ORANGE COUNTY, CA. — (National Distribution) August 8th, 2008.
O’Connell Racing (OConnellRacing.com), a southern California based Grand-Am Rolex Series and NASCAR road racing team announced the closure of a disappointing weekend for the team. Intending to run both scheduled races with the Rolex Series on Friday and the NASCAR Nationwide series on Saturday it was apparent early that this weekend would be full of challenges. In practice for the Rolex Series on Thursday driver Kevin Roush ran the car for several laps and routinely brought the car in declaring that he could hear a rattle coming from the rear of the car. After further review and after running in the top ten in practice in the GT class team engineers Kerry Caldwell and Steve Parker determined that the car was suffering from an internal engine failure. The team proceeded to come up with strategies for making the race which included trying to purchase specific motor parts in the Montreal area which ended without success to purchasing a new engine from two of the large factory backed teams present in Montreal. One of the Porsche teams was unable to present a motor that would pass 2008 specifications with Rolex Series officials and efforts by team principals to purchase a motor from a competing team was crushed when the price of the used motor increased to laughable heights. Kevin O’Connell commented, “I think we really had a good car for Montreal and I wish we could have proved it. We have had a lot of luck in the past and this weekend we gave a bunch of it back. We will have more spares in the future and we’ll avoid having to negotiate with certain individuals in a pinch”
Leading up to the NASCAR Nationwide series race on Saturday O’Connell complained that the transmission seemed to be slipping out of 3rd gear. In two of the practices the Mid Valley transmission stuck in third and fourth gear respectively causing the team to end practice early. Montgomery and O’Brien decided not to risk and additional time and installed a new Mid Valley transmission for the existing practices. After no other problems for the balance to the practice session and running in the middle of the field comfortably the team was ready for qualify the car. On the first out lap on the front stretch after taking the green flag the transmission once again jammed in third gear and ended the team’s efforts for qualifying for the race and consequently, in an unprecedented manner ended the weekend. Roy Montgomery commented, “We are very disappointed with this problem with these Mid Valley gearboxes and I understand that we were not the only team with gearbox problems. We prepared a very fast car for Montreal and would have even had the right equipment to run in the rain if necessary which the series ended up doing.”
The team heads to New Jersey Motorsports Park for the Rolex Series race at the end of August followed by Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City Utah for the season finale for Grand Am in mid September.