Marybeth Harrison report 98-08-24

FIVE IN A ROW FOR TEAM FOUNTAIN TIRE August 24th, 1998 Seattle, WA -- The Fountain Tire Racing team headed south of the border this weekend to Seattle International Raceway where they came away with their 5th straight win in a row. The ...

FIVE IN A ROW FOR TEAM FOUNTAIN TIRE August 24th, 1998

Seattle, WA -- The Fountain Tire Racing team headed south of the border this weekend to Seattle International Raceway where they came away with their 5th straight win in a row.

The excitement started on Saturday when Harrison was clocked with one of the best times of the day. Unfortunately however, some bugs were still being worked out in the new track timing system and none of Saturday's times were officially recorded.

"I was upset," Harrison explains. "Here we'd posted a really good lap time -- in fact, as far as we knew, only one other driver in our class had gone faster -- and was so excited to see the qualifying sheet. But I started to get worried when the sheet still hadn't come through from timing and scoring half, then an hour, then 2 hours after qualifying. We ended up leaving the track in the hopes that the times would show up by the time we got back in the morning. No such luck. By Sunday morning, we were informed that we would have to re-qualify. The down side was that the track was cold, my tires were cold and the car was cold. We were the first group out on the track at 9:05 and we couldn't even start our engines to get them warm until 9:00. With only a 10 minute qualifying session, we not only had to get the car (and driver!!) warmed up but also try to get a decent time. My crew chief [Marty Knoll of MK Technologies] told me to forget about any times we may have lost and just concentrate on what we had to do in this session."

Knoll's advice paid off and at the end of the short session, Harrison had managed to post a 1.28.841 placing her 1st in her class (Formula Ford) and 4th overall (the class was made up of a mix of 36 Formula Mazda, Formula 2000, Club Fords, Formula Fords and even a Formula Atlantic).

After qualifying however, it started to rain and by the time of the race at 12:15pm the entire field had switched to rain tires.

"There was a delay in getting the race started." Harrison explains. "And it looked at one point like the track was going to dry out. The officials came by and asked each team if they wanted to switch to slicks but we all elected to stay on rains. It was a good thing too because while parts of the track did start to dry out towards the end of the race, it was pretty much a wet race."

The green flag dropped after one pace lap (none of the cars had been able to practice on their rain tires) and the field took off into a mist of spray.

Harrison describes what took place on the first lap: "Marty had explained to me that the winged cars [e.g. Formula Mazda, F2000 and Atlantic car] would just take off at the start, leaving our Formula Fords to battle it out behind so I was surprised when they slowed considerably in Turn 2. It took me a moment to realize that I actually had enough traction to drive around them. By Turn 3 I was in the lead of the entire field. It was unbelievable! I went down the back straight thinking that the crew were going to be pretty surprised when I came onto the straight away in first!"

Crew chief Knoll attributes Harrison's rain driving skill to the number of wet Vancouver races where Harrison has been able to get comfortable with the Goodyear rains.

From there Harrison drove a conservative race until Wade Gaughran of Auburn made a pass for the lead about 2/3rds of the way through the race.

"I saw him coming," explains Harrison "But just assumed he was one of the winged cars. I had no intention of racing with him since that class of cars are typically about three to four seconds faster and there was no point in dicing. But when he went by I saw the "FF" (standing for Formula Ford) at the side of the car and realized that he was actually in my class! Then I had to really turn things up to not only catch him but pass him back."

After several back and forth passes, Harrison made a final pass and drew away to take the checkered flag.

"I didn't expect to do that well at all." States Harrison. "We had raced some of these guys at Mission Raceway Park in Vancouver Canada a month or so ago, and they were quite a bit faster. I really didn't think we'd come down to their home track and walk away with a win. It was pretty exhilarating."

The win marks the 5th in a row for Fountain Tire Racing (although these points do not go towards the CFDA championship).

Very special thanks to Crew Chief Marty Knoll of MK Technologies and Al Towers both of Kelowna, BC who worked until midnight Friday changing gears to have the car ready for Saturday.

Thank you also goes to Marybeth's sponsors:

- Fountain Tire - Goodyear - Promotions Unlimited - Pro.Net Communications - Drivers Edge - Pennzoil - Chevron

For more information, contact Mach One Racing at 604 939 7333 or visit the Mach One Racing web site at http://www.mach1-racing.com.

Marybeth's next CFDA race is August 25/26th at Mission Raceway Park. Her next PPG Pace Car driver CART race is October 3/4th at Houston

Going into Race 6 of the CFDA Championship, points are as follows (as of August, 1998):

178 Marybeth Harrison 151 Michael Lensen 145 Olov Brandfors 77 Randy Mainwood 55 Dave McKay 49 Joe Pruskowski 30 Coley Tipton 28 Felim Power 27 Wally Trueman 26 Jason Cross 25 Alan Long 25 Daryle Redlin 24 Marty Knoll 23 Keith Frieser 1 Brian Westerlund

About the Fountain Tire Racing car:

Class: Formula Ford Chassis: Swift Year: 1993 Engine: 1600 cc pushrod Horsepower: 110 Top Speed: 140 mph/ 210 kph.

Harrison is currently working on raising sponsorship for a national pro series in the United States in 1999. -- Mach One Racing: 604 939 7333 http://www.mach1-racing.com

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Joe Pruskowski , Wade Gaughran , Keith Frieser