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Daskalos: Crew Chief’s Cancer Fight Inspiring “Extra Effort”

CRP Racing’s Jason Daskalos on his crew chief’s cancer fight off-track motivating his team on-track…

Photo: Brian Cleary/SRO

GT America powered by AWS driver Jason Daskalos says “everyone is putting in the extra effort” at CRP Racing this season in support of crew chief Sheldon Miller, who is helping the team fight for a title while also fighting his own battle with cancer.

Daskalos, who currently sits second in the SRO3 points standings following a win in this month’s season-opener at Sonoma Raceway, opened up about Miller’s diagnosis and the team’s push ahead of this weekend’s pair of races at Long Beach.

“The season’s all about him being able to be healthy and come to the races and enjoy this time with us,” Daskalos told Sportscar365.

“I think all the guys on the team [and] everyone’s putting in the extra effort. And obviously we want the best result for the team and for Sheldon.”

Miller is currently undergoing treatment for Cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer impacting the body’s endocrine and digestive systems.

Alongside treatment, Miller’s fight has been bolstered by the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, a global non-profit focused on researching a cure for Cholangiocarcinoma patients and improving their quality of life.

While his normal weekend operations in the team may have been reduced this season, Miller’s continued involvement on Daskalos’ pit wall and his in-race radio communication have served as points of inspiration for the CRP squad.

“He can still come to the races and we’re happy to have him here,” Daskalos said.

“He’s loving it. He’s glad he’s here. He obviously can’t do all the work he used to be able to do, but he’s here on the radio with me, and that’s definitely important to me, being in the car with him on the radio.”

This season, Daskalos is chasing down his first GT America title with Miller’s support. The Nick Short-led CRP crew has rallied around their crew chief this season, operating as what Daskalos describes as “a family unit.”

“It’s really about family,” he said.

“We rent a house, we all stay together. And [Long Beach] is just a fun family event for all of us. It really is.”

Daskalos enters the weekend ten points behind leader Johnny O’Connell, in a hotly-contested field of GT drivers.

“It’s going to be a tough season, Daskalos said. “I mean, Johnny O’Connell’s so good, Kurtz is so good. There’s definitely a lot of competition and, [we want to] do well as a team.

“I’ve got to do well as a driver and execute so we can get that championship. We’re looking for it”.

Daskalos began his GT America campaign with a win aboard his No. 27 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in the season’s opening round in Sonoma, with Miller in his ear over the radio during the race.

“It was definitely emotional,” recounted Daskalos, holding back tears. “We were both super excited. Sorry, I’m gonna get emotional. It’s hard to talk about.

“Sheldon’s gone through a lot. Stage four liver cancer, and he’s going through treatment, which he’s doing really well and responding well to.

“So it’s fortunate that he’s still here with us and that’s the most important thing.

“Hopefully we can get it done again this weekend.”

Jonathan Grace is the host of Sportscar365's Double Stint Podcast and a contributor to the web site's IMSA-sanctioned race coverage.

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