|BRASELTON, Ga. -- Overcoming both an oil leak and a
crowded field, Brion Gluck piloted the Team Dark Horse 1971 Mach 1 Mustang
to a third place class finish in the Rolex Classic GT endurance race at Road
here Saturday, April 27.
The weekend was marred by tragedy, when driver
Bob Akin sustained fatal injuries during Thursday practice. Akin was testing
a 1988 Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo and apparently made contact near Turn 4 with
another GTP car driven by a fellow ex-professional. His GTP car went off
course, impacted a wall on the left, became airborne and came to rest
approximately 180 feet from the point of initial contact. Akin was taken to
Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he died Monday night.
The Rolex endurance race, part of the Historic Sportscar Racing's (HSR) 25th
annual Walter Mitty Challenge, had over 50 competitors on the track, making
for nearly constant traffic in every turn.
Gluck, starting from 47th on the grid after having mechanical problems
during the qualifying race, passed seven cars before the first turn on the
initial lap. He was running in the top 20 and moving higher about halfway
through the race when officials black-flagged the Mustang because it was
The smoke was caused by a loose valve cover bolt that was dropping oil onto
an exhaust header, requiring an eight minute pit stop to fix. Back out on
the track after the extra-long stop, an accident put the race into a
full-course yellow for 10 laps. When the green flag came out, Gluck quickly
moved back through the pack into the top 15, before being black-flagged
again due to leftover oil still smoking on the header.
The Team Dark Horse crew washed the oil off, but by the time Gluck was back
on the track to take the checkered flag, the Mach 1 was down in 39th place
overall, third in Class G2. John Cloud's 1967 Camaro was first in the class
and second overall in the race, while the 1965 Corvette of Charles Koninsky
of Marietta, Ga., was second in class and 20th overall.
Augusta, Ga.'s Bryan Weeks had the fastest Mustang in the race. His 1965
model was fifth overall with a best lap of 1:41.
The weekend ended abruptly for Gluck during the WorldCom Dash race later
Saturday afternoon. On the third lap of the eight lap event, he was powering
out of turn 7 when the driveshaft came apart.
"This was like having thunder go off inside your car," Gluck said. "It was
the loudest explosion I'd ever heard in a car. The back of the car probably
jumped a foot and a half off the ground."
The snapped shaft made a four-inch high dent in the passenger-side floorpan,
flattened one of the mufflers, ruptured brake lines, and damaged the
Next up for Team Dark Horse
(http://www.darkhorseracing.net) is an American Iron
series event at Charlotte and the HSR Mustang Reunion
at Virginia International Raceway, both in July.