Spirit of Daytona GTO Places 14th at the Mazda Raceway Craig Conway and Marc-Antoine Camirand powered the Spirit of Daytona No. 9 Daytona Mitsubishi/ Diamond Suzuki/ Crane Cams/ CORSA Exhaust sponsored GTO to a 14th place finish in the Grand Am...
Spirit of Daytona GTO Places 14th at the Mazda Raceway
Craig Conway and Marc-Antoine Camirand powered the Spirit of Daytona No. 9 Daytona Mitsubishi/ Diamond Suzuki/ Crane Cams/ CORSA Exhaust sponsored GTO to a 14th place finish in the Grand Am Cup race at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The race had its share of caution laps, but there was enough green flag competition to have an exciting on track battle.
Conway started the No. 9 GTO 30th on the grid and after the first 20 minutes of the race, had already caught up to half of the GS field. With Conway passing cars left and right, co-driver Marc-Antoine Camirand was chomping at the bit waiting to get on track. Conway stayed up on the wheel and was turning the same lap times as the leaders. After an hour into the race, Conway was running 8th overall. The GTO was performing wonderfully and Conway was racing in the zone.
After the fourth yellow flag Conway tried to come in for a driver change but the pit was closed due to a crash at pit-in. At that moment Conway was running 4th overall. The sporadic yellow flags were one of the biggest obstacles holding back the No.9 machine from going higher up on the grid. With every race restart the No. 9 GTO had a great jump on the track passing cars.
"That was good fun," said Conway as he got out of the 4th place running GTO. "I just kept on passing cars. When I get into a race it just comes naturally. When I am in, I am gone." Camirand got into the GTO at the halfway point and had one hour and 15 minutes left to get the car back in front running position.
As Camirand started his GTO battle, he crept up on GS cars and started passing during one of the longest green flag periods during the race. Camirand enjoyed passing his competitors on turn 11, and racing for position on the front straightaway. During the last 15 minutes of the race Camirand had to pit on lap 62 and get a splash of fuel due to a fuel stumble caused by an unknown mechanical mishap. After the fast pit stop, Camirand was unable to get back his top-10 position and went back out on track in 23rd . With the remaining minutes in the race, he managed to jump half the field and finished, 14th overall just missing a top-10. "We had a top-5 car today. If we didn't have that fuel stumble I am positive we could have finished higher up," said Todd Flis, GTO crew-chief.
"We started having another fuel stumble with three laps left in the race. The car was doing really good. At the end of the race, I had committed to passing one of the GS cars, and he chopped me right off, it ended up doing some minor damage to the GTO. But at least we finished in one piece," said Camirand. The No. 9 GTO showed that it is a front running car and will race for the position it deserves at the next race in Phoenix.