Like the eleven run before it, the 12th edition of the Jacksonville Grand Prix at 103rd Street Sports Complex in Jacksonville, FL was a six hour endurance race meant to be run by teams of 3 or more drivers. But when the race promoter asked Trey Shannon if he’d like to run it as a solo driver, he couldn’t resist.
The day began under beautiful sunny skies for the Endurance Karting organized event benefiting Spina Bifida of Jacksonville. Sixteen karts, driven by over 50 drivers, took to the track for their half hour qualifying session. Having never been to the track before, Shannon used the half hour to learn the track and put down a quick time without using up too much energy. After a few laps of feeling things out, Trey got into a draft and put down a time good enough for 7th on the grid.
At the start of the race, his plan was to stay in touch with the leaders for the first stint until the first pit stop. With 15 mandatory driver change stops, including two for fuel, everybody was going to be on different strategies. All teams knew they’d have to wait until the final stint of the race to see how things played out. Each driver change required a 20 second hold in the pit lane, so Shannon was unable to get any kind of advantage from not having to swap drivers.
Shannon’s race was fairly straight forward, clicking off laps, trying not to get too caught up in traffic, and maintaining a sprint-like pace. The real drama came in the final hour of the race. With just under 50 minutes to go to the checker, the skies opened up and rain poured down. With standing water beginning to form, and the karts’ air filters getting flooded, race control decided to temporarily red flag the race with just over 41 minutes to go.
While everybody waited for the rain to subside, each team took to the scoring monitors to figure out where they stood and determine their strategy for the final 40 minutes. Shannon sat 2nd with one stop left, while the leaders were a lap ahead, with three stops still to go. Trey knew that all he had to do was keep the kart pointed straight for the final 40 minutes and the win would be his. With the karts being on slick tires though, even in the rain, that task was easier said than done.
Once the rain slowed, the race got back underway. Shannon made his final pit stop immediately in an effort to lose as little time as possible. The track slowly started to dry, and by the final 10 minutes, all karts were back on the racing line and back to full speed. The leader appeared to have about a half a lap lead coming to the checker at the end of the six hours, with Shannon still in 2nd. The “winning” team, however, had failed to make their final mandatory pit stop, handing the win to Trey Shannon.
Trey was ecstatic after the race, finding it hard to believe he had clinched the win after driving the entire six hours solo. “I can’t believe we did this,” Trey said after the race. “I have to thank my wife Amber for doing such an awesome job with the strategy. She kept us in the hunt the whole race and did a great job over the radio keeping me focused and relaxed. I also have to thank my sponsors Oktane Visual, AiM Sports, and Kart Sale. It seems like no matter what I do they’re on board, and I really appreciate their continued support. Last but not least, I need to thank Rick Mansfield, Chris McCoy, and Endurance Karting for putting on this awesome event. It’s always a pleasure to race with them, and I’m so happy to have been a part of this event to raise money for Spina Bifida.”