Aasco Motorsports Strong Laguna Performance Cut Short MONTEREY, Calif., May 3, 2005 -- Aasco Motorsports entered Sunday's Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a mission to take their second top-five finish in as many races.
Aasco Motorsports Strong Laguna Performance Cut Short
MONTEREY, Calif., May 3, 2005 -- Aasco Motorsports entered Sunday's Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a mission to take their second top-five finish in as many races. Despite starting 14th in the GT class of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series' largest, 'sprint' race starting field, the task seemed well in hand until an incident entering turn-one would end the team's day 26th in class. Pat Flanagan (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) qualified the No. 26 New Century Mortgage Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and started the two hour, 45-minute race on the popular 11-turn road course. Flanagan immediately began his march through the field despite struggling with a car not handling as well as it had when it set the third fastest time in Saturday practice.
Team owner Dennis Aase made the call to put young Porsche factory hot shoe Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) into the green, white and gold Porsche for the closing portions of the race. Long immediately took-up where Flanagan left off cutting through the field like a knife. However, as was expected prior to the start, traffic played an intricate role in how the Aasco team's day would end.
Starting lap 75, Long crested the hill before turn-one taking his normal racing line. However, the next few moments would prove anything but normal as he made contact with a Daytona Prototype (DP) and had a violent spin into the inside retaining wall just past the pit lane. The DP hit Long's left rear quarter-panel sending the Porsche head-on into the wall narrowly missing a number of GT and DP cars that were grouped together around Long at the time of the incident. The 26 then bounced back onto the track before the rear of the Porsche made hard contact with the wall. Long was sent to the hospital as a precaution but was unhurt thanks to the inherent safety of the German sports car.
The New Century Porsche is scheduled to appear in its third of six races in 2005 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) on June 30th. The Brumos Porsche 250, which will enjoy live SPEED television coverage, will race on the track's infield road course in support of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series' Firecracker 400.
Pat Flanagan: "It was an ugly ending to a day that was shaping up to be pretty good. I started the race and was fighting an ill-handling car, so my goal was to stay on the lead lap, stay out of trouble and let Patrick do his thing. We were all watching Patrick make one of the most impressive charges through the field that anyone could remember and he gets taken out by a prototype. It was really a shame because the crew worked their tails off all weekend to give us a shot. I am sure there are lots of opinions about who did what to whom, but that accident didn't need to happen. We have a pretty good break in our schedule now, so Dennis and the Aasco team will try and put us back together to go to Daytona next month."
Patrick Long: ""The biggest heartbreak of Laguna was that I really wanted to complete the charge that we setout to accomplish; to come from quite far back to another top-five. The car damage and the incident was the salt in the wound. Looking back at the accident, I don't have any fingers to point. It was a misunderstanding. I take as much responsibility as he does. It's just disappointing."
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