Lassally and Conway Achieve a Solid and Positive Finish At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, January 30, 2011: Toto Lassally and Craig Conway rounded up a positive race Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. The pairing of experienced racers from the Daytona Beach, Fla. area piloted the No. 39 Automatic Racing BMW M3 to a safe and trouble-free finish. A grid of over 70 cars started the opening round of the Continental Tire Challenge, the GRAND-AM 200. Their pink and black BMW began the challenging race in 28th position and came away with a solid 22nd place GS class finish in a race marked by attrition and a very aggressive environment due to heavy traffic from the ST class entries.
“It was a lot of fun,” Lassally said. “It’s like going to a new track because of the new pavement on the circuit. But that was exactly what we were here for, a flat out fun racing day."
The No. 39 BMW they raced has been around for over a decade, and despite its age, the car behaved reliably, proving that what was once a German student's car has proven to be an unbeatable warrior on the track. It has remained on the Automatic Motorsport's stable for over a decade under Dave Thorton's supervision.
"Despite the car’s age, it has brilliant brakes and great balance,” Lassally said. “By the time we understood the car's limit the race was over.”
The lack of arguments against newer and faster cars on the optimistic Automatic Motorsport's entry was replaced with masterful strategy. At one point Lassally was able to place the car in fifth by stretching his pitstop to the very last minute and gaining the benefit of a yellow flag.
"When the race resumed, the restart was very intense,” Lassally said. “I had five cars behind me chasing me like a wolf herd. I let them by, because the idea was to race the car and not end up buying it. The new asphalt completely changes the track. What Craig and myself knew about the track, our old tricks and lines, were useless. It was like learning the track all over again. In the end, pure and exciting entertainment."
Craig Conway completed half of the race with a clean run. Conway has been a long time friend of Lassally and even raced with the Marcos Racing Team America, an operation managed in the nineties by Lassally and which made a remarkable impact in road racing on American soil in the late nineties.