James Clay and David White earn their first podium of 2010 for the No. 80 BMW. BimmerWorld crew persevere through heat wave to repair major crash damage to both cars. In what can only be described as the closest example of "trial by ...
James Clay and David White earn their first podium of 2010 for the No. 80
BimmerWorld crew persevere through heat wave to repair major crash damage to both cars.
In what can only be described as the closest example of "trial by fire," BimmerWorld's drivers and crew faced a menacing foe last weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park - temperatures near 100 degrees and stifling humidity - that made placing both cars in the top-5 that much more rewarding.
But getting both of their cars into the race, as the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team found out, was more than half the battle.
After suffering a crash in practice after a tap from behind by a GS-class car, the No. 81 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW 328i required a massive about of repairs, led my BimmerWorld's veteran crew chief, Jason Marks, and more repairs were soon to come with the sister car.
"I'm so happy to see we put James (Clay) and David (White) on the podium, but like everything we do here, it took the complete efforts of the entire team to do so. It was a Herculean effort by everyone. It was insanely hot to start with, and then we had to change motors and flywheels and drivelines, fixed a lot of other damage, and didn't leave until 3 a.m., before coming back and having to sort through more work to repair the No. 80 after qualifying. My crew came through like true champions. Some days you win on the track, some days you win in the pits, and this time, our success came from our crew's work in the paddock all week. I couldn't be more proud."
The sense of relief for Marks and the No. 80 crew was easy for all to see, and for the drivers of the GearWrench-sponsored car, their second-place finish at New Jersey was a major accomplishment. Not only did team owner/driver Clay and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series rookie White reward the miracles their crew performed, they also broke through to earn their first podium of the year - something White says has been long overdue.
"Standing on the podium for the first time was a huge feeling of relief for me. James and I finally had a race where everything went our way, and now we have the result to show for it. That's not to say it came easily since the BimmerWorld crew put in some long hours in the heat this weekend to make it happen and executed flawless pit stops during the race putting us in position for our strong finish. This result was for them, our sponsors and all of our technical partners who helped us make the race. Now that we've got the monkey off our back, I'm ready to see what the view is like from the top step!"
For Clay, the satisfaction from their NJMP podium comes from realizing their potential with a very capable result.
"David handed off the car in a good position and from the out lap, I knew I had a fast car that could win. I executed well, preserved our tires and equipment and used our car's speed when we needed to and it gave me the ability to run fast until the end. The (race winning) MINI was a rocket and it was good to see them have the race that car is capable of. I couldn't have touched their speed this weekend so I consider our No. 80 BMW 328 'the best of the rest' and that's almost as good as the win - I guess."
If one aspect of landing both BimmerWorld/GearWrench entries in the top-5 impressed Clay the most, it was how effectively the team administered the event. Reacting to a major car rebuild to begin the weekend was hard enough, and starting behind the proverbial '8 Ball' could have seen both cars suffer come race day, but that's not what happened.
"I am extremely proud of our race strategy, pit strategy, driving strategy - really everything on the administration side of things that makes a normal weekend run smoothly and a tough weekend like this one manageable and even successful. Jason Marks has stepped up this year to cover more of the management duties and be a true team leader across the board. Wayne Yawn has provided endurance racing experience and is constantly refining his work and planning to give the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team success. Any time you can recover from such a huge hurdle at the outset of a weekend and finish second and fifth, that's a testament to the people and procedures you have in place. And the winning attitude of these guys is pervasive through our whole team."
Behind the charge led by the No. 80 BimmerWorld/GearWrench car, championship leaders Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann made all the right moves to add to their points total. With a scant 1-point lead in the season championship entering New Jersey, Thomas and Heumann made the most of tough race to take fifth, extending their points lead to 13 by the checkered flag.
But Heumann, leading the MESCO Rookie of the Year championship as well, says that when it's time to go racing, thoughts of points and championships quickly fade away.
"Frankly, I don't think about that stuff when I am racing. I try to focus on the racing and driving! This race was particularly hard due to the heat in the car. There is enough jostling and wild stuff happening at the beginning of the race that my attitude is to race as hard and get as far up as possible without risking the car. I know that if I concentrate on my job, the BimmerWorld crew will handle the rest just like clockwork."
Like his teammates, Thomas attributed his result to the BimmerWorld/GearWrench crew.
"It was a great drive for the No. 81 car this past weekend. We had a huge setback in practice with a nearly 100mph crash. This created a lot of work for the crew guys on one of the hottest days we have seen all year, and after replacing the whole suspension on the car it ran flawlessly for 2.5 hours helping us stretch our points lead. I really can't say Bill or I did anything special to make this result possible. It was all the awesome, hard work by the 'BimmerWorld Boys.' We're 'team first' here, and this was a weekend for our crew to shine. What an amazing group of individuals."
With a 13-point lead in the driver's championship (238 to 225) for Thomas and Heumann, a stronger position in the same championship or Clay and White (sixth) thanks to their NJMP result, and a 13-point lead for BimmerWorld/GearWrench in the team's championship, both entries head to the penultimate round at Trois Rivieres in Quebec, Canada, on August 14th ready for whatever challenges they may face. If New Jersey proved one point, it's that there's no quit in the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team.
-source: bimmerworld racing