All hopes of a second consecutive victory for Spirit of Daytona Racing were dashed as late-race calamities dropped them down to ninth places in the Diamond Cellar Classic at Mid-Ohio.
Ricky Taylor and Richard Westbrook managed to lead a total of 60 out of the 104 laps but a late race battle with Joao Barbosa seemed to take its toll on both man and machine, with Westbrook seeming to suffer from within the cockpit, losing the lead and dropping well out of contention for the win.
“We haven’t seen the car yet to see if we broke something,” said team owner Troy Flis. “About 10 laps into Richard’s second stint he was just whooped and he said that when Joao put pressure on him, he just wasn’t himself anymore. We tried to get him to calm down and just let Joao go, but racers are racers and we had a little touch there. But no fault to the No. 5 car. Kudos to them they had a great race today. It could have been a great day for us in the points today, but we’ll see if there is something in the temperature of the cockpit or a/c or what it was.”
“It just shows how hard it is to win one of these races,” said Taylor, who now, along with Westbrook, heads to France to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “We had a top two car all day long. We had good track position, and the team made a great call to not take tires on that last stop. It was worth the risk, it is so hard to win these. But we showed we will be a tough team to beat the rest of the year. So, on to Watkins Glen and I think we’ll have a really good run there.”