Extreme Speed Motorsports Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel suffered a disappointing Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, with contact, electrical and mechanical issues halting the #1 Acura HPD ARX 03B.
ESM’s race started with team co-owner Sharp at the wheel of the #1 from fifth on the grid, although after a first lap shuffle had dropped down to seventh, with the American then going on to start what was meant to be a solid and consistent opening stint.
However, after just an hour, problems started to start after Sharp pitted for fuel on lap 26, breaking the pit lane speed limit in the process, earning him a drive through penalty. With Sharp then taking the penalty three laps later on lap 29, he re-joined in the midst of traffic in the form of a battling GTD class.
This then lead to contact, with the #1 getting hit on the left rear by an over aggressive GTD car, forcing him to pit on lap 34, with the team replacing a broken rear brake duct, dropping the car down a lap and in to 10th place.
By the end of lap 60 Sharp had managed to work his way back up to P6, with the first Full Course Caution of the race halting his charge. Two laps later and Sharp pitted, with Dalziel taking over the HPD.
When green flag running resumed again Dalziel had moved his way up to fifth place by the end of lap 75, hoping that a FCC would come out to allow him to catch up to the top four. That, however, didn’t come, with Dalziel pitting for a scheduled stop and driver change.
Sharp then returned to the cockpit on lap 93, although the teams pit stop took longer than they liked as they had to change tyres after every stop due to a possible domino effect caused by the early crash.
Sharp’s final stint carried on until lap 148, with the 46-year-old handing back over to Dalziel for the final time after a quite stint. However, another pit lane speeding violation was soon picked up dropping them down to sixth, with Dalziel then having to pit due to a mechanical issue.
This lead to a gearbox change, costing them 38 minutes, with Dalziel eventually finishing the race in 10th place.
“This was definitely not the race we expected here at Watkins Glen today,” said Sharp. “There was a little bit of shuffling around at the beginning but that’s to be expected. We were running well and improving lap times and that GTD car hit me. The team did a great job fixing what we were able to fix, but unfortunately to suffer damage that early and where we were hit, it hurt us for the rest of the race.
“Having to change tires was not part of strategy at every stop. It wasn’t just the fact we had to change tires; we lost the whole brake duct for the left rear. The left rear brake was getting hot, heating up the tire, heating up the rim and we were really hard on the left rear tire when that tire should have been good for at least two or three stints on our car. A lot of our strategy went out the window at that point. We lost a lot of performance on the back left side of the car and we really struggled in the fast corners turning right. We might have had a little too much toe-in, which created drag on the tire in a straight line and without that brake duct, everything was heating up. It was one of those things that lead to another and it snowballs.
“It is a shame that both cars had issues today because this was a race where we thought we could challenge for the win. It was a great effort by the entire ESM/Tequila Patrón team. Both crews had cars to repair and get us back on track. We did everything we could to compete here, but it just wasn’t our day.”