8 questions with Salt Lake City motorsports driver John Potter

Published: Saturday, Oct. 12 2013 7:00 p.m. MDT

Racers compete in the final round of the 2013 Rolex Series Championship at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on Sept. 27-28, 2013

Regis Lefebure

Salt Lake City resident John Potter just recorded his best finish in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, taking second overall for the 2013 season. Having raced well going into the final event at Lime Rock Park in Salisbury, Conn., Potter could have won the series with a good finish. But his quest for first was undone by a crash during the early going. He and his team were able to fix the car and hold on to second place, however. The Deseret News' Aaron Morton caught up with Potter this week to chat with him about his accomplishments.

First of all, what happened in Turn 2 at Lime Rock?

The incident at Lime Rock was very unfortunate. There was a car ahead of me who had been struggling for much of the opening lap, and headed in to Turns 1 and 2, which are the hardest braking corners on the track. He lost control and ran wide in to the grass. Normal etiquette when you run in to the grass is to slowly and safely return to the track, but unfortunately this driver decided to resume right back on to the "racing line," which is the part of the track that cars are going at full speed. As a result, he ran right in to me. He never even looked. The contact spun me around, and unfortunately a couple of cars behind ran straight in to me, which is what caused the real damage. There was nothing the cars behind me could do. It was extremely frustrating because it was only the second lap, and caused by a driver and team who hadn't run the full season.

Here's a link to the crash:

What did it take to get the car back on the track? What was that like?

The process to get the car back on track was nothing short of amazing. It would have been very easy to just say, "We're done," and retire the car outright. However, since the incident happened on the second lap, we hadn't met the minimum time to receive points for the race, so the guys sprang in to work to repair everything. The car took a huge hit to the front, and to the rear, and they literally had to change everything on the car to make it work. The front brake rotors, all three radiators, several suspension components, all of the front bodywork, as well having to bang out part of the frame. We had a team of about six guys who went straight to work, and it was incredible to see everyone just do their part. No one spoke; no one argued; everyone just instantly knew their role. Just a little over 30 minutes later, we were back on track.

This was the sort of moment that, as a team owner, makes you very proud. Our team has possessed a never-give-up attitude all season, and that's what kept us in the championship. This was teamwork at its finest.

How do you square the excitement of your best series finish with the disappointment of being so close to a championship?

It was bittersweet to say the least. In a weird way, we're lucky that the incident happened early. It gave us zero time to reflect and get upset, as we had to hold on to hope and rebound. If we'd retired right after the crash, we were looking at finishing as poorly as fourth in the championship, which would have been devastating given our season up to that point. Because of the amazing effort by the team, our ability to get back on track and score points for finishing the race earned us second in the championship, so in a weird way everyone still felt proud of having "earned" it. We all wanted the championship, but to overcome all the circumstances and come in second still showed the team's resilience.

What's it like to have Andy Lally as a teammate?

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