Nonnamaker Racing Diary: Mid Ohio 2003 At Homestead we started a stretch of five races in eight weeks. The middle part of the season would be the meat of whether we would have a shot at the Championships in the Sports Touring II and Grand Sports...
Nonnamaker Racing Diary: Mid Ohio 2003
At Homestead we started a stretch of five races in eight weeks. The middle part of the season would be the meat of whether we would have a shot at the Championships in the Sports Touring II and Grand Sports II classes. The stretch of races ended this past weekend in Mid Ohio, our hometrack race.
We arrived Wednesday night to the track to prepare for Thursday testing. With over two hours of testing on Thursday we had a lot of time to try some different things with the cars. On the Porsche end we tried a small set up change that ended up being worth about two tenths of a second a lap, but most importantly made the car more drivable.
On the Acura end Will was working on anything that might give us an edge on the Fenton Motorsports effort. We were chasing an electrical gremlin on the #43 car that was causing our ABS to malfunction. After replacing a few sensors the problem was solved. The #42 Integra had some handling issues that we chased all day Thursday and Friday. Eventually the problem was cured and all three Integras and both Porsches were ready to go race.
Friday's practice was more of the same from Thursday. We continued to prepare the cars for the weekend's race and tried a few small set up changes.
On Saturday the qualifying sessions were back to back. The Sports Touring classes qualified just fifteen minutes before the Grand Sports races. With Joe starting both races he had to jump from one car to the other. In Sports Touring Joe qualified fourth. Will's co-driver Howie Liebengood scored his second pole position of the year in the #43 King Motorsports / Pennzoil sponsored HRPWorld.com Racing Integra.
As the Grand Sports session started Joe re-acclimated himself to the Porsche. By mid session he had put the car on the pole and a black flag came out for the #39 Corvette being stuck in the sand. We hoped that the officials would checker the session and we would get our second pole of the day. Unfortunately we went back to green flag qualifying. The #52 Mustang stuck his car on the pole and Joe pitted to save his tires (he was qualifying the #41 Porsche on the tires we would be racing the #40 Porsche on during the race). On the last lap we were all stunned to see Will put the #40 on the pole. We had done an entire test day here with the Porsche earlier in the season and it paid off as Will got the pole and dad qualified third.
The Acura race started later in the day on Saturday. The start didn't come off clean. The LM Racing Audi, the Nissan from Archangel, and the Sterling Mini came together at turn seven. We went yellow on the first lap. With Joe not caring about driving in the Acura, our best pit strategy was to dive in to the pits and change drivers. With a 2.5 hour race we only needed a splash of fuel at the end of the race to make it to the end.
As it went green again Howie pulled away from the field in the #43 Integra. Myself and Belinda Endress battled with Bill Fenton in the #27 Integra, our championship contender. I got around Fenton and pulled away as did Belinda. This was Belinda's second race with the team and we were all very happy with her performance. She drove an excellent, professional race, and she was a joy to have around all weekend long.
After everyone made their pit stops we ended up with a substantial lead over the #27. He had a pit speed violation and lost time in the pits to us. We came across the finish line in a tight 1-2 formation finish with Will and Howie taking the win. The win gave us our fourth win in seven races and Howie and Will are now only one point behind in the Driver's Championship.
Belinda drove a great race and handed over to Tom Volk for the finish. We ended up getting passed by several cars with that car near the end of the race and ended up with a sixth place finish.
The Grand Sports race was on Sunday at Noon. As the cars rolled onto the track for their pace laps the rain started. Unfortunately I think the rain may have cost us the race. On the first lap both cars sustained damage. I wasn't in either car so I am not sure exactly what happened out there. As quickly as the rain came, it went away. The #41 ended up with a broken radiator and we had to pit for a ten lap radiator change. The crew did an amazing job getting the radiator changed, but when you are sitting in the car it seems like it lasts forever.
I finished the #41 for Joe. We ended up passing a couple of cars as they had problems and we ended up with an 11th place finish. The #40 ran to a fourth place finish after falling to last place on the first lap. Joe pulled double duty finishing the car for Will.
All in all it wasn't a bad weekend. We left with a shot at both titles, which is what we were aiming for coming into this last stretch of races.
-by Wayne Nonnamaker