PRIMETIME TAMES THE SNAKE August 24th, 2008 Grand Prix Of Mosport, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada- Whether it be a broken drive shaft, a sheared axle, electrical failure, or an unfortunate shunt, Primetime has been snake bit since March. After a...
PRIMETIME TAMES THE SNAKE
August 24th, 2008 Grand Prix Of Mosport, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada- Whether it be a broken drive shaft, a sheared axle, electrical failure, or an unfortunate shunt, Primetime has been snake bit since March. After a six race string of bad luck, Primetime Race Group takes their first official checkered since their 5th place, GT2 finish at Sebring earlier this year.
The privateer GT2 team owned and driven by Joel Feinberg showed up with a full schedule ahead of them when they crossed the border into Canada. The week started with a successful two day test with their tire partner, Hankook Tire USA, where they would narrow down a batch of experimental tires in search of a few extra seconds. The remainder of the week would be a game of ping pong as they would bounce back and forth between testing and qualifying in the GT2 Viper and their three support series IMSA Lites cars. Feinberg even squeezed in a charity game of ice hockey with fellow GT driver Mika Salo in the Ron Fellows-Mosport Hockey Challenge, in support of the Canada Hemophilia Society.
Back on the pavement, Chris Hall, co-driving the Viper had logged most of the laps on Thursday and Friday and would end up being the guinea pig in qualifying with an experimental tire developed by Hankook. After clicking off consistent times in the 1:20's, Hall began to dig a little deeper and see what the car could do in qualifying trim. Hall was on pace for a low 19 when his right rear suspension bottomed out sending him for a ride on the Dodge "Tilt-A-Whirl". By the time he stopped spinning, the tires had flat spotted so bad that he would have to scratch their 8th place qualifying position and start from the back with fresh tires.
Feinberg, racing two series simultaneously, was facing a difficult transition between the high down force of the Elan DP-02, and the bulky but powerful Dodge Viper. With races on Saturday and Sunday, Feinberg would find himself literally getting out of one car and into another. Regardless of the circumstances, he was able to juggle the different driving styles between the two and bring home back to back second place podium finishes in rounds 7 and 8 of the IMSA Lites Championship.
As the clouds rolled in Sunday afternoon the team had anticipated their first wet race in the Viper, and would have to make a last minute judgment call on starting tires. Luckily, after a light sprinkle, the clouds had cleared and it looked to be a dry race. After a clean start, Feinberg quickly began closing in on the two cars ahead, and looking to move into 8th. As usual, when the front running prototypes came around, the GT field would get split up and teams would have to compromise their line to cope with the lap traffic from behind.
Forty one minutes into the race, the first full course caution came out for a car in the wall at the bottom of turn two. Once the pits had opened, the #11 Viper had come in for fuel, tires, and a driver change. Co-pilot Chris Hall would take over the driver duties with hopes of getting the team back into the GT2 point's championship after a string of DFN's. He would manage to hold a "9th in class" position for over an hour and a half on the demanding slopes of the 2.5 mile course. With only 35 minutes remaining, the team would hope for another caution in order to put Feinberg back in the car to log his necessary thirty percent drive time.
As luck would NOT have it, the caution never came and crew chief Brent O'Neill made the decision to bring Hall back to the pits for a splash of fuel and a quick driver change. Feinberg would have to manage on double stinted tires for the last 30 minutes and hope to keep a hold of their position. At ten minutes to go in the race, the team was just six laps away from breaking out of a six month draught, and anxious to have a car in one piece for Detroit the following week. As Feinberg was clicking off consistent times in the 1.22's just trying to finish the race, he would give his teammates in the pits a scare that would give car chief Frank Parzych a few extra grey hairs.
While navigating a slick transition from pavement to concrete and back to pavement on the "twice crashed" turn two, Feinberg lost the rear end in a bout of over steer causing the car to snap back and send the Viper circling towards the inside wall. All the team could see of their car was the SPEED TV view on their pit monitors showing the car up against the wall unable to tell what kind of damage had been done. As luck WOULD have it, Feinberg managed to stop the car just inches from a hefty crash bill and pulled away with four flat spotted tires. Unable to safely finish the race on square tires he made it back to the pits for a tire change but would ultimately lose the 9th slot to the #46 Flying Lizard Porsche and cross the finish line a 10th place, points earning position.
"This is great day for Primetime, we have been under some kinda race-god, voo doo spell where we either got wrecked or broke some mysterious part. I'm really excited for my guys on the team who have never given up on the car and show up race after race to support me. I think this will be a turning point for Primetime and a great confidence builder going into the last three races. We have a few more development plans left in the bag for the Viper that we can hopefully bring into competition next week and maybe bring home a podium finish" said team owner Joel Feinberg.