Mid-Ohio: Primetime Racing race report

SAME BROKEN PARTS, SAME OLD SONG FOR PRIMETIME--. July 19th, 2008 Mid Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, Ohio- After a successful weekend in Limerock Park where the Primetime Viper finished 10th in class, the Bad News Bears took their game ...


July 19th, 2008 Mid Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, Ohio- After a successful weekend in Limerock Park where the Primetime Viper finished 10th in class, the Bad News Bears took their game to Lexington Ohio for the Acura Sport Car Challenge with high expectations. Unfortunately, with no previous set up data, the team would have to spend each practice tuning the car to an unfamiliar track.

At the start of the weekend the lap times were well off the pace of the front runners, but after several adjustments to the dampeners, sway bars, and Hankook tires, the Viper became more compliant to the off camber turns and the time gap started to narrow. When it was time for qualifying, the Primetime duo of Feinberg and Hall had managed to see some competitive lap times against a strong GT2 field. Their final qualifying time of 1:24.9 would find the Viper only seconds off the pace, but at the back of a long line of fast cars. On race day it was team owner and driver Joel Feinberg who would take the green flag. After a great start and keeping intact with the field ahead for the first 5 laps, the team began to see signs of hope for its privateer effort. Unfortunately once the anticipated LMP field came around, the GT pack would get separated corner by corner giving way to the faster and more nimble prototypes.

As the race started to settle into its flow, the #11 Viper found its rhythm and made its way into 10th position with just less than two hours remaining. As the track became greasy and dirty, the untamed attitude of the front engine beast had become a handful in the brake zones and corners. While approaching the off camber turn 9, Feinberg had lost grip in the brake zone trying to trail into the apex and ended up stuck in the gravel trap for two laps and drop back into the 11th position.

After a full course caution to get the car back on course Feinberg pulled into the pits where the team would take fuel, tires, and a driver change. Co-driver Chris Hall quickly caught back with the pace car and after a restart would begin his effort to get the Viper back into its slot prior to the spin. Within a few laps, Hall was back in position but it wouldn't last, the Viper would sustain a broken half shaft in the left rear, (the hardest working corner on the car) due to the wheel spin and amount of torque created by the V10 motor. Hall would come to rest only four corners short of pit lane and be pulled into an off track access area where crew chief Brent O'Neill thought the car would remain for the race.

Due to miscommunication between IMSA officials and corner workers, there was a glimmer of hope that the car was being brought back to the paddock and that the team would have a chance on returning to the track. Having been in this position before, O'Neill knew the rules regarding working on the car outside of the pits but what he was hearing over the IMSA scanner as well as what the corner workers were telling Hall caused some uncertainty. Without hesitation he immediately rallied the team to once again repair the Viper in an effort to get back in the race. While in their garage an IMSA official stood close by, watching while the dedicated crew led by car chief Frank Parzych stripped the broken parts. The men of Primetime were not going to take no for an answer, two bodies were plugged into the wheel well while impact guns, hammers, and other specific tools were used to replace the broken pieces. With less than five minutes from the cut off time of being able to complete at least 70% of the required time to be eligible for championship points, Feinberg suited up and strapped in while the team finished the job.

Once again the "never say die" team had done the unthinkable, the car was fixed and on its way back to pit lane hoping to have made it on time. As Feinberg pulled into his pit box he was stopped by their pit lane official and was told the car could not return to the race as it had already been retired once the driver log had been turned in earlier when the car was thought to be stranded. Due to the confusion and miscommunication while a race was still running, crew chief Brent O'Neill was misled by mixed messages over the radio. Without a clear answer at the time, the decision was made to use all means necessary to get back on track and hope for the best. Unfortunately the teams efforts would go to waste and the #11 car would sit in pit lane for the remainder of the race as drivers Feinberg and Hall sat in their pit watching from the TV.

"This is another disappointing race for the whole team, we work as hard as we can day in and day out to get here and for some reason our only luck is bad luck" said Feinberg. "I've been very patient for the first half of the season but now we're running out of races and we can afford to not be there when the checkered is waved. I haven't lost hope that this program will succeed and we will continue take our lickin's until we do".

-credit: prg

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Chris Hall , Joel Feinberg