NayKid Racing Overcomes Obstacles to Ride Momentum to Strong Finish PUYALLUP, Wash., December 11, 2007 - Hindsight being 20/20, it is easy to look back on the 2007 SPEED World Challenge GT season as a rousing success for Series rookie Cindi Lux...
NayKid Racing Overcomes Obstacles to Ride Momentum to Strong Finish
PUYALLUP, Wash., December 11, 2007 - Hindsight being 20/20, it is easy to look back on the 2007 SPEED World Challenge GT season as a rousing success for Series rookie Cindi Lux (Aloha, Ore.) and past winner Scotty B. White (Lake Tapps, Wash.). However, the momentum-building year was anything but certain at the team's Grand Prix of Long Beach debut in April. They struggled early to come to terms with the Dodge Viper Competition Coupes that differed significantly to the Dodge Viper SRT10 they used to dominate SCCA Club Racing in 2005 and 2006. The pair of multi-time Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) T1 class champions also picked the high-water mark of competition in the road-based but purpose built road racing series. Entries from Porsche, Corvette and the official Cadillac program set the bar high for everyone involved. The environment benefited high-dollar, factory-backed teams and challenged the privateer efforts like NayKid Racing. However, the Northwest-based program stayed focused and took advantage when the learning curve began to level. Once they had momentum they kept it and bettered their results every race to close the year with their best finishes of the season. Even more valuable than the results was the knowledge acquired throughout the demanding year.
Getting to know the new Dodge Viper Competition Coupes proved challenging. Poor weather in the Northwest had held pre-season testing to a minimum when the No. 2 Dodge/Mintex Brakes/MOMO Dodge Viper Comp. Coupe of Lux and the White's No. 3 Corsa Performance/Forgeline Dodge Viper Comp. Coupe unloaded at Long Beach. Both struggled on the street course never finding their rhythm with the V10-powered machines. From the frustrating, uncharacteristically poor result at the season-opener, the two sports car aces set-about righting their abbreviated season with the simple goal of improving at each event. Race Two at the pristine Miller Motorsports Park in Utah showed their potential. White would earn the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for most positions gained finishing 15th in the event. Meanwhile, Lux took the first of what would be two Piloti Rookie of the Race Awards for the highest finishing rookie driver, 11th. Even more rewarding was that, for the first time, the white, blue and orange machines were competitive against the field.
The pendulum continued to swing their way approaching the mid-point of their year. In a total of six World Challenge GT races NayKid entered, they never had a mechanical DNF (Did Not Finish) and fought their way into the top-15 of the ultra-competitive class 50% of the time. In fact, only once- Round Three in Toronto- did Lux and White fail to better the results from the event before. They rallied from the finishes of 16th for Lux and 18th for White at the Toronto course when they moved up the road to Mosport International Raceway. The super-quick, natural terrain road courses suited the front-engined Detroit supercar well. Both drivers ran in the top-10 of the race before White fell back on a drying race track with rain tires on his Viper and Lux surged forward with dry-weather tires. Lux ended the day in 11th- made even more impressive in that she started dead last from pit lane after a last minute change to dry-weather rubber- while White fell to 15th as the track dried under his rain tires. The popular team gave notice to its speed.
The last pair of events came at two of North America's best known and quickest tracks; Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Atlanta race again showed the potential of this NayKid Racing organization as both White and Lux were impressively quick qualifying in the top-10 for the first time. However, like Mosport, rain would have the deciding vote on the finishing order. White crashed heavily when a sudden rain storm flooded the course while he was running towards the front. In the ensuing confusion, Lux made a brilliant pit stop for rain tires which moved her as high as sixth late in the race. However, confusing and contrary officiating dropped her, and those who had wisely pitted, to the back of the cars on course when the SCCA called for a red flag but allowed cars to be worked on in pit lane. Despite the frustration of what should have been a much higher result, Lux 13th, White 17th, the suburban Atlanta track proved the team's mettle.
The Laguna Seca round would be as competitive as any race for the team in 2007. Without rain or red flags determining the standings Lux and White each shined. White would take his, and the team's, highest finish of the season: eighth. Lux walked away with her second Rookie of the Race Award as a result of her season-best matching 11th.
Despite entering the season with few expecting Lux or White to challenge the established operations, NayKid Racing again withstood the barrage of naysayers demonstrating that their "Club" program could compete in professional GT racing. NayKid Racing proved that it deserves its place in World Challenge. Improving every weekend and being able to ride the surge of momentum from event to event is not a simple task, especially for a team new to class. However, the NayKid Racing program never let-up, lost focus or the passion to succeed. By the time Lux and White arrived at the season-finale, they had made it through the school of hard knocks still standing and still improving. No easy assignment in a sport as competitive as the SCCA SPEED World Challenge.
Cindi Lux, Driver, No. 2: "With our success in T1 racing the past four years it was a natural move for us to head to World Challenge. We weren't naive enough to think we would walk into this new showcase arena and be battling for a podium position. There is too much talent both in drivers and teams in this series to think otherwise. Our knowledge with the SRT10 Vipers did help in a small way but we immediately realized how much more we had to learn. Got to be honest, the first half of the year was all about learning but, towards the end of the season, we started to wrap our hands around the Vipers handling. It also helped that the SCCA woke-up and realized our cars were at a disadvantage compared to other makes. So with a few small rule changes for our Dodge Viper Comp. Coupes and our team really starting to gel, our on- track performance started to soar."
Scotty B. White, Driver, No. 3: "I guess it was a tough year that taught our team a lot! After kicking ass and taking names in T1 and the success we had in SPEED GT even as recently as three years ago, we had hoped for better results early on I think. Once we jumped in we knew right away we were in the deep- end of the talent pool for drivers, teams and technology here. Of course Fred and the guys just put their heads down and did the work necessary to make us successful. It started to show at Mosport and finally revealed itself at Laguna Seca. This Series is tough and the drivers are standing on the gas hard for 50 minutes start to finish. We really enjoyed ourselves and can't wait for the next opportunity to stand on the gas again!"