ORANGE COUNTY, CA., (February 1, 2011) – O’Connell Racing announced today the that team in combination with the efforts of Rick Ware Racing came from a back of the grid starting position in the GT class to finish the race in 11th position.
Crew chief Roy Montgomery, team engineers Robby Leuer and Jake Perkio were on hand with former OCR Grand Am driver Kevin Roush and mechanics Kerry Caldwell and Steve Parker to guide a team of five drivers of various backgrounds and accomplishments to an impressive finish.
Team principal Kevin O’Connell commented, “You could not have asked for a better weekend in terms of weather, so all of the plans for rain were not used. The drivers did a good job of saving the car after the first three hours when we lost second gear. Being forced to skip through second gear in the infield and go right to third gear required a change in everyone’s driving style but it did not hurt the times too bad. The team ran the entire race with that problem until about 40 minutes to go and were knocking on the door for a top ten when the alternator bearing seized up, and subsequently melted and caught the alternator belt on fire. Fortunately, Jeffrey Earnhardt was just exiting the chicane on the back stretch and was able to get down pit lane and the guys put the fire out. The team took the car behind pit lane and was able to get the car repaired quickly and back on the track without losing a position to the next team right behind us that was about 12 laps down. As expected, there was no shortage of drama and the overall team with a blending of NASCAR and Grand-Am drivers and crew and really worked well together. Rick is a pro when it comes to racing and he proved it with this finish.”