DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 22, 2003) -- With the next Grand-Am Cup Series race still more than a month away, drivers have had to find other things to do to fill the time between races. So, what do the top Grand-Am Cup racers do during their summer vacation?
Many drivers are using their time off to relax with friends and family. "My wife Leslie, dog McClaren and I went to Sanibel and spent the week taking in some R & R," said Dave Russell, driver of the Automatic Racing #09 BMW M3.
Team Lexus #0 Lexus IS300 team owner/driver Chuck Goldsborough has used the break to have some fun and reward the team for their work during the first seven races. "We had a huge Team Lexus summer bash on Gibson Island in the Chesapeake Bay. We had over 165 people show up. It was catered by Little Havana, one of Team Lexus' long-time corporate sponsors, and we had a live steel drum band from Trinidad. It started at noon and went well into the night. Everyone had lots of fun."
The break is also being used as a chance to work on the cars before the race at Mosport International Raceway in September. "Honda of America Racing Team is utilizing the break to rebuild our [Acura] RSXs for the remaining races and to prepare our NSX in hopes of debuting it in the Rolex Series this year. Everyone on the team is very busy at work so the break is important for our team," said #00 Acura RSX-S driver John Schmitt.
Michael Baughman Racing #46 Firebird team owner/driver Michael Baughman has been doing the same. "When you have a multi-car team like ours, the work never stops. Michael Baughman Racing has four engines, four transmissions and several rears to rebuild. We will also install a new canopy on the trailer and maintain the transporter. Nothing unusual for a team like ours."
Bill Fenton Motorsports #27 Acura Integra LS driver Bob Beede has used the break to catch up on maintenance. "We will be reviewing performance of the cars and drivers over the first seven races and looking for ways to make improvements to the cars for the three true road courses we will be running prior to Daytona. Early in the season there was a mix of racetracks that required a more neutral or loose set-up. Going to the road courses, we can set the cars up to perform better on higher-speed, momentum type tracks."
Just because there is a break in the Grand-Am Cup Series schedule, don't expect drivers to stay out of their cars. "To stay busy and have some fun, Team Lexus has entered the U.S. Drift Nationals. It's really fun. You get to do everything they teach you not to do in smooth track road racing. We entered the event at Summit Point. The Team Lexus entry finished fourth overall and one of our crew guys won it," said Goldsborough.
"I have raced my personal car in SCCA club races twice since Mid-Ohio and have two more races prior to Mosport," noted Schmitt.
Russell has been busy teaching others how to drive. "During the rest of the summer I am scheduled to 'stay in the driver's seat' with contract work at BMW's Performance Center, Skip Barber Racing School, and private coaching at various racetracks."
Although a summer vacation can be enjoyable, all of the Grand-Am Cup teams and drivers are looking forward to the final stretch of the season. "A two-month break in the middle of a season seems a bit long to a racer, and I am sure most of us will be antsy to get back to the racetrack by Mosport," remarked Baughman.
The Grand-Am Cup Series will return to action at Mosport International Raceway in the Sunoco 94 Mosport 3 Hour, September 12-14.
For more information on the Grand American Grand-Am Cup Series, visit www.grandamerican.com.