LUCK OBSCURES SKILL -- LYNX DRIVERS SPEND 24 HOURS ON A TIGHTROPE Fast Facts: Lynx Racing Drivers in The Rolex 24 at Daytona, Feb. 5-6 - Lynx Racing driver Mike Conte and Lynx Racing graduate Memo Gidley, a rising star in the CART Fed Ex ...
LUCK OBSCURES SKILL -- LYNX DRIVERS SPEND 24 HOURS ON A TIGHTROPE
Fast Facts: Lynx Racing Drivers in The Rolex 24 at Daytona, Feb. 5-6
- Lynx Racing driver Mike Conte and Lynx Racing graduate Memo Gidley, a rising star in the CART Fed Ex series, experienced the "Luck Obscures Skill" side of endurance racing at Daytona last weekend - After qualifying fourth in the Sports Racer class, the Gidley and the Johanssen/Matthews Racing team came in 4th in class and 23rd overall after an early incident and transmission problems with the #36 Reynard/Judd - After qualifying second and running in the lead, Conte and the Cranium /Alex Job Racing team came in 5th in GTU and 16th overall after an engine problem while leading at the 22nd hour - Lynx Racing is the only championship winning racing team / driver development program in motorsports today owned by women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty. Lynx graduates include CART Fed Ex drivers Memo Gidley, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron. _______________________
For current Lynx Racing driver Mike Conte and Lynx graduate Memo Gidley, the 38th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona was an example of the "Luck Obscuring Skill" side of endurance racing. Gidley and the Johanssen/Matthews team started the race is a most promising fashion when co-driver Stefan Johanssen qualified the car in fourth. However, problems struck early as, again with Johanssen driving at lap 50, the car ran over a piece of debris on the banking and damaged both the bodywork and left front suspension. Repairs took 25 minutes, and the team re-joined the battle in 72nd place at the three-hour mark. By midnight, they were 30th overall and 4th in class when a pair of gearbox failures, each of which took six minutes to repair, blunted their charge. The team did run the second fastest lap of the race in the middle of the night, and ultimately finished 4th in class and 23rd overall. "It was a tremendous learning experience for me," said Gidley. "We were driving flat-out just about all of the time and the car was literally screaming. I think it was just about the fastest car out there, but it just needs a little more time for testing and development. I'm very happy that the team chose me to co-drive, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with them in the future." Mike Conte and the Cranium/Alex Job Racing team also started the race on a high note, with Randy Pobst qualifying the team's water-cooled Porsche GT3R second in the GTU class just a few 10ths behind the Porsche factory team. Skill told the tale for the next 22 hours as the team ran at the front early in the race, in the top three for most of the night and took the GTU lead (and 6th overall) early in the morning. The effort was not without drama as the team experienced failures of three different pumps -- fuel pump first, water pump second and oil pump third. It was this final failure, in the 22nd hour with a 17-lap lead over the second-place car that derailed an effort that looked like a sure bet for a champagne shower in victory lane. "We never got it running right after that and the best we could salvage was a fifth-place finish, 16th overall," said Conte. "So I've finished 5th twice, 6th once, and 2nd once, but I think this year was the best and the worst. We had the pace of anyone in the field -- a little better, in fact -- and the AJR crew did a great job during the race. All the drivers drove well, and we didn't put a mark on the car, even with traffic as bad as I have ever seen it. Personally, I am pleased that I improved the car's position every time I got in it. I'd happily co-drive with Bruno and Randy again, and, in fact, I will at Sebring, coming up in March! And we'll be back at Daytona in 2001." Lynx Racing is owned by Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty and in 2000 celebrates its 10th anniversary as both a uniquely successful driver development program and the only championship-winning racing team in motorsports today owned by women. The team's mission is to seek out young drivers with championship potential and provide them with the training, resources and opportunity to realize that potential and make the jump to auto racing's 'major leagues.' Lynx alumni include CART FedEx drivers Memo Gidley, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron. Current Lynx drivers include David Rutledge and Mike Conte (competing in the CART Toyota Atlantic series) and Sara Senske (competing in the Barber Dodge Pro Series).