Tremblant tough on Michael Shank Racing (Mont-Tremlant, Canada)- May 21 -- Michael Shank Racing had been hoping to keep its streak of top-five finishes for the Mears Motor Coach Pontiac-Riley alive, but instead it was a tough day at the track...
Tremblant tough on Michael Shank Racing
(Mont-Tremlant, Canada)- May 21 -- Michael Shank Racing had been hoping to keep its streak of top-five finishes for the Mears Motor Coach Pontiac-Riley alive, but instead it was a tough day at the track as the team came home thirteenth in class in the 'Six Heuers du Circuit Mont-Tremblant.'
Mike Borkowski started the race from twelfth on the grid as a steady rain fell on the track, and the conditions began to give the team problems from the very start.
"It can be difficult to race in the rain and visibility is always an issue, but this was really bad," said Borkowski, who won this race in 2003. "The windshield was fogged up right from the start, and it just got worse because so many people were going off track and throwing up dirt that you just couldn't see a thing out there."
It did indeed get worse, as an intermittent electronics problem was giving the drivers fits, cutting engine power at the wrong times and causing a pair of spins, sending the #6 car down four laps from the leader early in the race.
Borkowski turned the car over to Duncan Dayton, who had his own set of issues to work against when the windshield wipers also began to have problems, refusing to work for several laps and then getting stuck in position, eroding almost all visibility out of the closed-cockpit Daytona Prototype.
"I think the side window was the only one I could see out of!" joked Dayton, who has his own history of racing success on the 2.65-mile track. "That was actually kind of helpful because I had to slow down so much with the electronics problem that I had to keep a good eye on the traffic coming up on us, so at least I could see the mirrors a little bit."
The Ohio-based team is not known for giving up, though, and the team worked to get the visibility issue taken care of and work their way back towards the front after running as far down the order as 32nd. Canadian Kenny Wilden, who first raced at the Mont-Tremblant track in 1988, took his turn at the helm as the team began to chip away at the gap to the front.
Wilden, Dayton and Borkowski all took turns in the cockpit during the six hour enduro as they combined to make up an incredible two laps to the leader, moving up from 32nd to monopolize eleventh position for the last two hours of the race-almost. The electronics problem returned, sending the #6 off-track for the final time and packing the radiators with dirt and grass, causing severe overheating for the stout Pontiac motor and forcing the team to call it a day just ten minutes shy of the checkered flag.
"Nothing went our way today," said a disappointed Mike Shank. "Hopefully we used up all of our bad luck for the season, because it came in waves for us today. All the guys in the car drove really well, particularly for the conditions we had to deal with, and the guys did their part in the pits as well, because making up two full laps on a track that is this long is really incredible. It would have been nice to make it to the finish because we lost a lot of spots right at the end, but it just wasn't our day today."
The tough race weekend like this could knock lesser teams from their stride, but Shank knows his drivers and crew will be ready for the next one.
"A day like this shows too how competitive you have to be to do well here in the Rolex series," said Shank. "To get a podium or a top-five like we have in the last two races, you have to do everything you can as far as preparing the car and get the most out of your drivers, and then just get a little bit of luck. Today, we were only two for three, and really came up short in the luck category. We'll pack up and get back to the shop and begin to get ready for the Glen. We were on the podium the last time we raced there, and know we have what we need to do it again."