham

Teams Work Together Following Accident at VIR Last Sunday BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Oct. 8 - If it wasn't for the hard work of the team which fields the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus ...

Teams Work Together Following Accident at VIR Last Sunday

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Oct. 8 - If it wasn't for the hard work of the team which fields the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus #27, two other Daytona Prototypes wouldn't be able to compete in Sunday's Rolex series race at Barber Motorsports Park here: the Michael Shank Racing #6 and the G&W Motorsports #81.

Both of the later two cars were damaged extensively in a violent crash at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. last Sunday.

The reason the crew members of the #27 car are involved is because members of that team also work for Doran Designs, the firm which built all three of the cars already mentioned as well as the car that won the race at Barber Motorsports Park last year, the Bell Motorsports/Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac.

Kevin Doran heads Doran-Lista Racing, which fields the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus driven here this weekend by Didier Theys and Andrea Montermini, as well as Doran Designs, which designs and builds the DORAN JE4 Daytona Prototypes.

Doran's own car suffered uncharacteristic engine problems last Sunday at VIR and was out early. But when two of the other DORAN JE4s were involved in that race's biggest accident, he and many other members of the Doran-Lista team went into over-drive in order to help the Shank and G&W teams repair their cars so they could compete at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend.

"Without a doubt, if it wasn't for the Doran organization we wouldn't be here this weekend," said Michael Shank, owner of Michael Shank Racing. "I actually don't know how they did it. Kevin and Jeff [Graves, Doran-Lista's crew chief] and everyone jumped in and burned the midnight oil, or we wouldn't be here in the paddock today.

"It's part of the whole package that you get when you buy a DORAN JE4," Shank continued. "It's a complete commitment to get your car on the track. We talk it over with Kevin and if he thinks it's fixable and we think it's fixable, then we all agree to go to his shop and it gets fixed. That's all there is to it. Their service is outstanding."

Doran's shop is located in Lebanon, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati.

Six members of the Shank team left VIR at 6:30 p.m. Sunday night after that race and arrived at the Doran shop at 6:30 a.m. Monday morning with their car.

"We all worked until midnight for three nights in a row, and then we left for here," an obviously tired Shank continued. "We got here Thursday morning, and we got the last 40 minutes of yesterday afternoon's practice session in."

Shank said his car required new framework around the motor and throughout the rear. "All the rear bodywork was gone too, as well as miscellaneous plumbing and electrical lines that got sheared off," he said.

Shank said that the accident was "like a bomb going off" in his car. "Doran has proved several times this year that their cars are plenty strong," he said. "They are built with every safety precaution in mind. They are more than up to the task."

On Friday afternoon some members of the Doran team were still at the shop in Ohio working on the G&W Motorsports #81, while others were at Barber Motorsports Park working on their own car.

"Everybody has really pitched in and done a remarkable job," said Price Cobb, G&W Motorsports' team manager. "We got to Doran's shop in Ohio around 10 a.m. Monday morning. The plan is for our car to leave Doran's shop between noon and 2 p.m. today [Friday], and be here tonight to run tomorrow and Sunday."

In addition to its Daytona Prototype, G&W is fielding three Porsches here at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend.

"Getting a tow-behind trailer was one of our immediate problems right after the accident at VIR, because we had to have our transporter here with the other cars," continued Cobb, whose team is headquartered at VIR. "We borrowed an enclosed tow-behind trailer from a paint company in our complex, American Detail, and three of our guys headed to Cincinnati. Another one of our trailers will pass through Birmingham this weekend so the drivers can switch off; it will have our two Star Mazdas in it, headed for a race at Laguna Seca [in California] next weekend."

As just another example of what a small world the racing community can be, the three G&W Motorsports crewmembers who have been working at the Doran shop this week are Richard Binzer, Noah Bailey and Gary Grossenbacher. The latter, who is G&W's engineer, used to work with Kevin Doran at Al Holbert Racing.

Like Shank, Cobb said he was pleased with the way his DORAN JE4 held up in the crash.

"It really got into the front of our car, but there were no safety issues with the driver," he said. "Our car had to be cut apart, which is why it had to be at Doran's shop longer than the Shank car. And if we weren't racing so many other cars, we could have sent more people too," he added.

"We had to machine a front bulkhead for the 81 car, and that took 24 hours of machining time," Kevin Doran noted. "Everybody came together as a group and did a fantastic job, working long and efficiently. I'm proud of all of them."

-lm/dlr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Didier Theys , Al Holbert , Andrea Montermini , Price Cobb , Kevin Doran , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing