ASC Motorsports experienced both the highs and lows of professional sportscar racing at the 250 mile Rolex Grand American Miami Grand Prix in Homestead, Florida. In the practice sessions leading up to the race, owner-driver Zach Arnold of...
ASC Motorsports experienced both the highs and lows of professional sportscar racing at the 250 mile Rolex Grand American Miami Grand Prix in Homestead, Florida.
In the practice sessions leading up to the race, owner-driver Zach Arnold of Tiffin, Ohio evaluated the performance of the team's Corvette C5R and provided valuable feedback to the crew, while new co-driver Jason Workman from Flowery Branch, Georgia got familiar with the race car and quickly got up to speed.
The crew worked tirelessly throughout the weekend getting the team's Corvette ready for its second race. They pored over every inch of the race car before and after every practice session, using every available minute of garage time in the effort to improve the car's performance and to prevent any detectable equipment failure.
The team overcame a variety of challenges ranging from wet weather in two of the practice sessions, to schedule changes that shortened the time between practice and qualifying by 3 hours, to a nagging fuel flow problem that was resolved between final practice and the start of the race.
Workman got the first driving stint, starting the race near the back of the field due to a mechanical problem in the 15-minute qualifying session. The crew's intense efforts showed almost immediately when Workman's first comments on the radio were that the car was fast and it was handling perfectly.
By lap 34, the combination of a good race car and a strategic pit stop with a flawless refueling at the end of a lenghty caution period allowed Workman to move the #55 Corvette well up in the 47 car field.
As Arnold suited up to take over the cockpit and the crew prepared for the upcoming pit stop, the dreaded call came over the radio on lap 35 that the engine had blown.
With the car running better than ever, new pit strategies being employed successfully, and the crew working well together, the engine failure was a bitter disappointment to everyone from drivers to crew to the growing number of fans.
In a post-race team meeting, chief mechanic Nick Silardi told the crew, "We're all disappointed, but you all did a great job. The car was ready, it was good, and we had our best pit stop yet. Now we'll put this behind us and move on."
Workman echoed the sentiment, telling the team, "The car was fast. You took care of everything that could be foreseen, and you had the fuel problem we found in practice fixed perfectly. The car was awesome!"
Arnold, who had just gotten ready to take over the car on the next pit stop, also thanked the crew for their efforts throughout the weekend and for their dedication and determination. Arnold told the team, "You've used your spare time at home and given up your weekends to be at the track to help this team, and we appreciate it. You've done a great job."
Crew chief Marcus Haselgrove also told the crew they had improved greatly since the first start at the 24 hours of Daytona in early February. Haselgrove noted that the crew was getting better not only between races, but remarkably between practice sessions.
Despite the engine failure and 44th place in the final standings, ASC Motorsports continued to show improvement in every phase of its development as a team.
The next event in the Rolex Grand American series is the Grand American 400 at California Speedway in Fontana, California April 1-3.