Solid Runs Keep Douglas Motorsports in the Hunt for the Championship
Douglas Motorsports came to Chula Vista International Raceway just twenty- one points out of first place in both PRO-2 and PRO-4. The followers of the 2006 edition of Championship Off-Road Racing are witnessing the closest points battles in its history. Scott Douglas knew that with only four rounds of racing left in the season, every championship point would be hard earned.
Saturday - Round 13
After Friday morning practice, Scott Douglas and chief engineer, Bill Smith spent sometime discussing tire choices for the afternoon race. The track officials were not watering the track as much as previous races, and the "blue groove" had developed in much of the track. The 'blue groove" refers to the tire rubber that the trucks wear into a hard packed dirt surface. The dirt in Chula Vista is the hardest the CORR series races on. This suddenly makes what was the fastest part of the track, now very slippery and slow. If a driver can find the right tire combination, they can make blue groove work to their advantage. With this thought in mind, Scott made the decision to run their Kumho Tires without any grooving. This would maximize the tire's footprint on the hard Chula Vista dirt with the hopes of getting holeshot when the green flag is dropped.
As the trucks were lining up, track officials decided to bring out the water trucks and put some moisture in the track. Within seconds, Scott realized he would need more grooving in his tires.
When the green flag fell, eighteen PRO-2 trucks headed for Turn One. The #7 Rancho Suspension AMSOIL Kumho Tire Ford F-150 came cleanly out of the first turn in seventh place. The water trucks had now made the track slimy and the drivers were taking different lines searching for dry portions of the track. On lap 9 the mandatory yellow flag came out and Scott was scored in seventh place. At this point the track was really drying out. A dry track was just what the #7 Ford F-150 needed. When racing resumed on lap 10, the drier track allowed Scott to use all the horsepower the ProPower engine could feed the Kumho Tires. When the checkered flag fell, Scott Douglas came home a hard earned fourth place.
"I made the choice and gambled on the tire setup. Unfortunately, when the water truck came out, I knew it wouldn't pay off on the start. As the track dried up, the tire combination began to pay off. We just ran out of laps before we could get to the front runners." - stated Scott Douglas.
The land rush start saw Scott in a similar predicament. The tire combination was more suited to a dry track, and once again, at the last moment, track officials put more water down on the track.
As the PRO-4 trucks came out of Turn One, Scott Douglas and his #7 AMSOIL Rancho Suspension Kumho Tire Ford F-150 were in sixth place. Again Scott was hoping the track would quickly dry out to take advantage of his tire setup. At the mid point of the race, the race became dry and "blue." Scott was able to push the #7 AMSOIL "Super Team" truck to its limits. By the end of lap 12, Scott worked his was into second place. On the final lap, #17 Renezeder ran his fastest lap of day, and slipped by Scott. At the checkered flag, Scott Douglas landed on the podium in third place.
"We learned some things about tire grooving today. I'll take responsibility for the tire choices today," commented Scott Douglas. "We will make some notes about our performance and setup, and file it away in our little black book. What was amazing was how well our Kumho Tires performed once the track dried out. I was really pushing our ProPower Engine and AMSOIL kept all our temperatures under control. Look for us to be back here tomorrow."
Sunday - Round 14
After filing away Saturday's tire grooving experiment as a lesson learned, Scott went back to a more aggressive tire pattern for the day's racing.
The start of Round 14 had Scott Douglas and his #7 Rancho Suspension AMSOIL Kumho Tire Ford F-150 grab the seventh spot as the field made it way down the front straightaway. By lap 3 Scott worked his way into fifth place. At the mandatory caution, Scott realized the battery failed and the truck was running only on the alternator. When the race resumed, the lack of electrical power caused the engine to run on six cylinders. Undaunted, Scott kept his place in the running order, all the way to the finish. In fact, the top six trucks ran nose to tail all the way to the checkered flag. During the final thirteen laps, the running order for the top six trucks never changed. Scott Douglas was awarded a well-fought fifth place.
"The battle for the PRO-2 championship is the closest in CORR history.," remarked Scott Douglas. " I think the top six drivers still have a shot at the title. At this pointing the season nobody's position (in the standings) is safe."
The start saw Scott Douglas and his #7 AMSOIL Rancho Suspension Kumho Tires Ford F-150 grab the hole shot. The next four laps saw #11 Cenni and # 22 Greaves challenge the #7 AMSOIL "Super Team" truck for the lead. On lap 5 Greaves made the pass stick, moving Scott to second place. Just after the mandatory caution period, #11 Cenni made an over aggressive move for position. This put Scott back to the fourth spot ,as #17 Renezeder also went past, while Scott gathered up his #7 Kumho shod truck. The next lap saw Cenni head to the penalty box for the contact with Scott. This put Scott into third place. At the finish it was #22 Greaves - first, #17 Renezeder - second, and #7 Scott Douglas - third.
" This AMSOIL Rancho Suspension Kumho Tire Ford F-150 is awesome. Yesterday we were a little off on our tire selection. Today we didn't have quite the right spring setup in the truck. But we're still on the podium. This was a learning experience with both our trucks this weekend. When we come back next month I know our competition will be ready, but so will Douglas Motorsports. Get your tickets now, because nobody will be holding back in the finals."- comments from Scott Douglas.
With fourteen of sixteen rounds of racing completed, Scott Douglas currently is in third place in the 2006 CORR PRO-4 championship standings. The top three drivers still have a shot at the PRO-4 championship.
In PRO-2 Scott Douglas is currently in sixth place, only twelve points out of lead. The top seven drivers still have a chance at the PRO-2 Championship.