Blown engine can't stop P.E.I. team from finishing Classic 24 Hour Daytona
Team wins spirit of the race award
It's a long road from Prince Edward Island to Daytona, and after that trip a racing team from the Island wasn't going to let a blown engine get in their way of competing on the classic race track.
The team from Atlantis Motor Group — a luxury car dealership in Charlottetown — sent 20 people to Florida, including family members to cheer the drivers on.
Team member Andrew Dowling said just driving the track was incredible.
"It's hard to explain the experience itself," said Dowling.
"The big draw for us, for Daytona of course, is the uniqueness of the track. The banking on this racetrack is quite incredible. If you were to stop your vehicle on the banking it's likely to slide off. You have to be going fast in order to go around this track."
A devastating setback
The goal was not just to drive the track, but to compete — to finish the grueling Classic 24 Hour. It was a goal that ran into trouble before the main event even started, during a one-hour endurance test.
"We were doing fantastic right up until the last eight minutes where we had a massive engine failure," said Dowling.
"The car was traveling at around 160 miles an hour. The engine blew. It shed oil all over the bottom of the car. The car became slippery and loose. Luckily our driver Roddy McDonald was able to keep it under control and not hit the wall."
A quick turnaround
McDonald was fine, but the team's dream was in jeopardy.
They got on their phones to track down a replacement engine, and found one at a junkyard in Jacksonville. It had 160,000 kilometres on it, risky to install for a 24-hour race, but with the only alternative being to quit the team's tech hopped in a truck to fetch it.
"It was minutes before the start of the Classic 24 that we had buttoned it off and actually made it out on track, so we didn't get to test it," said Dowling.
"We got it in and we got the job done and the car actually made the complete 24 hour classic."
For its efforts the team was given the spirit of the race award. Dowling said the team brought back memories to share for years to come.
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With files from Island Morning