With more than 20 years of experience with the Honda Acura brand, King Motorsports has been a mainstay in the aftermarket world of Honda/Acura tuning. Since the company was formed in 1981, racing has been a strong part of its heritage. The team...
With more than 20 years of experience with the Honda Acura brand, King Motorsports has been a mainstay in the aftermarket world of Honda/Acura tuning. Since the company was formed in 1981, racing has been a strong part of its heritage. The team won the SCCA GT4 National Championship in a Honda Civic and have been claiming professional and amateur championships ever since.
This past season, King Motorsports led driver Bob Endicott to the Sport Touring I driver championship, and despite a few misfortunes this year, they have already brought home a win from one of the first three races of the 2002 Grand Am Cup season.
Series - Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series
Class - Sport Touring I
Cars - Acura Integra Type R
Team Owner - Scott Zellner
Garage Location - Sullivan, Wis.
Website - www.kingmotorsports.com
Year Established - 1981
Drivers - Mike Van Sicklen and Bob Endicott
Car Number - 64
Earned 2001 ST I Driver Championship (Bob Endicott & Runner Up Mike Van Sicklen)
Captured two ST I wins in 2001 (Phoenix & Watkins Glen)
Won ST I class at inaugural California Speedway road race in 2002
IN SCOTT ZELLNER'S WORDS...
When did you become involved in racing?
"I got involved back in 1981, autocrossing my little Honda Civic 1200 all over the Northeast. In 1984 I was bitten by the road racing bug. I bought a GT5 Civic and won the SCCA NE regional series the first year out. The next year I won the SCCA NE National Championship, the following year I was on the front row of the Runoffs, and the rest, as they say, has been a blur."
How was King Motorsports created?
"It was created in 1981 as an offshoot from a very successful Honda motorcycle and automobile dealership located here in Milwaukee named King Honda. The owner of the dealership was Jim Dentici. Jim was a 1981 SCCA GT4 champion with the Honda Civic. From there we started producing the same parts we used on our own race cars for sale to the public. That turned into building complete race cars for clients all over the world! And that then turned into supporting the cars at races. It's turned into a giant snowball constantly leading to something new. I came on board in 1987 when King Motorsports was selected as the sole authorized North American distributor for Mugen Co., Ltd. In 1997 I bought the company and we continue to evolve and expand everyday."
What are your thoughts of the 2002 season so far?
"Well its been up and down with us so far in 2002. We have either won or had mechanical problems. We are working very, very hard to eliminate any of the mechanical failures we have had. The problem we are facing is that we are just pushing this 1.8-liter so hard for three hours that we have run into problems with the original Acura pieces holding up to the stress, such as drive shafts."
Between the Motorola Cup Team Championship you won in 2000 and the Driver Championship Bob Endicott won for the team in 2001, which one means more to you? Or are they about equal?
"They're very equal. I think it was real neat to see Bob Endicott win the driver championship. That meant a lot to me personally. But, the team championship was also pretty neat to win the first year we got involved."
Do you have any plans for the new Acura RSX?
"We hope to introduce an RSX to the Grand-Am Cup series later this season."
What goals have you set for yourself and for your team?
"We would very, very much like to win the driver's championship, team championship and the manufacturer championship for Acura this year. That is our ultimate goal. Beyond the goal of a Triple Crown Championship, we are looking forward to developing the RSX. It's something new and something different. It represents a whole new way of looking at how we go racing, because it is a complete departure from the Integra Type R that we have been racing since 1997."
Do you have any hobbies outside of racing?
"There is absolutely no spare time outside of racing for anything! I have a small car collection that I mess around with on the side, but it all inevitably gets left by the wayside because I am just so busy attending races and all the different functions we attend with King Motorsports."
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your life?
"That is a tough question. Many different people have influenced me. I would say it has been a combination of a lot of people, one of which is Jim Dentici who started King Motorsports in 1981. He has always been a good friend and mentor."
"Bob Endicott has been a great boost for me, because he has given me a fresh way of looking at racing. I have been racing a long time and he brought a breath of fresh air on how to go about your racing. It is much more enjoyable then it was before. Before it was becoming too much of a job. There was too much pressure in going out and trying to win a championship each year. It is much more fun doing it now than ever before."
What do you find most exciting about racing?
"I find it exciting to see the whole team working as one. It makes me very proud to watch all these guys on our team. The guys who work for us came from different backgrounds. One came from motorcycle racing. Our lead mechanic was a body shop guy with an interest in sport compact cars. They have all come along in the past four years, and now they are just racing machines at this point."
Can you tell us a little about the other aspects of King Motorsports?
"Well, the largest part of King Motorsports is our retail sales of Mugen Power products in the United States. We are the sole authorized North American distributor for Mugen. With the sport compact craze being as strong as it is right now, it is the biggest growing market segment. Our business in the last five years has almost quadrupled. King Motorsports went from a racing entity that was selling Mugen parts to a Mugen parts supplier that does a little racing on the side. It has completely reversed roles. The parts sales are almost 85 percent of the gross sales at this point, and it keeps on growing and growing every year."
Is there anything you would like to add?
"I would like to thank our team and American Honda for providing such a good car to start with and the opportunity to race the cars in the future. I also want to thank all our fans and supporters through all the years. We've been doing this for such a long time that we have developed quite a fan base throughout the United States."
Grand-Am Cup will travel next to Watkins Glen International for the Sports Car Grand Prix, June 21-23. Tickets are currently on sale for the event at www.theglen.com or by calling 607-535-2481. For more information on King Motorsports and the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series can be found online at www.grandamcup.com.