Southwest Racers Group: Satisfied with Race Results at Laguna Seca An 18th place finish was in store for Ernie Becker and Mike Halpin in the GS KONI Challenge race at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, May 20th. Becker and Halpin moved up...
Southwest Racers Group: Satisfied with Race Results at Laguna Seca
An 18th place finish was in store for Ernie Becker and Mike Halpin in the GS KONI Challenge race at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, May 20th. Becker and Halpin moved up seven positions from their grid starting spot of 25th in the No. 11 Southwest Racers Group BMW M3.
The race got off to a good start with sunny skies, cold, and clear conditions. Becker was first to start in the No. 11 BMW. The team was going into the event with a race strategy where Becker would give it his all for a short stint in the car, than Halpin would jump in and race till the finish. But there is no crystal ball in racing. Early in the race a yellow caution flag came out and Becker felt the car's handling turn south with an under steer. The team was able to take advantage of the yellow and Becker drove into pit lane for a shock adjustment and a quick splash of fuel. With the unexpected fuel stop Becker was able to drive a longer than planned stint and turned 47 laps before he handed the BMW over to Halpin.
"We really struggled with the under steer today. We didn't have this problem in the morning warm up, so we must of broke something inside the suspension or the car went out of alignment" said Becker. "Then to have the power steering pump go out early really compounded the problem during the first yellow" Becker turned the car over to Halpin at the one hour twenty five minute mark with no car damage.
While Halpin was on track he was able to keep the car out of trouble and adjusted to the car's stubborn handling. During Halpin's stint the car was racing toward a finish just outside of a top-ten, but a false scare with the oil temp dropped the car back to 18th place. "We learned a lot today, on and off the track" said Halpin. "We have a steep learning curve, but I'm confident my Crew Chief John DiSanto will make this work."
"Halpin did great out there. The car was not easy to drive at all but he was able to pass some key cars for position during the last half of the race," Becker said. "I would like to stay with SRG, the team is still relatively new but they are growing in the right direction. I really want to thank Tom Malloy of Trench Shoring Company for helping me out with my race career and also TPN and Red Line Technique."
With another race finish under the team's belt, SRG will be heading home to Arizona to prepare for their next scheduled race at Mid-Ohio on June 23rd.