Alton, VA (September 17)- In only their first year of competition, Team Amick Motorsports captured the team championship in the Super Grand Sport (SGS) class of the Motorola Cup North American Street Stock Championship Series on Sunday at the ...
Alton, VA (September 17)- In only their first year of competition, Team Amick Motorsports captured the team championship in the Super Grand Sport (SGS) class of the Motorola Cup North American Street Stock Championship Series on Sunday at the Virginia International Raceway.
Thanks to dominating performances earlier in the season, including five wins in their previous nine events, team owner David Amick and road-racing veteran Joe Varde, who share driving duties in the No. 50 Team Amick / Grant-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Viper, needed only to start Sunday's Virginia Fall Classic to claim the Super Grand Sport Class title. Qualifying sixth for Sunday's event, the duo went on to finish third in the final race of the 2000 Motorola Cup season.
In addition to winning the SGS team title, Varde and Amick finished first and second in the SGS Driver's Points Chase, with Varde barely edging out his young teammate to claim the driver's championship.
Of winning the title in only their "rookie" season, Varde said, "It was really a dream season for David (Amick), the team and myself. We were very lucky to win the title, especially after we started the year with a new car. Some of the other teams had a few problems, and that allowed us to step up and take advantage of their difficulties. I'm proud to be a part of such a wonderful team, and to end the season as the champions is a special feeling."
The SGS championship is the first road-racing title for the Charlotte, NC, based Team Amick Motorsports. The team, which also fields cars for driver Lyndon Amick, David Amick's younger brother, in the NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing) Busch Series Grand National Division (NBS), won the NASCAR Goody's Dash Touring Series title in 1996.
The driving combination of Varde and Amick is truly a case of age and experience pairing with youth and enthusiasm. Whereas Varde has amassed over 50 event wins in his long and storied road-racing career, David Amick's first road-racing start came at the Motorola Cup season-opener in Daytona back in February of this year.
Despite Amick's lack of experience on the challenging road courses that make up the Motorola Cup circuit, Varde says that his teammate drove like a seasoned veteran to help capture the championship for Team Amick Motorsports.
"I believe I had more confidence in David (Amick) than he did in himself," said Varde. "After seeing a few test sessions with David behind the wheel, I knew we had a real shot at this year's title. He has a determination and a concentration about him that can't be taught and I knew that, with a little guidance, he would be a driver to be reckoned with."
Amick's driving skills were on display in not one, but two different entries in Sunday's Virginia Fall Classic. Not only did Amick help lead the No. 50 car to a third-place finish, he also shared driving duties, along with Scott Hoerr, in the No. 53 Team Amick Dodge Viper. Qualifying seventh for Sunday's four-hour endurance event, the Amick / Hoerr duo scored a second-place finish on the day.
Amick is quick to give Varde credit for helping him develop into a competitive road-racer in such a short period of time. Amick says that Varde has been the kind of mentor that every driver would be honored to have in their corner, and the two teammates have developed a strong bond off the track as well.
"Joe's (Varde) flattened the learning curve for myself and this team immeasurably," Amick believes. "Not only do he and I have a great racing relationship, we've become great friends as well, and I know that's helped us on the track. He knows what it takes to win championships, which is evident by his list of accomplishments, and he instilled a belief in myself and this team that we were capable of contending for the win at every race we've entered."
While Varde and Amick are proud of their on-track endeavors, the two believe they've done their best work off the track during the 2000 Motorola Cup season. Earlier this year, Team Amick entered into a new partnership with Grant-A-Wish / Children's Promise Foundation (GAW/CPF), a national children's charity that provides recreational, educational and supportive services to children battling life-threatening illnesses.
Team Amick and GAW/CPF teamed up for a "Hands-On-Racing" program, which allowed children to attend Motorola Cup events as the guests of the team. Children attending the race had the opportunity to sit in the pit and meet the Team Amick drivers, as well as the entire crew. They even got a chance to communicate with the drivers via Motorola in-car radios during the race.
At each race, the children attending were asked to dip their hands in paint and place their hand prints on the Team Amick race cars. As the series traveled from city to city, the cars continued to pick up these personal "hands on" touches.
"Even more than the wins and the championship, developing the relationship with the Grant-A-Wish Foundation was the highlight of the season for myself and Team Amick," says David Amick. "If anything, we hope that winning the Super Grand Sport Class title will allow us to do even more with this wonderful organization next season. To be able to expose these children to a sport that we love so much, and to see them enjoying themselves at the track is more satisfying than winning a dozen championships."
"I'm already anticipating what we can accomplish next year with the 'Hands-On-Racing" program," Amick continued, "and we hope that our on-track successes will bring even more awareness of Grant-A-Wish and the Children's Promise Foundation and the wonderful things they do. This championship is dedicated to the children, because their support and encouragement meant so much to the team this year. Thanks for reminding all of us what strength and determination can accomplish."