IMSA • August 22, 2014
After a disappointing weekend of racing in Canada, the team was stacked against all odds to rebuild their #31 Whelen / Team Fox Corvette DP for a second time in only it’s 3rd outing. With a severe crash the team began rebuilding the minute it was returned from IMSA’s post crash inspection in Canada. After 5 full days and nights the team loaded the car in the trailer and it was off to one of the most famous tracks in the world, Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Thursday July 24 10:45 AM - All the hard work by the Marsh Racing Team pays off, the car sets out for it’s first practice after being completely rebuilt in just 5 days. Oh, and it was fast. For the first time all year the car and team was running a pace in sight of the top 5, a major accomplishment for a first year team running amongst teams like Ganassi Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing and Spirit of Daytona, teams that have been running Prototype cars for years.
With the healing Boris Said sidelined, Burt Frisselle from Aspen CO, joined the team and quickly made a great impression. His normal driving duties see him piloting the always fast #9 Action Express Corvette Daytona Prototype. Lucky for Whelen Motorsports the #9 Car, sister car to the championship leading #5 Action car, is only running the 4 race Patron Endurance Championship within the Tudor United SportsCar Series. (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Petit le Mans) With short notice, Burt quickly booked a flight and was ready to help the team in Indianapolis. Burt has also made him self available and will race with the team at Road America.
Green Flag - At 5:45 PM the flag flew and the Brickyard Grand Prix was on. Into turn 1 clean, then theres contact with the #5 and #42, the #90 checks up, "contact, we had contact." Silence in the pits, the marsh racing boys left speechless again. A few mins later a glimmer of hope, "car seems ok." Burt put his head down and was on a charge, passing some of the best cars in the class and moving quickly towards the front. "Engine Temp 240" the roller coaster of emotion hits the team again, and it’s into the pits. The team quickly gets to work trying to tape and repair the front nose. The contact had weakened the front nose, and at full speed it would cause the nose to collapse and block the air into the radiator inlet, which is needed to cool the engine. With a lengthy pit stop, and a few rolls of tape Burt was sent back on track. Unfortunately the nose damage was so severe, the tape proved not to be enough. The engine temp rose again past it’s limits and the damage was done. Back to the trailer.
Continental Tire Road Race Showcase
August 8 - 10, 2014
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin - After a string of disappointing finishes at Mosport and Indy the Marsh Racing team was starting to hit a new low. The boys have been working extremely hard to prepare for each race with dismal results. Post indianapolis was filled with more crash damage and late nights.
Arriving at Wisconsin’s famous Road America track, the boys dug deep and were ready to go despite the tough season thus far. Road America always brings a little extra spark for the boys as they have had great success there in the past with a Rolex GT win in 2012. It’s also one of the teams favorite hotel stops, it might seem like a minor thing, but with the amount of travel a professional team in the IMSA series does, being at your favorite hotel is a great moral booster. And luckily only minor bruises were sustained in the full contact full swing mini golf tournament held on the hotel grounds early in the weekend.
"Its always fun to race at Road America and especially in a Prototype for the first time. Ive been racing there for 12 years in Touring cars and GT cars but never a Prototype. And its fast! very fast!" - Eric Curran
Friday morning the team arrives for morning tech inspection and final prep leading into the first on track practice. The car is quick right out of the box. Saturday morning they are back with some minor changes and continue to run in sight of the top teams in the series. Burt Frisselle filling in for Boris, jumps in for qualifying at 5:25 pm and puts the #31 Whelen Motorsports / Team Fox Corvette DP in the top 10. After a shuffling of cars from post inspection it is determined we would start 8th for Sundays race.
Race Day, with a quick warm up in the morning the team is set and ready to go for the afternoon race. Green flag at 1:15, Eric takes to the field with confidence and quickly moves from 8th to 5th. Efficiently running consistent laps and keeping the car out of trouble Eric brought the car in for it’s first pit stop. Full stop, tires, fuel, driver change, back on track. Back for his second race with the team Burt Frisselle took over driving duties to finish the second half of the race. Burt ran a strong 2nd stint and coming to a caution with just over an hour remaining in the race, the team was ready to make some decisions, pit now, and need a splash and go, or wait towards the end of the caution and eliminate the splash but lose track position. Ultimately the team made the later stop and with a quick pit stop the car was set to run to the checker.
The strategy worked, and the team was left in great track position to have a good finish. Running in 4th for much of the last stint, Burt drove exceptional and held off some of the best in the business, a late pass by our sister car, Spirit of Daytona, the team would take the checker flag in 5th position. It felt like a win, after weeks of disappointing finishes the team jumped with joy at a top 5 finish. Progress has been made and the podium is starting to look like a reality in the coming weeks.
"Its been a learning year for our Whelen program but each weekend we keep getting better and the Marsh Racing boys are working like crazy to get our Corvette up to speed.
But our #31 Corvette is working better than ever and getting more and more comfortable to drive, and it was so much fun to drive at Road America!
The fast carousel and the super fast kink! What a blast!" - ERIC CURRAN
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