WINDHAM, Ohio, Sept. 3 - Just about everyone who follows the SCCA D-Sports Racer division will be anxious to see the brand-new Merloy DSR when it is unloaded from the Merloy Racing transporter at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the SCCA...
WINDHAM, Ohio, Sept. 3 - Just about everyone who follows the SCCA D-Sports Racer division will be anxious to see the brand-new Merloy DSR when it is unloaded from the Merloy Racing transporter at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the SCCA Valvoline Runoffs Sept. 14-21.
No one will be more interested than Al Beasley Jr., however.
Although he's never even seen the car before, Beasley plans to drive the car that has the DSR world buzzing at the Runoffs later this month.
What's more, he thinks his chances for a good finish are "very good."
Beasley, of Windham, Ohio, won both the C- and D-Sports Racer national championships three years ago. In the 15 years that he's been racing DSR, he's finished on the podium at the Runoffs at Mid-Ohio many, many times.
The Lexington, Ohio road course is the 42-year-old driver's home track, as it was for his father before him.
But why is he feeling so positive about this year's effort when he's never even seen his race car before?
"Well, for one thing, they have spared no expense on certain things, like good engines," Beasley says. "They went out and got a Loyning's Yamaha R1, which is a very good engine.
"I'm under contract with Hoosier tires, so we'll have the best tires available to use," he continued.
"But the most important thing is the people behind this car," he added. "With Alan's [Mertens] engineering and race car background, and Al Unser Jr. and Travis Duder giving them good insight on things, I'm sure we'll have a good package."
Merloy Racing is owned by renown engineer Alan Mertens, who builds the DSRs from designs drafted by Galmer, Inc. Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is also a part-owner, and he's driven the car in private tests. The third owner is Mike Maloy, a successful constructor company executive.
Duder has won the SCCA national championship in DSR five times and has about 20 years of experience in the class. He shook down the car that Beasley will drive recently at Sandia Motorsport Park near Merloy Racing's headquarters in Albuquerque, N.M., and came away very impressed.
"I have no doubt that this will be a very competitive package," Duder said. "I was to sort out the car that they'll have at the Runoffs, but its handling performance was pretty much spot-on right out of the box," he said.
Beasley said that the deal to drive the Merloy DSR in its maiden race came unexpectedly.
"This year I've been working on building my own new car, so I was going to sit this year out," he said. "I didn't want to do that, but I didn't see any other way.
"Then at the June Sprints at Road America, the Merloy team was there," he continued. "A friend of mine, Tom Robertson, introduced me to Alan Mertens. We talked about a few things, and came up with this plan."
No matter what happens at the Runoffs, the inside buzz is that the Merloy is the car to have in D-Sports racing. The car that Beasley will drive at Mid-Ohio is for sale, as is another Merloy that will be on display at Racer Parts Wholesale's trailer in Mid-Ohio's paddock area.
For more information, contact Tom Volk, the car's exclusive distributor, at (419) 535-5665, ext. 117, or Mertens at (505) 247-3222.