Salt Lake City, UT-- September 2nd, 2006
ROAR Racing's Mazda RX-8s both took the checkered flag at Miller Motorsports Park this weekend, posting the team's best finish so far this year in the process.
Compass360's involvement was immediately apparent, with the cars looking great right off the trailer in their revised livery. On track, they steadily improved in every practice session.
Karl Thomson qualified the #62 car in eleventh place, with David Ciekiewicz putting the #63 car in fourteenth. "Miller is a really challenging track, and getting the right set-up is key," noted Thomson. "The high elevation robbed us of power, but we're happy to be the second and third-placed RX-8s on the grid, just behind Speedsource's #70 car."
Additional suspension adjustments made after qualifying further improved the cars, with Billy Johnson setting the third fastest time in class in Friday's morning warm-up.
Both cars made good starts, steering clear of some early-going melee. Thomson had a solid battle with the Cobalt of Brian O'Shaunessy for the latter portion of his stint, handing the car to Johnson in 8th place. Ciekiewicz, meanwhile, had gambled on an out-of-sequence early pit stop, putting Travis Walker out before the leaders pitted for their fuel.
Midway through Walker's stint in #63, the car suffered a fuel pump problem which stranded the car on track. It was returned to pit lane by tow truck, where the team quickly repaired the pump, with Ciekiewicz getting back in. He did a great job bringing the car home, taking the checkered flag in twentieth place.
Johnson had kept #62 in 8th place before a late-race spash-and-gid for fuel dropped the car to eleventh. This result represents a remarkable improvement for ROAR Racing, and is by far their best result this year.
Thomson, however, was disappointed with the weekend. "Both cars still have a way to go to be able to run up front," he said. "The fuel issue is perhaps the most troubling, because we could only get an hour and ten minutes out of a tank of gas. That meant we had to make two stops, which knocked us out of the top ten."
Thomson will return to race in the season-ending six-hour sundowner at VIR in the #75 Kensai Racing RSX to help Acura win the manufacturer's championship. "It was fun racing the RX-8, and with a bunch more work I think the ROAR cars can be competitive," he remarked. "But the manufacturer's race is really tight, and I know we have a good chance to bring home a win with Kensai. I'll be driving with two young hot shoes (Travis Walker and Nick Wittmer), which means we've got a good solid driver line-up. It'll be good to finish out the year with Kensai after the good run we've had so far."
-credit: roar racing-compass360