It is Sunday morning and it is great to be home after a little over a week on the road. Sleeping in my own bed last night felt terrific. Seeing Suze was even better as I missed her terribly. And although Woody and I did not finish as well as we had hoped, we did make it back to South Bend, which was luckier than a few other teams nor were we the only team with problems....
The team of Derek Whitis and Tom Long in a Nissan GTR missed the second half of the week due to limp home mode problems after their run at Daytona International. This team was running in the top three all week and even after their "DNF's - Did Not Finish" were able to carve out a 29th over all position. After Daytona, they motored home to Tallahassee, FL.
Mike Babcock and Norman Babcock in their Audi S4 Quattro had limp home issues and shock mount stress fractures appear in earnest on the last day at BeaveRun. They finished 8th over all though as they ran strong all week.
Rene von Richthofen and Huge Bate in a 911 Turbo had a small coolant leak most of the week which required constant vigilance and care and on the long night drive from the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, SC to Koppel, PA they (Huge) hit some small rodent that took out the condenser for the AC. Rene appeared more upset about no AC.
Reg Noble and Bill Unwin (our Canadian brethren) in a very hopped up VW GTI had motor problems during their run at the BMW Performance Center and in fact had a DNF in that event. They worked out the issues as best as possible, but drove straight to South Bend for the finish and missed both events at BeaveRun. They still finished 21st over all.
Matthew and Pete Zekauskas in a BMW 328i developed clutch problems after Sebring and Daytona. On the way to CMP in Kershaw, SC from Daytona, they had the clutch replaced at a shop near Charleston, SC and then drove until approximately 1:30 am before stopping an hour shy of Kershaw. They completed all the remaining events and became our competition the rest of the week. They finished 47th over all...sorry Matthew and Pete, our 44th place wins and the dry skid pad had to pull it out of the fire for us.
Phil Munschauer and Russell Vester in a super-charged Ford Mustang GT had an electrical issue that caused a fire in their car while at Sebring. The damage was not catastrophic, but did take out the car's ABS rear braking function. Apparently, it made for some frightful experiences coming down the front tri-oval straight at 160+ mph at Daytona in to turn one where speeds drop to 50 mph. The team kept going, but later developed an ignition/firing problem that kept the car from performing at its best. Limp mode you might as well say.....there seemed to be a lot of that going on.
There were many success stories, but none bigger in my opinion than our own local hot shoe team of Dick Clark and "Tucson" Jerry Clark driving a Z-06 Vette. Admittedly, Dick started very poorly at the wet skid pad event and at the autocross in Kentucky. Heading to Alabama, Dick had put the car in 39th place over all. At the same point in the competition and before we had our issues, we were in 15th place. That all changed once Dick saw the "tracks" and not a sea of orange cones. He drove very well in the wet in Alabama and then in Sebring which we unfortunately missed. In short, he never looked back and battled his way to a top 10 finish over all (9th to be exact). To finish in the top 10 of this event is a huge deal folks!
Congratulations Dick and Jerry....well done and well deserved!