Utah: Spirit of Daytona race report

Spirit of Daytona Racing: Happy to Finish the Nine-Hour Sunchaser After two complete driver cycles, Spirit of Daytona Racing finished 17th in the Discount Tire Sunchaser at the Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday evening. The nine-hour endurance...

Spirit of Daytona Racing: Happy to Finish the Nine-Hour Sunchaser

After two complete driver cycles, Spirit of Daytona Racing finished 17th in the Discount Tire Sunchaser at the Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday evening. The nine-hour endurance race had its share of car contact, racetrack spin offs and close competition that could only happen on a 4.5mile track like Miller. Doug Goad, Marc-Antoine Camirand and Stephan Gregoire were all able to enjoy the Grand American Rolex Series finale for 2006.

"We are happy to have been able to finish this race and compete in all nine hours," said co-owner/driver Doug Goad. "We had some early issues in the first hour of the race but were able to run through it. And we also had some minor damage done to the suspension but once again our team pulled through and we finished in one piece. This season has been a tough one, but I am already looking forward to 2007," said Goad.

French Canadian, Marc-Antoine Camirand was the first driver in the 09 Crawford prototype. While on track the tire build up made the car's handling difficult and the Pontiac Crawford lost a few laps. Once the team figured out the issue, the 09 car was back to running competitive lap times. Camirand said, "the car was doing fine the first couple of laps, but then something happened and it was hard to drive. We had to turn off the power steering which wore me out a little more than my usual stint in the car."

With over six hours left in the race, the team and drivers were feeling pretty optimistic about the prototype. Goad followed Camirand's stint in the 09 Crawford and started to get a feel for the race. While on track the 09 Crawford had brief contact with the 77 Doran and damaged the front suspension. Goad had to pit at lap 56 for a driver change and to repair the upper control arm in the suspension. Spirit of Daytona team members took the damage in stride and suited up Stephan Gregoire for his first stint.

Gregoire was in the 09 Pontiac for two hours. He was able to last for so long because the car was handling the best it had all week. " My two hours in the car were tiring," said Gregoire. But the car was pretty much perfect. We could have had better balance for some of the fast corners. That would have been nice. I was getting to learn the track and as I improved the car improved." Stephan's improvements showed as the lap times remained consistent and competitive.

Camirand got back into the car at lap 96 for his second stint. Camirand was feeling the stress of racing but like teammate Gregoire he was able to last his entire stint without a problem. After turning 28 laps Camirand retired into pit lane. Goad started his second stint in the car and got into a nice rhythm. But while on track Goad spun and picked up some of the desert landscape. He had to pit for new tires and to clean the windshield and radiator duct. Goad said, "there was so much dust inside the windshield that I couldn't see where I was going when I was on track."

At 8:00PM Gregoire got into the 09 Pontiac for the final hour of the Sunchaser at Miller Motorsports. Gregoire adjusted to the darkened desert sky and was able to finish out the race without any problems. However with seven minutes left in the race the car had to come in for a splash of fuel. The team was able to fuel the 09 DP and Gregoire got back on track without losing a lap. Spirit of Daytona Racing finished the 14th race of the season in one piece.

-credit: www.spiritofdaytona.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Stephan Gregoire , Marc-Antoine Camirand , Doug Goad