HOMESTEAD, Fla., March 2 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J. posted the best qualifying result in TRV Motorsport's history of Grand-American Road Racing Association competition Friday afternoon at the Homestead-Miami Speedway when he ...
HOMESTEAD, Fla., March 2 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J. posted the best qualifying result in TRV Motorsport's history of Grand-American Road Racing Association competition Friday afternoon at the Homestead-Miami Speedway when he qualified fifth for tomorrow's Rolex Series Nextel 250.
He qualified both fifth overall and fifth in the top class, SportsRacer Prototype, when he turned the 2.4-mile road course at an average speed of 118.918 mph in the Supreme Exhaust System Products/Racer Parts Wholesale Riley & Scott Chevy #95. His co-driver is the Toledo, Ohio-based team's owner, Tom Volk of Blissfield, Mich.
In addition to Supreme Exhaust System Products, Racer Parts Wholesale and The Schroeder Group, the team is being sponsored by three Florida companies this weekend: Purity Products of Miami; Graph to Graphics of Pompano Beach and Grout Perfect of Fort Lauderdale. Purity Products expects to have approximately 90 guests on hand here tomorrow to cheer on Schroeder and Volk. (One of those guests will be distinguished restaurateur Oliver Saucy, culinary director and co-owner of Darrel & Oliver's Cafe Maxx in Pompano Beach, Fla. and the East City Bistro restaurant in Delray Beach, Fla.)
The Dyson Riley & Scott Ford of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger won the pole for tomorrow's race, which will be shown live on Speedvision beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.
Schroeder, whose parents live in North Palm Beach, Fla., is one of two Indy Racing drivers competing here this weekend. The other is John Paul Jr. Schroeder expects to be behind the wheel of an Indy car when the Indy Racing Northern Light Series visits Homestead on April 8.
The TRV Motorsport team consists almost entirely of volunteers and is one of the series' top privateer teams. It does not have the budget of the factory-backed teams and doesn't concentrate on qualifying, preferring instead to focus on trying to develop a car that will still be running at the checkered.
The Homestead-Miami Speedway has been good to the team. It was the site of a podium finish for Schroeder and Volk in 1998 when they finished fifth overall and third in the top class here.
Schroeder missed last year's Homestead sports car endurance race when it fell on the same weekend as practice for the Indy 500, but Ross Bentley substituted for him and he and Volk finished fifth in class here that day.
"Everything is going well; the car is running well and I really like this track," Schroeder said after qualifying Friday. "I've driven two-liter cars here and Atlantics here and I consider it one of my hometown tracks since my parents live in North Palm Beach. I really like Homestead!
"It's a two-and-a-half hour event and they all better be there at the end, or I'm going to be in front of them!" he added enthusiastically.
Volk was also very happy. "We're doing great so far!" he said. "We're still adjusting the aero package and downforce and trying to decide what's the best overall package, but fifth on the grid is the highest we've ever been. We're only a couple tenths off fourth and not too far off of second and third either. The car is working well, Jeret is driving great as always and Todd Hertel's Chevy engine is performing well. Jeret likes this oval stuff!"
(The Nextel 250 is being staged on a 2.4-mile road course that incorporates the track's oval speedway and infield road course. Schroeder and Volk's Riley & Scott is powered by a Chevy engine prepared by Todd Hertel of Hertel's Racing Engines, Spartansburg, S.C.)
On Thursday afternoon Schroeder and Volk both participated in a question-and-answer session for area elementary school children at Homestead which was organized by the track's hard-working PR director, J.J. O'Malley. The children were primarily from elementary schools in Leisure City and Florida City.
One of the youngsters asked Schroeder what he thinks about when he's trying to pass a car in front of him.
"I think, 'Get out of my way!' " Schroeder said with a grin, raising his arm in animation.
Since he's the team owner as well as a driver, Volk was asked how he finds pit crew members.
"We look for people who can still work hard when things are going wrong," he said. "There isn't much time during a pit stop, and sometimes things do go wrong. We need people who can think quickly and solve problems quickly.
"TRV Motorsport is very lucky because our crew members are all excellent," he added. "They have been together for quite awhile, they're all friends and they all work well together. We all try our best and we all work hard, and if you do that in school or at the racetrack, you'll be successful." -Linda Mansfield