SCC: Daytona III: Villaconn Motorsport finale notes

Villaconn helps bring Manufacturers Crown to BMW. "We'll, we didn't do it after all" explained Matt Connolly following the Grand Am Cup 6-Hour Finale at Daytona. "Even if our pit stop was perfect and all the wheels stayed on, I still don't think...

Villaconn helps bring Manufacturers Crown to BMW.

"We'll, we didn't do it after all" explained Matt Connolly following the Grand Am Cup 6-Hour Finale at Daytona. "Even if our pit stop was perfect and all the wheels stayed on, I still don't think we could have beaten the #00 Acura RSX." Connolly was referring to the fatal pit stop that resulted in the wheels coming off the driver's and team championship bid for the #34 BMW Z3 Coupe of Ken Dobson, Beau Buisson and Don Salama - literally.

It was an unfortunate end to a season of hard drives and podium finishes by the Villaconn Team. The #34 Z3 Coupe would finish the 600-mile race in 19th spot after qualifying 9th in class some three seconds down to the pole-sitting Acura RSX of sports car veteran Pete Halsmer. The Villaconn Team seemed to struggle with power and handling all weekend long. The #36 Z3 of Matt Connolly, Gregory White and Neal Heffron would fare better at the finish with a solid 6th place - enough to help BMW capture the 2002 Grand Am Cup Manufacturers Championship.

"The BMW was running good but it was very hard to put the power down in the corners" offered team driver Neal Heffron. "Daytona being a power track did not reward the Z3 for its handling prowess. We planned to run a steady race and we did. The team did a great job prepping the #36 Z3 and it ran flawlessly through the 6 hours."

Connolly added that "for me personally, I had one of the best races of my career and by that I mean to say, most enjoyable." The team veteran ran two stints and enjoyed close wheel-to-wheel racing almost the entire time. He described the action as a "high speed ballet" with positions being swapped 3 or 4 times per lap. "On many levels it was as fun and enjoyable as it gets without winning," summarized Connolly.

Without a doubt, it would have been justice to see the team claim the Grand Am Cup Driver's and Team Championship titles. Everyone from Villaconn Motorsports worked hard all season and ran at the front right from the beginning. With 20 Sport Touring contenders in a field of 62 runners, everyone knew the competition would be tough. Nothing can be taken for granted.

Villaconn Motorsport would like to thank everyone involved in helping to bring the 2002 Grand Am Cup Sport Touring I Manufacturers Title to BMW. Since its inception, Villaconn Motorsports has enjoyed support from many suppliers, sponsors and fans as well as team members and their families.

-vm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Pete Halsmer , Ken Dobson , Beau Buisson , Don Salama , Matt Connolly , Neal Heffron