Daytona Beach, FL (January 30, 2010) - Racing season has begun! After a long winter break, Randy returned to racing in Friday's Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona International Speedway. Parting amicably with Compass360, Randy has joined Irish Mike's Racing in a Volkswagen Jetta GLi, in the Street Tuner class, for part of the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (formerly the KONI Challenge). Irish Mike's is a well-known Orlando, FL based team that has been successful in the southeast. Randy is very happy to return to Volkswagen where he has had much success in the past and is teamed up with young gun Andrew Novich, a 17 year old, who competed last season in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup and has four years of carting experience.
The Continental Tire Challenge season opener started out fairly well for Randy and his new team, as Randy qualified the #49 Volkswagen Jetta GLi in fourth place, despite issues with handling and power. Randy started the race and stayed in contention for the first half of the race, giving the car over to Andrew under a caution flag. Andrew proved his talent as he moved back through the field and eventually finished in eleventh position, well ahead of many seasoned veterans.
"We snatched mediocrity from the jaws of despair. I was very proud of my qualifying effort after having problems in practice with the handling and power of the car. We tested three weeks ago and the Jetta easily made fast laps that were competitive or better than the rest of the field. We changed to new tires for this race weekend and something just wasn't right. We had too much grip in the rear and the car under-steered terribly. We are down on power since the test session and I'm not sure why. The Irish Mike's team worked hard to increase the speed of the car and the difference showed in qualifying. During the race, the car was still very difficult to drive and I went into survival mode and decided it was better to turn laps towards the front of the pack than pit and lose position. Andrew lost some positions in the pits as they made adjustments, but was able to run consistent lap times and get a decent finish. He is a developing driver and off to a good start but still has a ways to go."
"I raced with Irish Mike fifteen years ago in SCCA club racing. They build beautiful Jettas which are basically four-door GTIs underneath like the ones I ran with APR a couple of years ago. I would like to thank "Irish" Mike Flynn and Todd Buras for their efforts to make me part of their team. I would also like to thank my personal sponsors WeatherTech, ChaseCam, saferacer.com, Team Janica Racing and Prairie Hills Motorsport Club for joining me again for the 2010 season. I was very happy to have my father Gene, my sister Judi and her husband Kurt with me for the race weekend. I was disappointed to not have a ride in the 24 Hour race for the first time in twelve years, but I was happy to have them to watch it with from the motor home. They have a smaller field for the 24 hour this year and not enough spaces for all the drivers."
Randy is happy to report that he will rejoining K-PAX/3R Racing in the Volvo S60 for another run at the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Championship. Last year's teammate Andy Pilgrim will also be returning. Randy is also working on a deal with another team in a different series and we will let you know if that pans out. The Fresh From Florida 200 will be broadcast Tuesday, February 13, at 7 PM ET on SPEED. The next race for Randy in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will be at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 6. Randy's first SPEED World Challenge GT race will be on March 28 on the St Petersburg Street Course where Randy has dominated in the past.
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