The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 23, 2013

Downs realizes bucket-list dream at LE MANS

Local optometrist tests endurance in 24-hour race


The threesome races in shifts of about two hours apiece (depending on how long a tank of gas lasts). The car that completes the most laps in the 24-hour period wins, and there are numerous classes of competition. The Boutsen Ginion team is entered in the LMP2 Class which has 22 entries.

Downs began training in the middle of winter. Drivers need ample upper body strength to keep their neck and shoulders from hurting due to the strain of all the braking and turning on the course.

In addtion to the support of his employer, he has the backing of his wife and family as well as some financial support from Butterfield Farms. His wife, Lynn Schreiner, is an audiologist, and together they have three children.

Being a first-time entrant, Downs knows the odds of winning are slim.

"For me, it's the dream of a lifetime," he said. "Our goal is just to finish. If we can do that, it would be great."

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