Strong Trois Rivieres Weekend Ends Early for Canney and Plumb (16 August, 2008)--A promising street-course debut for Mike Canney ended early when motor problems forced the No. 60 Sunset Hills Vineyard Ford Mustang FR500C prepared by Rehagan ...
Strong Trois Rivieres Weekend Ends Early for Canney and Plumb
(16 August, 2008)--A promising street-course debut for Mike Canney ended early when motor problems forced the No. 60 Sunset Hills Vineyard Ford Mustang FR500C prepared by Rehagan Racing to retire from the Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres after running in top ten late in the race.
Canney and co-driver Hugh Plumb had been enjoying a strong run with the Ford Mustang and were hoping to bolster their position in the Grand-Am KONI Challenge GS Class points standings, but the retirement saw the duo slotted into 18th at the end of the event.
The outcome was disappointing for the two, who had scored a podium together the last time that KONI Challenge competed in Canada and were hoping for a similar result this weekend.
Despite the fact that Canney had never run on a concrete-lined temporary street circuit, things got off to a promising start as he pushed himself and the Ford Mustang FR500C to the limit, taking two seconds off of his lap times between practice and in qualifying, and then matching that pace again once the race got started.
"I've never made that much improvement between practice and qualifying, so I was very pleased with the preparation we did for the qualifying, watching in-car video and receiving advice from Hugh," said Canney, who started the race from the eighth row. "I was also pleased that I was able to consistently match my qualifying times in the race and still save the brakes for Hugh. The team did a great job preparing the car for this track."
Plumb took the controls midway through the race and was making progress through the field on the hunt for a return to the Trois Rivieres podium when a cooling hose burst, depleted the car of essential fluids, sending Plumb to the pits.
"The temperature just spiked so I brought it right in and even though the guys worked quickly to get some water back in, we knew it had gotten hot and thought it was better to not risk doing any more damage, so we just parked it at that point," said Plumb. "It's a big hit to the points, but Mike made a big step forward during the weekend and he keeps raising the bar for himself so we are looking forward to being strong in New Jersey."
Even after reviewing the disappointing box score tally, Canney couldn't hide his enthusiasm for his first experiences racing at Trois Rivieres.
"I think it is easily one of the top-five venues I've ever been to," said Canney. "The crowds enthusiasm was fantastic, and it was great to race where everyone was so interested in what we were doing. Initially, I didn't think I'd care for running with all that concrete around, but I ended up grinning ear to ear while driving the car. It was a blast! Even though race outcome was not at all what we wanted, it was still one of the best weekends we've had. It's unfortunate for our championship points, but this is our first year together as a team, and we consistently get faster ever time we time we put a wheel on the track, so we'll take that and move on to our next race in New Jersey."
The KONI Challenge will race in two weeks time as the series plays part of the inaugural pro event at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ.