IMSA • June 14, 2016
Denver, NC (13 June 2016)--The No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP, piloted by Dane Cameron and Eric Curran, experienced a setback last weekend in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle, a race that the team won last year.
Only 13 minutes into the 100-minute race, Curran was collected by another car as it wrecked, bringing out a full-course caution.
"The #90 got into the wall, and I just had nowhere to go, when the #90 car bounced off the wall it spun around sideways in the middle of the track directly in my path," says Curran of the incident.
"We won here last year and really wanted to duplicate that again. We know we had a shot at it. It's kind of disappointing, but it is what it is."
The No. 31 machine was heavily damaged, and its ability to return to the street circuit was highly questioned. However, a mere 17 laps later, the repaired Corvette DP was back on the track looking none the worse for the wear.
"We got the car fixed," says Curran, "because all of the Action Express guys worked like crazy to get it fixed and get back in the race even though we were many laps down."
With the repairs complete Eric jumped out and did a driver swap which put Dane Cameron behind the wheel. The Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP was back, resuming its place as the dominant car on the track and reminding the viewers why it was the fastest in both practices on the previous day.
"It's a tough situation because we started the event with a three-point lead, which is not much," explains Curran. "With such a tight points race, every point counts.
"Dane [Cameron] was out there putting laps in. We just had to keep moving forward; it's just unfortunate after we had such a fast car. We were P1 or P2 in every practice session. It's just disappointing, but it's racing."
Despite the setback, Cameron piloted the racecar with incredible speed, beginning to turn some of the fastest laps of the race immediately after returning to the racing surface. In fact, it was Cameron and the repaired No. 31 machine that set the fastest lap of the day, faster than the eventual race winner.
Cameron was especially impressed by the crew's performance. "The guys on the Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP did a really amazing job of getting it fixed up that quickly. They replaced the entire nose and left front suspension on pit lane, which is no small feat.
"They did a phenomenal job of getting it fixed, and when I got back out it was as good as new. I've never had a car before that's been fixed on pit lane and had everything so smooth, so that was just hugely impressive. Action Express always prepares fast racecars. What sets our guys apart from the rest is our ability to also have a solid disaster plan. All of the spare parts they installed fit perfectly. The damage was severe enough that it would have sent most teams home, yet our guys had everything ready to not only get us back on the track quickly, but we were also as fast as we were before the crash.
"I'm very proud of the effort and job they did on pit lane. It's tough to do that kind of thing there--everything's hot, bent and broken, but they did a great job for us."
The Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP ultimately rallied for a sixth-place finish. In addition to Cameron's and Curran's performance, Chevrolet also placed first and second in the race, extending their undefeated streak in Motor City.
As for the No. 31 machine, Curran says, "Our Action Express Chevrolet was the fastest car on the track."
Looking forward to Watkins Glen, Cameron and Curran have already tested on the track's newly repaved surface, and Cameron is very optimistic. "Our test there went really nicely, and I think it's going to be a great race for us. Our plan is to do what we always do, push for race wins."
The Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen will be at Watkins Glen International in New York on Sunday, July 30.
Copyright Whelen Engineering Co, Inc 2017