USAR: Joel Kauffman 2004 season review

Kauffman Doesn't Let Bad Luck Mar His Season Grabs First Pro Cup Win at Salem, As Team LA West Steps Up Their Game MOORESVILLE, NC (December 14, 2004) -- It must have been that dreaded "sophomore jinx" that ruled Joel Kauffman's season in USAR...

Kauffman Doesn't Let Bad Luck Mar His Season
Grabs First Pro Cup Win at Salem, As Team LA West Steps Up Their Game

MOORESVILLE, NC (December 14, 2004) -- It must have been that dreaded "sophomore jinx" that ruled Joel Kauffman's season in USAR ProCup Racing.

Kauffman had the skills behind the wheel of the #44 LA West Luxury Vehicles car, as he proved that be winning his first ProCup race early in the season at Salem. He also had good equipment, a talented leader in crew chief Timmy Kohuth and a solid team around him.

What he usually did not have though was luck. Well, he had plenty of luck actually, but it rarely was the good kind. Still, Kauffman is not about to let that get him down because he knows what his team was capable of.

"We are not the happiest with the season, but we can look back at the good points," said Kauffman. "When something wasn't going wrong, we had a fast car.

"I can only remember a couple of races where the handling of the car was off," said Kauffman. "Setup wise, we've got that figured out. Some of the finer details will get us over the top next year."

In only his second year on the tour, Kauffman and his team showed that they were a top shelf operation in 2004. One race where everything went according to plan was in June when Kauffman returned to his home state of Indiana for the 250-lap event at the Salem Speedway. The weekend started out murky. Qualifying was rained out and practice was limited by the weather. But once the race started, Kauffman worked his way up from his tenth-place starting spot to the lead with 38 laps to go. From there, he was untouchable and won the event by a margin of two laps.

This was easily the highlight of Kauffman's year and something he won't ever forget.

"It meant a lot to me," Kauffman said while recalling the race. "If we thought back to the whole season, if we weren't able to count that win in, it would have been a disaster season. It would have been the worse of my career. That win did a lot to our year. I don't' know how we'd feel now if we can't say we didn't win a race. And if we were going to win any race this year, that would have been the one to win. That is what we consider our home track with the series where we have a little bit of a fan base. It was pretty special."

Another bright spot in the season was the working relationship that Kauffman developed with crew chief Kohuth. The combination of desire and enthusiasm behind the wheel and experience on top of the pit box made for a great pairing.

"Timmy was able to teach me a lot," said Kauffman. "Every position you could be in, he's been there at least once. There was never a position we were in this year that he didn't know how to get us out of. Setup wise, he always had the answer to every little problem we had with the car. The biggest problem was he was able to help us identify where the problems were, if it was with the motor or shock package or front clip. He could analyze and he taught me a lot. What to look for and what to feel and how to fix it."

The LA West team is already looking forward towards the 2005 season and trying to learn from this past year.

"We had some good points and some bad points this year," said Kauffman. "Unfortunately, I think we had more bad than good. We also were able to notice and what led to some of those problems and what we can do to fix them for next year. This is the time to look everything over and see what we have to do to make next year a better year. The season wasn't exactly what we wanted, but we learned a lot."

Kauffman and the LA West team have competed in the full season of USAR ProCup Northern Division racing in 2004. They scored their first series victory earlier this year at Salem Speedway (IN).

-joelkauffman.com

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Series Stock car
Drivers Joel Kauffman