Engine trouble ends comeback run for Michael Shank Racing at Rolex 24 Daytona Beach, FL-(6 Feb 05)--Despite a huge amount of effort, the Michael Shank Racing campaign came up short when the team suffered an engine problem after making a strong...
Engine trouble ends comeback run for Michael Shank Racing at Rolex 24
Daytona Beach, FL-(6 Feb 05)--Despite a huge amount of effort, the Michael Shank Racing campaign came up short when the team suffered an engine problem after making a strong run up the charts late into the night during the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend.
Mike Borkowski started the car from the twelfth position, and quickly worked his way up the order to eighth in the early stages of the race. During an early caution period, though, Borkowski was caught out when several cars ahead of him overslowed for the chicane, and he made contact with the car ahead of him, forcing him into the pits for repairs. The team quickly changed the nose on the car and inspected the suspension, but the Grand Am officials soon called the car back into the pits for a penalty from the incident, costing the team several laps to the leaders.
Despite the setback, the team stuck to their plan, and began to work themselves up the order as the race progressed. Larry Connor, Duncan Dayton, Mike Borkowski, and Paul Mears Jr. shared the driving duties, and they all stepped up their performance for the biggest race of the season, posting times that were markedly faster than any of the drivers had done in the car in testing or practice leading up to the race.
"I was just driving on adrenaline," said Borkowski after anchoring a run towards the front during a mammoth two-and-a-half stints behind the wheel. "I just wanted to get us back on the lead lap, and even though we were running really well, it was taking some time because this race is one of the most competitive 24 hour races ever, with all the driving talent and having so many closely matched cars."
The MSR squad was having a good day too, with quick pitstops helping the team reduce the gap to the front as the team worked back up the charts to retake the eighth position just after 1 a.m. after falling down to the 21st spot earlier in the afternoon.
"We were definitely heading for a top-five finish," said team owner Mike Shank. "It just didn't go our way this time around. A 24 hour race is one of the biggest challenges a team can face in terms of preparation, planning, and execution, and despite getting off to a slow start, we were running a competitive pace, and doing everything we had to, improving our position as we went along. Unfortunately, we lost the motor, and there is really nothing we could do about it, so we'll pack up, get back to the shop and start working to get ready and be competitive in the championship this season with Mike and Paul."
"I have to say that all the drivers on this team really impressed me with their pace-they really improved every time they got in the cars, and were driving a smart race, taking care of our tires and the car," Shank continued. "I'm also proud of the effort my guys put into this weekend, and the friends and family we had down here to help out and cheer the team on-it's a shame it ended out this way, but we can hold our heads high and look forward to the next one."
The driver combination, which benefited from having Tom Knapp serve as spotter, worked well together, with Connor and Dayton adapting quickly to the Riley-Pontiac combination in their first run with the MSR squad.
"I was having a blast," said Duncan Dayton. "We had a good package, and we could mix it up with pretty much anyone out there. We were looking for more grip during the end of our runs, but I think everyone else was too, so it was just a matter of driving the car with some patience to get the best lap times. Once I stopped trying to hustle the car so much, the times just kept coming down, and I was really enjoying being out there."
"It's disappointing because we had such a good effort going, and we'd all been competitive in the car, working 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 has working for him do a really good job, and its just too bad we couldn't get them a better finish, but we gave it everything we had."
"Its not what we were hoping for as a result, but as far as things we had control over-our pit stops, car setup, and the times we were doing every lap, I think we had a good race today," said Paul Mears Jr. "Having Tom (Knapp) as our spotter was a huge help to make sure we knew what was going on ahead of us and what to expect as we worked our way through the traffic. It was great to be driving with a group of guys who get along like we do, and while we were hoping to keep running through the night, it just wasn't our day today."