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Busy week for O’Connells
Johnny O’Connell will have more on his mind this weekend than simply picking up his second GT1 victory at Petit Le Mans. There always is a lot going on for Corvette Racing’s O’Connell, who makes his home in nearby Flowery Branch, Ga.

For starters, there is the annual auction to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association and the Guest House in Gainesville, a private, nonprofit adult day healthcare center. Since 2001 at Petit, O’Connell has auctioned off a variety of merchandise – many of it racing related – to raise money for the two organizations, and United Way also was a benefactor following the September 11 terror attacks.

In six years, O’Connell estimates the auctions have raised more than $240,000 with Road Atlanta also helping to raise money for the Guest House.

It doesn’t stop Friday though as O’Connell’s 10-year-old daughter Kelly will sing the American National Anthem prior to the start of Saturday’s 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic. It’s a race that will see O’Connell and Jan Magnussen try for their third straight GT1 victory following wins at Mosport and Detroit. They also will be teamed with Ron Fellows.

“No matter what else happens, that will be the highlight,” the proud papa beamed. “But we also want to get another win for this No. 3 team. They deserve it and have been on a roll lately.”

The 10th running of Petit Le Mans, the annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta, is set for 11:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 6. SPEED will provide live coverage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 10 p.m. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

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