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Watkins Glen: Jeff Courtney race report

GOOD INTENTIONS UP IN SMOKE Jeff Courtney Barely Survives Engine Trouble at Watkins Glen Watkins Glen, NY (June 8, 2008) -- The track was hot and humid as the drivers lined up for this Sunday's Speed World Challenge race at Watkins Glen, New...

GOOD INTENTIONS UP IN SMOKE
Jeff Courtney Barely Survives Engine Trouble at Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen, NY (June 8, 2008) -- The track was hot and humid as the drivers lined up for this Sunday's Speed World Challenge race at Watkins Glen, New York. The Woodhouse Performance Team was still pumped up after Utah's exciting finish, even after the news of a competition adjustment that was enacted on all of the Vipers just one day prior to practice. A 25% air intake restrictor was mandated. This left the teams scrambling to re-map the air-fuel ratios at the last minute and may have contributed to the engine woes that took a bite out of the teams' successes this weekend.

This news came unexpected, as the Vipers were not predicted to perform well Watkins Glen, a more Porsche friendly track. "We were surprised, but took it in stride, you do what you have to do," said Jeff Courtney, driver of the No. 99 Kenda/TJM IWM/MPI Coin Dodge Viper.

The team the lost an engine in practice in the No. 13 Foametix/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper car, driven by Tommy Archer, and Courtney's No. 99 car received a transmission replacement as well. "The problems were unexpected, but we had a good strategy in mind for Sunday's race," said Courtney.

Unfortunately, that strategy hit trouble before the end. After a good start, Courtney put the heat on the cars ahead of him until a miscalculation forced him into the marbles at turn 11 in the third lap. The No. 99 Kenda/TJM IWM/MPI Coin Dodge Viper brushed the wall and lost about seven positions. After getting the car back under control, Courtney charged hard to regain position. "When I brushed the wall, I knocked the alignment out of the car. I really got up on the wheel to make up the positions I lost, but the car just wouldn't handle the way it did at the start of the race. On the last lap, coming through the last set of turns, the engine let go, filling the car with smoke. I radioed to my crew chief Eric Messley that my engine just blew. He radioed back, saying 'Just get it to the checkered flag.' I told him that I couldn't see a thing through the smoke and he replied, 'You're in a straight line, just run it out!'" Courtney coasted past the checkered in a cloud of smoke, finishing in 13th place.

Starting in the third position, Archer advanced early to second, earning himself the Racing Electronics Holeshot Award. However, the No. 13 Foametix/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper was forced to retire early from the race when the engine quit in the 18th lap. Archer earned the race's fastest lap time in lap 9 with 1:56.903 and prior to engine trouble, ran nose to tail with winner Randy Pobst. Today's results were unfortunate for the Woodhouse Performance Team. "That's racing," team owner Bob Woodhouse commented. "When compared with other teams, we were fortunate. The Black ACS Mustang driven by Brandon Davis went down early also with engine problems after charging for second from his third place position; and in the Touring Car race the Bimmerworld team lost all three of their cars in a horrific crash. Fortunately no one received permanent injury."

"What doesn't hurt you makes you stronger; we've got a hard-working team at Woodhouse. We'll be back strong for Mid-Ohio in July," said Courtney.

Courtney remains in 6th place in the World Challenge Championship Points race.

-credit: jcr

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Series PWC
Drivers Tommy Archer , Randy Pobst , Bob Woodhouse , Brandon Davis , Jeff Courtney