Reliability is key in York Autmotive SpecMiata top-ten finish.
Winning requires no explanation. Ask a winning team how their race went, and you'll have a pretty short conversation. "Howdja do?" "We won." "Cool."
Stroll on down to the second-place paddock, however, and you'll generally be treated to a long, detailed story about why the team didn't get to carry the checkered flag that day. All racers are very, very good at the story part. Better, sometimes, than at the racing part. And the deeper you go into the field, the more lavish and apocryphal the stories become. No relying upon the old standards here - "The sun was in my eyes; the dog ate my homework." No, deep in the field is where you find the true *raconteurs.*
The York Autmotive SpecMiata of Bad Al Bell, Steve Shap and Pete cage finished sixth in class at this year's Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point. As you may imagine, there's a story to be told.
The drivers brought together a combined 35 years of enduro experience for the maiden endurance voyage of Bad Al's Spec Miata. The car had already proven itself in sprint trim, and preparations for the 12-hour went fairly smoothly. The first hint of trouble appeared during Friday qualifying, when the car proved to be some three seconds off its usual pace. "We tried to hunt the problem down overnight, but couldn't find anything," said Pete Cage. The team hoped that the morning warm-up session would provide meaningful testing time, but a wet warm-up session did not provide any new information. As soon as the race started, it quickly became apparent that the car was significantly off song.
Thus began one of the longest sprint races that any of the drivers could recall. "It was maddening," Pete said afterward. "I'd get a run on another SM through Ten, draft up and pop out and then just watch them motor away; sometimes pulling 6 or 7 carlengths down the straight." The reliability of the stout little Miata, however, allowed the team to run the car hard without worry of breakage. "Except for driver changes and fuel, our crew was like the Maytag repairmen. I think we spent more time on food than on pitstops," Al remarked.
The weather and slippery conditions helped to level the playing field somewhat, but much of that advantage was negated by a few bad breaks with full-course yellows and Safety Car timing. The team never gave up, though. The Amazing Crew tackled pitstops with their usual gusto, and the drivers pressed hard. After running as low as 37th at the end of the first hour, the team rallied to finish 11th overall and sixth in SM.
The drivers of both York Automotive teams would like to recognize The Amazing Crew: Jim McGuire, Peter Ryba, Jeffrey Manchester, Dustin Runion, Mike Collins, Chris Tamburo, Lori Cage, Vivre Bell, Mary Jo York, Wendy Collins, Martha Gorgone, and Noone.
The team would also like to thank Mazdasports, Olympic Auto Parts, Hella, and Radial Tire Company for their support.
As for its plans for 2004, "Next year? We'll get 'em next year."