ROAR Racing headed to Alabama's Barber Motortsports Park with high hopes after their impressive sixth-place qualifying run at Mid-Ohio a few weeks prior. "All the pieces are beginning to come together," said Rob Whitener, ROAR's Team Principal.
ROAR Racing headed to Alabama's Barber Motortsports Park with high hopes after their impressive sixth-place qualifying run at Mid-Ohio a few weeks prior.
"All the pieces are beginning to come together," said Rob Whitener, ROAR's Team Principal. "The RX-8 makes a great race car, and we're doing our part to get our Mazdas to the top of the podium."
At Barber, the sole #62 ROAR entry was piloted by two great talents, Billy Johnson and Andy Brumbaugh. Both young drivers are regular Grand Am Cup competitors. Johnson's raced with a variety of teams in the past year (including SpeedSource, Compass360, Kensai Racing, and Matt Connolly Motorsports), while Brumbaugh made quite an impression with Team Lexus and BGB.
"The team has been finalizing development on our cars," said Whitener. "For Barber our goal was to ensure that the cooling issues we had earlier in the season have been solved. It was clear from the very first sessions that our engineers have done a great job."
Of course, the team was shooting for a podium, and with a solid car and solid drivers, there was every reason to expect it. The Barber track requires an interesting set of compromises in a car's set-up, and as the weekend progressed, it was clear the ROAR crew was nailing it. The result was a very solid 11th place qualifying position by Johnson, with less than a 1.4 seconds separating him from the pole.
At the drop of the green flag on Saturday's race, Billy wasted no time in dispatching the nearby competitors, and was up to seventh by the third corner. Up ahead in GS there was mayhem at the hairpin, and in the ensuing melee Johnson passed a number of other cars, and managed his way up to fourth!
Unfortunately, Grand Am deemed one of those passes was made under yellow, and Johnson was brought in for a drive-through penalty, which put the #62 Mazda back in the pack.
"It's a shame," exclaimed Johnson, "because the ROAR RX-8 was just great this weekend. The whole team has really put their heart into making these Mazdas the best in the paddock. The car has the capability, and now we need just a little racing luck!"
The team is sitting out the Trois Riveres Grand Am Cup event in order to focus its efforts on tuning a second car for competition at Miller Motorsports Park in early September. "We have some very exciting news that we'll announce in the next few weeks," remarked Whitener. "We've got a solid program for the rest of this season and are well under way with our plans for 2007, when we'll once again be running three-RX-8s." Watch this space...
The Grand Am Cup Barber Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant airs August 5th at 1:00pm on SPEED Channel.