Sugar Hill, Ga (September 9, 2003) If the SpeedSport team has been on some kind of a roll this season with Roger Foo hanging tough in a tight points battle and Robert Baxter getting over early season DNFs, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca saw the wheels...
Sugar Hill, Ga (September 9, 2003) If the SpeedSport team has been on some kind of a roll this season with Roger Foo hanging tough in a tight points battle and Robert Baxter getting over early season DNFs, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca saw the wheels come off. To remain the top Mazda in points, Foo needed to take his #88 Protege to a top-ten finish at the track where he scored his first Touring Car victory in 2001. He was making headway from a thirteenth qualifying position only to have the engine let go on lap six while he was running in tenth. Baxter got roughed up on the start and for the second race in a row, suffered front end damage to his #86 Protege that required another heroic performance just to finish. Unfortunately, the events of the weekend took a big toll on the SpeedSport team which has been running on a tight budget and the season may be over for the Touring Car team.
Foo reeled in a fast lap of 1:45.187 during the race to show he was on the pace, but his eventual 35th place finish and DNF set him back one position in the points where he is now in fifth with 127. Baxter picked up one position in points and cracked the Top-20 as he moves into twentieth with 46.
ROGER FOO - No. 88 MAZDA PROTEGE (Qualify: 13th/Finish 35th):
"I don't think there is really much to talk about after this past weekend. With the lap times I was turning I should have been on the podium, but the engine let go and that was it. We've been racing on a tight budget this year and we didn't have the money to rebuild the engine before we came to Laguna so we knew we were on borrowed time. I don't think a top-five finish was out of the question at my home track and it is pretty disappointing to have not finished the race against a couple of my closest competitors in the points chase. We started the season real strong out of the box at Sebring, we have fantastic sponsors with great products who have been very good to us this year and the SpeedSport crew has worked real hard to get me where I am at this point in the season, but I think we're done. I would really like to get back to Road Atlanta because I had a great race there earlier this season and we'll have to see what happens."
ROBERT BAXTER - No. 86 MAZDA PROTEGE (Qualify: 18th/Finish 17th): "Things were going really well until qualifying. We put new tires on the Protege for qualifying and it understeered real bad. I also got caught up in some traffic and never really got a clean lap, but that is how it goes in Touring Car sometimes."
"At the start I got bumped by one of the BMWs behind me which turned me sideways into Elder and they just kind of pushed me down the track this way until I could get the car straightened out. The car got whacked so hard that the steering wheel was ninety degrees off from where it should have been and it ended up spraining my wrist. We measured the alignment after the race to find it toed-in almost an inch. I got knocked down the order early on, but I had a hell of a race with a few BMWs - especially James Clay - as I made my way back up through the cars. Over the last three or four laps the handling of the Protege really started going away and I had to take an aggressive line through the corners to hold my position. Although my finish doesn't look all that good, I have to be content with it since the car was so bad at the end of the race. Because of the setbacks we suffered this past weekend that will cost us money we don't have right now, we are going to have to regroup to see if we can do anymore races or if we are looking ahead to 2004. I hope we can continue because I would be hugely disappointed for Roger who has done so well this year."
Based in Sugar Hill, Ga, SpeedSport is sponsored by Mazda, H&R Special Springs, Advanced Clutch Technology, BBS wheels, StopTech, Cobalt Friction, Moton Shocks and LTB Motorsports.