Connor's Rolex 24 Comes to a Premature End DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 6 - Larry Connor was running eleventh in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway at approximately 2:24 a.m. Sunday morning when the Michael Shank Racing/Mears Motor...
Connor's Rolex 24 Comes to a Premature End
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 6 - Larry Connor was running eleventh in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway at approximately 2:24 a.m. Sunday morning when the Michael Shank Racing/Mears Motor Coach Riley Pontiac #6 suffered engine problems and dropped out of the race.
The team had rebounded to tenth or eleventh in the wee hours of the morning after Mike Borkowski was involved in an accident during an early caution period, making heavy contact with the Essex Racing Crawford Ford. The No. 6 wasn't badly damaged but Grand American Rolex Series officials penalized the team for Borkowski's role in the incident, costing it several laps and dropping it to 21st in the afternoon.
Borkowski, Connor, Duncan Dayton and Paul Mears Jr. didn't panic, but instead the four co-drivers tried even harder and steadily moved up the scoreboard through the night. Connor, of Centerville, Ohio, had been in the car for about 50 minutes during his early-morning stint before the engine blew.
"It's disappointing because we had such a good effort going; we'd all been competitive in the car and had worked back towards the front, but there was really nothing we could do," said Connor. "I was able to run well with some cars that qualified much better than we had, so there was some good racing going on out there.
"The guys Mike [Shank] has working for him do a really good job, and it's just too bad we couldn't get them a better finish, but we gave it everything we had.
"Despite losing those laps earlier, we were able to run with the leaders," Connor continued. "I could run with the Ganassi cars. Traffic and tire wear were a problem, but that was the same for everyone."
Connor said the crew had to add oil to the car once during an earlier stint, and wondered aloud if that might be a precursor to trouble.
Unfortunately it was, and the car's engine expired.
Connor is quite a bit taller than his co-drivers on this team, and the set-up of the car's seat also caused a problem.
"The cockpit wasn't really set up for someone as tall as I am, and I developed a pinched nerve in my lower back during my first stint," he explained, showing a pad that had been duct-taped to his back to try to protect the area.
"I still got shooting pain from it, even with the pad," Connor said.
For more information on Connor and The Connor Group, a real estate investment firm, please see www.theconnorgrp.com. Other interesting information may be found at www.michaelshankracing.com, www.grandamerican.com, www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com and www.restartcommunications.com.
The Rolex 24 was televised live on SPEED.