TRV's Schroeder and Volk Persevere at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 14 - It was a tough day in Tom Volk and Jeret Schroeder's "mobile office" Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as the Toledo, Ohio-based TRV ...
TRV's Schroeder and Volk Persevere at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 14 - It was a tough day in Tom Volk and Jeret Schroeder's "mobile office" Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as the Toledo, Ohio-based TRV Motorsport team battled electrical problems throughout the U.S. Road Racing Championship (USRRC) two and one-half hour enduro during the Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic.
Volk, the only resident of Michigan in the race (Blissfield), and Schroeder, the only representative of New Jersey (Vineland), ended up seventh in the Can-Am class and 21st overall at the checkered. That was of course disappointing for the Supreme Exhaust System Products/Purity Farms team, which was coming off a podium finish at its last race, held at Homestead, Fla., on May 17, but at least they finished. Ironically the seventh in class was the same position the team finished in the series' biggest race of the year: the Rolex 24 of Daytona in Florida.
Electrical problems - one of the hardest problems to diagnose and repair - surfaced early in the race Sunday and plagued the team the entire event.
The good news is that the car was handling great, and if it just hadn't suffered from a lack of power the results would have been far better.
"That part was bittersweet, because when we had full power, our car was running closer to the Riley & Scotts and the Ferraris' lap times than it ever has," Volk noted. "That part was encouraging."
Volk was going to start the enduro but those plans changed and Schroeder actually took the green flag. Everything went well for awhile and he settled into the spot he'd qualified - 11th overall. About a half-hour into the event he radioed in that the car was losing power, however, and his lap times began to lengthen.
Schroeder pitted on lap 20 at 2:34 p.m. and the team removed some duct tape from the radiator to try to keep the engine cooler and make it run better. He went back out but the lack of power remained, and about a half-hour later he brought the car back into the pits.
At that point a small fire broke out at the back of the car and the crew discovered that some wires from the starter motor to the battery had melted. They pushed the car back to their garage area, and the Mike Madden-led team performed heroically as they rushed to make repairs. Volk was in the car ready to go before the cowling was even reinstalled, and about 7 minutes later the car roared back onto the track, now in 21st spot overall. It had to be push-started from that point on.
The problems weren't over, however, and Volk pitted several more times. During the course of the race the car's battery was changed four times and other attempts were made to solve the problem, but it persisted. Schroeder took another turn at the wheel in the later stages of the race, and he was driving when the team did indeed take the checkered.
"Oh well; that's racing!" was the consensus of all, but Volk was especially disappointed because this track is closest to the team headquarters and approximately 100 guests of three companies he owns - Ohio Belting and Transmission Co., Supreme Distribution Center and Specialty Sales - were in attendance to cheer the team on.
"We had overcome several problems during the course of the weekend, which is all par for the course, and John Greene [the team engineer] had come up with some aero changes which really helped," said Madden, the team's crew chief. "We had a comfortable car for them to drive and we were looking forward to a great day. We still don't know exactly what the problem was; we'll have to take everything apart and see what we find. It could be an electrical problem, a problem with the motor or some sort of mechanical problem that actually started the whole thing; we just don't know yet."
"It's too bad; I love this track and we all wanted to do really well here," said Schroeder. "It's a great track to drive, and if we'd just had more power we could have really done well."
Hopefully things will go better at the team's next race, the Sprint PCS Grand Prix of Minnesota June 28 on a street course in downtown Minneapolis. Schroeder's family is originally from that area, he has many family and friends there, and his father is involved in several businesses in the area - Summit Packaging, Display-Dynamics and Schroeder Moving Systems.