GOOD START TO SEASON LOST AT SEBRING Courtney Gets Double-Duty at Historic Sebring Sebring, FL, March 20, 2009 -- The 2009 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge racing season opened at the famous Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring this last weekend...
GOOD START TO SEASON LOST AT SEBRING
Courtney Gets Double-Duty at Historic Sebring
Sebring, FL, March 20, 2009 -- The 2009 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge racing season opened at the famous Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring this last weekend with veteran driver Jeff Courtney competing in the #99 KENDA Tires Viper Competition Coupe. Even though the Woodhouse Performance Team had spent many hours during the off-season preparing for the 2009 season, they were met with frustration during practice runs and qualifying. The Woodhouse Team struggled to get the chassis set up on the #99 KENDA Tires Viper, battling a strong front-end push. Ultimately, Courtney qualified a dismal 16th place starting position. "After qualifying, we spent hours pouring over the data to find more changes to make before the race to make us competitive," said Courtney, "The whole team worked very hard to come up with a solution."
At the green light, Courtney had a great start and picked up a few positions, but early in the race had a quick spin in turn 17. "I was still frustrated with the way the car was handling and tried to force the issue. Very upset with myself after the spin, I knew I needed to clear my head and stay focused the rest of the race," said Courtney. "I did manage to pick up a few more positions, but I knew we would need a yellow flag to tighten the field." A late race double yellow set up the field for its first ever double-file restart. "The field started to accordion up, it was crazy," said Courtney. "I was just looking for a hole and trying to stay out of trouble." Courtney received a slight nose-hit during the restart shuffle, others suffered more. "I felt fortunate that all we had was a little ding to the nose, for others it was worse," said Courtney. "The series was searching for more action, and with the double-file restarts, they found it!" Courtney finessed his way through the field and gained a few more positions and remained strong during the last five laps to finish in fifth place overall and received the Sunoco Hard Charger award, a great end to a frustrating few days.
However, the post-race technical inspection of the #99 KENDA Viper Competition Coupe found that the front axle was six pounds under weight, disqualifying Courtney's position and awards.
Earlier in the day, Courtney had an opportunity to race in the Touring Car competition thanks to Peter Cunningham and the RealTime Acura Racing Team. Courtney drove the #45 Acura TSX Acura/RealTime/Red Line Oil finishing 10th overall. "I want to thank Peter Cunningham for the opportunity to drive one of his cars, I had a great time and I really enjoyed the experience," said Courtney.
A half-hour before the TC qualifying, Cunningham approached Courtney about racing the #45 car. "I had almost zero experience in a front-wheel drive touring car and I was a little hesitant," said Courtney. "But then I realized that if I was ever going to drive one, the best case scenario would be one of RealTime's cars." Cunningham, in the #1 Acura TSX Acura/RealTime/Red Line Oil finished 9th, just ahead of Courtney. "Yeah, I did the politically correct thing and finished behind the eight-time champion/boss," joked Courtney.
"We had a new co-driver with Jeff (Courtney) on the team named David Welch who drove for Numerix, a new sponsor to our series. This was Dave's first race professionally in about four years so we were proud of how well he jumped back on the horse with a 7th place finish." Said Bob Woodhouse owner of Woodhouse Performance. Welch drove the number #13 car for Woodhouse Performance.
If excitement is what you want, find it in the SPEED World Challenge series. Go to www.world-challenge.com to get race times for SPEED TV and www.goracetv.com for other video options. Sign up for World Challenge Fantasy Racing. Next is the famous Long Beach Grand Prix in the streets of Long Beach, California April 16-19, 2009.