FINLAY MOTORSPORTS PULLS OFF TOP-10 FINISH AT THE ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA DAYTONA BEACH, FL (January 28, 2007) - Just how important is the Rolex 24 at Daytona? Apparently pretty important to the Mooresville, NC - based Finlay Motorsports team. The...
FINLAY MOTORSPORTS PULLS OFF TOP-10 FINISH AT THE ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (January 28, 2007) - Just how important is the Rolex 24 at Daytona? Apparently pretty important to the Mooresville, NC - based Finlay Motorsports team. The team experienced several problems throughout the race but never gave up.
At the start of the twice around the clock race, the No.19 Z-Line Designs/Mission Residential/Uniden/Make-A-Wish Daytona Prototype only had one lap on their Ford-powered race motor. A lap that was taken by Michael McDowell around 10:30 a.m. race morning. The team had experienced a problem with their race motor the day before and unfortunately missed the final practice session but Grand Am allowed the team to make one lap around the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course.
Not knowing what to expect at the start of the race, Michael Valiante slid behind the wheel and prepared to take the green flag for the start of the 45th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Unfortunately the motor seemed to be down on power from the start and forced Valiante to fall back a few positions at the beginning of the race.
"This was the first race with new Bosch engine management system," explained Steve Cameron. "As it turns out it seems that there's a bit of work left to be done. On a positive note I was extremely impressed with how our drivers handled the many obstacles thrown at them over the 24 hours. Michael (Valiante), Rob (Finlay), Michael (McDowell) and Bobby (Labonte) running not only fast but mistake free throughout he event."
The drivers and crew did an incredible job overcoming whatever obstacles were thrown at them throughout the race and managed to bring the No.19 machine home to a tenth place position.
It looked like the team might even have a shot at finishing further up in the top-10 but with less than an hour remaining in the race Valiante was forced to bring the bright yellow machine back to the garage area. As the team quickly worked to resolve the problem, the engine still would not fire so in a last ditch effort the crew pulled the car through the garage area with their pit cart in hopes of bump starting the car. John Maddox with Roush/Yates Engines pulled up on his four wheeler and was able to hook the No.19 machine to the back and Valiante fired up the motor as his teammate Michael McDowell cleared the way. The car rolled through the garage area and back onto the circuit completing a few more valuable laps before retiring for good.
The team's effort, including the drivers will to finish the race found the Finlay Motorsports team finishing the 24 hour race in the tenth position.
"The crew did an amazing job," explained Michael Valiante. "They are what kept us in the top-10 the entire race, we couldn't have asked for more from them."
The Finlay Motorsports team will now head back to their shop in Mooresville, NC and begin preparations for their next event in Mexico City.
-credit: finlay motorsports