Watkins Glen II: ASC Motorsports race report

ASC Motorsports Corvette Finishes 15th at the Glen Tiffin, Ohio - August 16, 2005 The ASC Motorsports Corvette team had a good weekend overall in the Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series event at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen,...

ASC Motorsports Corvette Finishes 15th at the Glen

Tiffin, Ohio - August 16, 2005 The ASC Motorsports Corvette team had a good weekend overall in the Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series event at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. The team posted a 15th place finish on the Glen's 2.45 mile short course, but the drivers and crew were somewhat disappointed because a mid-race mechanical problem cost the team what would certainly have been a much higher finish.

With all of the practice sessions and qualifying squeezed into one day, drivers Zach Arnold of Tiffin, Ohio and Johnny Miller from Johnson City, Tennessee had little time to compare and communicate setup changes, and the crew had limited time to make changes on the car, but, as has become the trademark of the #55 team, the Corvette moved steadily up the speed charts in each of the sessions.

The morning practice session was spent analyzing recent changes on the car and the drivers getting familiar with the revised setup and the NASCAR short course. In the afternoon session, after having the shocks reworked, the team moved up to 12th on the GT speed chart.

Then, toward the end of the session, a part in the rack and pinion steering failed. With only 15 minutes between the end of the practice session and the start of qualifying, Arnold was forced to qualify with a balky steering system. His time of 1:19.677 at an average speed of 110.697 mph resulted in a 20th place starting spot, an exceptional result considering the problem.

By the start of the evening practice session, the crew had made temporary steering repairs and the car moved another place up the speed chart, less than 1.3 seconds off the pace of the fastest BMW.

On race day, the crew installed the replacement steering parts, thoroughly inspected everything on the Corvette, and prepared the pit stall for the twilight race.

Starting from near the back of the field, Arnold quickly began moving through the GT field as the Corvette performed flawlessly. However, near the mid-point of the 200 mile race, the front bodywork came loose due to a broken mounting fixture. On an ensuing caution flag, Arnold brought the car into the pits. After a quick driver change, new tires, refueling and a repair that took only seconds longer than a lap, Miller entered the race one lap down.

In a race marked by frequent caution flags and one extended caution period, the Corvette C5 got better as the race wore on, and Miller was running close to the speeds of the leaders toward the end of the race. When Miller crossed the finish line in 15th place, the entire team knew the Corvette had shown more potential for a top finish than the official results showed.

In the post-race interview, Arnold noted, "The final practice and qualifying would have gone a lot better if the steering was working properly. The crew did a great job. We had a good weekend overall, and we're getting better."

Miller added, "We're ready for and good enough for a podium finish, and everybody knows it. We were as fast as the leaders at the end. It was fun out there."

The next appearance for ASC Motorsports will be the August 25-27 EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. This very special event will be the team's first home race in the Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series. Zach Arnold of Tiffin, Ohio and Johnny Miller from Johnson City, Tennessee will again share the driving duties in the team's Prep 2 Corvette C5 for the 400 kilometer (248 miles) twilight race.

The EMCO Gears Classic takes place at 5:30 PM (EDT) on Saturday, August 27th. It will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by Speed Channel Sunday, August 28th at Noon (EDT).

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Johnny Miller , Zach Arnold