Sunday, 13 May 2012
Dr. Jim Lowe, The World’s Fastest Neurosurgeon started the Grand-Am Global Barter 250 presented by Susan G. Komen for the Cure at New Jersey Motorsports Park 8th in Class and brought the # 77 Doran Racing Ford Dallara to the finish unscathed avoiding some of the craziest battles for position in both DP and GT classes during the 2 hour 45 minute race. Team Owner Kevin Doran said the strategy for today was simple. “We are going with Plan A”. Jim would run his opening 50-minute stint then turn the car over to Paul Tracy to bring it to the finish. Knowing the capabilities of the Gen-1 Ford, the Doran Racing team was not looking for a podium. The goal was to repeat their performance at Daytona: to race clean and finish without dropping a wheel off the track, no contact, no mistakes, no spins.
Change of plans.
After taking over, Paul Tracy began having issues with the cool suit which eventually failed. While temperatures on track this weekend were tolerable in comparison to last year, the mercury in a closed cockpit Prototype will still rise. “It was’t Plan A. It wasn’t even Plan C. But when Paul’s cool suit failed, Jim had to jump in with little notice and finish the race,” said Murray Marden. With 40 minutes remaining Jim experienced mechanical issues with the gear box and after one more stop, brought the Doran Ford Dallara across the finish 8th in Class.
“Above all, it was a good day of driving,” said Lowe. “Probably one of the busiest, toughest, rowdiest days of driving I’ve ever had. I saw a lot of contention on track. The DPs were banging and jamming each other the whole way. It felt good to be in the thick of things. From what they tell me I had some competitive times, posting my best time in the 19s. We gradually fell off pace with the leaders. Paul got in the car and ran great until there was a malfunction with his cool suit and overheated. I did the follow up stint to bring it home. By that time we had another mechanical problem with the gear box that forced an extra pit stop. We had our hiccups and our bumps, but I did a heck of a lot of driving. I don’t think I ever work harder to try and go faster in a race car, because when the tires went away, this thing was a beast as the track became very slippery and there was a lot of GT traffic, which was a lot of fun. I bumped and got bumped, the usual ‘welcome to grand-am’ kind and saw a lot more drivers get into trouble beyond that.”
Paul Tracy summed up his experience. “The day was bit of a mixed bag for us; we did’nt have the best overall race. We had a bunch of little problems which cost us quite a bit of laps, but Jim did a great job. He wasn’t expecting to drive twice. I had an issue with the cool suit and began to overheat so Jim jumped in the car for the second half of the race which was great, because now he knows in these types of hot conditions he can double stint the car. We knew from the onset where we were going to finish, so it was good for him to get more time in the car. It was a good confidence builder for Jim in preparation for the next race.”
“We are pleased how everyone on the Doran Racing team worked hard this weekend and the way we drove,” affirmed Jim Lowe. “And I couldn’t be more pleased to run with a guy like Paul Tracy. It’s been terrific and I learn things from Paul even when he doesn’t realize it. He’s been going to race tracks and doing it incredibly well for a long, long time. You can learn a lot just from paying attention. I’m really pleased to be working with him and looking forward to being back on the track at the Glen. The down side, he told me because I did the last stint, I’ll have to do a double stint to start the race at WG. I’m not really sure I’m ready for that. Maybe I painted myself into a corner with that one,” concluded Jim with a smile.
The next race for Dr. Jim Lowe and Paul Tracy along with Kevin Doran and Doran Racing will be Round 2 of the Grand-Am North American Endurance Championship on June 29 – July 1, 2012 for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International, New York. Tickets are available through Grand-Am and The Glen website.