MECHANICAL FAILURE ENDS SAMAX MOTORSPORTS DAY EARLY AT DAYTONA Friday, July 6, 2007 - SAMAX Motorsports Pontiac Riley was heading towards the spotlights on Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway when Kris Szekeres spun off...
MECHANICAL FAILURE ENDS SAMAX MOTORSPORTS DAY EARLY AT DAYTONA
Friday, July 6, 2007 - SAMAX Motorsports Pontiac Riley was heading towards the spotlights on Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway when Kris Szekeres spun off the lead in the early part of the race after leading from lap 10 to 17. His off-track excursion took him out of contention when he returned to the track in 17th place. Szekeres managed to avoid stalling the car and continued until he pitted for a driver change. However, the car would not engage in gear when teammate Patrick Carpentier took over on lap 37 trying to leave the pits. The SAMAX Pontiac Riley was then pulled behind the wall with a clutch problem that destroyed the transmission.
"I overheated the tires and spun in the Bus Stop," said Szekeres after he retired from the race. "I tried to save the car, but lost it. I felt there was a gear problem when it fired back and I was able to continue for 20 more laps, but I guess there must have been some gear damages or clutch problems. I was so happy to lead the race and then all of the sudden I was so disappointed when the incident occurred. It just became a bad trip. I handed the car back to Patrick (Carpentier) but he could not leave the pits. The team retired the car behind the pit wall."
Patrick Carpentier was unable to complete a race lap, as the car would not engage in gear. Szekeres did a great job qualifying the car in sixth place in Friday's only qualifying session. "You never know how a race will end," said Patrick Carpentier. ¨Kris was leading and I said to myself this is great and when he comes in, we will be in a great position to challenge for the win. When he spun, I felt disappointed for him and I because he was doing such a great job. When he returned on track, I said to myself, all is not lost and I am going to get back to the front because race engineer Steve Challis was back and produced such a great car. However, after the driver change, the car would not move forward. The clutch was simply not responding. It is such a shame. Our race strategy was the best, but we could not capitalize on it."
The Gainsco team of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty led from the pole to win their third back-to-back race and their fourth victory of the 2007 season, crossing the finish line seven seconds ahead of the Sun Trust Racing car of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli. Third place went to Colin Braun and Max Papis.
Round nine of the 2007 14-race Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule will be held at Iowa Speedway, in Newton, Iowa Saturday July 14, 2007.