Posted (01/30/2011) -
Daytona Beach, FL (January 30, 2011) - The Rolex 24 at Daytona, while historic and prestigious, is also known to be grueling and destructive to even the best of drivers and teams. Randy and his #86 Mitchum Motorsports WeatherTech Porsche GT3 team, with co-drivers Joey Atterbury, Derek Whitis and young Cooper MacNeil, found out early on that nine lives don't always cut it at Daytona. On the very first lap, Randy was hit sideways in Turn 2 and forced into a tire barrier with the right front, sending them to the garage for twenty minutes of repairs. Randy was able to continue many laps down but broke a sway bar shortly after, making the Porsche difficult to drive. He muscled through what was to be his only stint in the car.
Cooper got in to the Porsche next and continued with the broken sway bar. He was doing well until a throttle stuck, sending him off course and back to the garage. With the throttle and sway bar fixed, Joey was able to do a double stint, spinning the car at one point but with no damage. Things were looking better until Derek crashed after hitting slippery fluid and the wall. The crew fixed the car again with Derek returning to the track. Later, he went into the chicane too deep and spun the car. Unable to get the car restarted and smelling oil, he thought the engine was blown. Race over? Not this time. After being towed to the pits, the team got the flooded engine refired and the Porsche returned with Cooper at the wheel. On his second lap, Cooper went into the chicane too deep and hit the wall hard with the nose. This time the car was done once and for all.
"Our race was snake bit. I got body-slammed into the guardrail in the second corner of the first lap of the 24 Hours! Someone got into James Gue who was forced into me. Before the race, we had discussed at length whether to start at the back instead of our qualifying position of twenty-first because of the risk of getting taken out. We made the wrong choice and I got speared. It was a hard hit and I thought our race was over. The Mitchum crew did a great job resurrecting our Porsche time and time again but we used up all our nine lives. Some races just go that way."
"My one and only stint was very challenging. After our initial repairs, the front sway bar broke, making the Porsche very tail happy. It was fun but very hard work and we actually ran pretty well for awhile. I just hate watching a race that I'm supposed to be driving in. It was nice to spend time with David MacNeil and his family and friends who were there to support Cooper. I would like to thank my sister Judi, her husband Kurt and my father Gene for coming out to support me and cheer me on. On a positive note, this was a good lesson and great experience for Cooper. Oh, and Reba McEntire was in our pit stall!"
Randy's next race will be a doubleheader on the Streets of St Petersburg, March 26 and 27 with the World Challenge GT series. Randy is returning to K-PAX Racing and Volvo to defend his title, but will have a new co-driver, Alex Figge, who is taking over for Andy Pilgrim who has returned to Cadillac. Randy will also get two other new teammates as K-PAX has announced they will field two Volvo C30s in the Touring Car class. Randy will being attending several ALMS GT3 Challenge races but as a coach and mentor to Cooper MacNeil.
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