Steele¹s Daytona drive cut short after gearbox failure

Gearbox failure cut short Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 winner Aaron Steele¹s Daytona prize drive. Steele put in a strong performance and had a sterling start but on his twelfth lap smoke started coming from the car and the Mitchum Motorsport Camaro had to retire from the race.Problems started in qualifying when engine trouble limited Steele to only acouple of laps; meaning he qualified the Camaro in 53rd place overall (34thout of the GS class). The Mitchum team worked hard to change the engine intime for the race and in the final practice Aaron put in a strong run,getting the car up to 14th place at the end of his stint.The Continental Tire GRAND-AM 200 race started under wet conditions;something that Aaron is used to and he was confident that he could use it tohis advantage. Steele made a charging start and made up an impressive 26places from 53rd overall on the grid to 27th at the end of the opening lap.³The race started well. I kept it on the track, which was the priority andkept out of trouble,² said Steele. ³It¹s a two and a half hour race and youcan¹t win it on the first lap but you can certainly loose it. I¹d not driventhe car in the wet but I gradually built up a feel for things.²Aaron continued on his charge and was up in 22nd place when the track begunto dry out and a pit stop to change to slicks was needed. Just a few secondsafter the pit stop, Steele was up on the banking when smoke started comingout of the car.²We came in for slicks and to refuel ­ after the pit stop there was a lot ofsmoke coming from the car. The team told me to keep going but fluid leakingfrom the gearbox sadly forced us to into retirement.²Unfortunately there was nothing the team could do but bring the car in wherethe gearbox failure was discovered and the team decided to take the decisionto retire from the race.³ If we go back to where Aaron was at the test his improvement has beenhuge. The speed he was running in the practice was great and his lap timeswere matching those of the front runners,² said Chris Mitchum, Mitchum TeamPrincipal. ³We just had an unfortunate mechanical failure and sadly todaythe repairs would have taken longer than the whole race. The whole team werereally happy with Aaron and I just wish we could have had a better resultbut like everyone always says ­ that¹s racing for you anything can happen.²Despite the disappointing end to his Daytona prize drive, Aaron remainspositive about his experience and hopes this will not be his last time atDaytona.³I want to thank Anglo American oil for this opportunity- of course its anunfortunate end but hey I got to drive at Daytona! It doesn¹t matter if youare at Daytona or Donington Park this could happen anywhere. Unfortunatelyyou just have to get on with it. I can take with me the confidence that Ijump into any car and drive it. The Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge is afantastic prize and to get this opportunity to come out and do this has beenamazing.²The Sunoco GRAND-AM 200 Challenge continues for this year and thecompetition is set to be bigger and better as drivers compete for a seat inthe 2013 Continental Tires, GRAND-AM 200 race. Details will be releasedshortly on the 2013 programme.