DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If you looked closely at the truck that hauled NTE Sport/Star Spangled Racing’s Lamborghini to Sunday’s race, you noticed damage to a fender from a blowout that kept the team from making it to the previous race.
Those were the scars of perseverance.
Shortly before the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 9, one of the truck’s front tires exploded while en route from its Dallas shop. The rig made it safely to the shoulder of the road, but extensive repairs couldn’t be made in time to get to Long Beach and race.
“I was at Long Beach,” Jaden Conwright joked, “but the car wasn’t.”
Move ahead three weeks. The team’s truck and its cargo make it to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, as do Conwright and co-driver Marco Holzer. In spite of all the adversity and obstacles, they help a team turn a possible disaster into hope for the future.
“The results were good, and the car was a rocket ship,” Conwright said of Sunday's effort in the No. 42 NTE/SSR Lamborghini Huracán GT3. “The results definitely speak. We want more from it, but the car was fast. We were up front all day.”
A fueling issue cost the team precious seconds in the pits Sunday late in the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Presented by Motul, eventually dropping the No. 42 to a sixth-place finish in the GT Daytona (GTD) class. But the pace spoke of potential.
“We’ve had a lot of bad luck this year that had prohibited us from finishing a race,” team owner Paul Mata said, “so it was nice to be able to complete a race and run strong. We showed we have the speed, and we’re looking forward to more progress.”
The combination of Conwright, the 23-year-old recipient of the first IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship, and Holzer, a 33-year-old veteran, also clicked. “He was on it all weekend,” Conwright said of Holzer.
“Pace-wise, we are there with the front cars,” said Holzer, driving the Huracán for the first time. “I’m overall really happy, and everyone did a great job. I hope to do more.”