DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 4 - Ruthie Culbertson, the hard-working PR rep for Northern Light Indy Racing League team Treadway Racing, shipped a supply of decals to Daytona to be placed on cars competing in the Rolex 24 this weekend in...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 4 - Ruthie Culbertson, the hard-working PR rep for Northern Light Indy Racing League team Treadway Racing, shipped a supply of decals to Daytona to be placed on cars competing in the Rolex 24 this weekend in order to promote the Sam Schmidt Foundation. The foundation was established recently to raise funds for spinal-cord injuries research and rehabilitation and to assist Schmidt and his family. The popular IRL driver is hospitalized at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis after suffering a cervical spine/neck fracture during an IRL test in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Jan. 6. The decals, which were donated by Castlewhite Design and Performance Graphics, were distributed by a team member of IRL Rookie of the Year Scott Harrington who was attending the Rolex 24. They were quickly snapped up by many teams with connections to Schmidt and the Northern Light IRL, including:
* The Supreme Exhaust System Products/Racer Parts Wholesale Riley & Scott Chevy #95 of Barry Waddell, Peter Boss, R.J. Valentine and Tom Volk. (The team's usual lead driver, Jeret Schroeder, who was unable to attend this year's Rolex 24 due to a prior commitment, competed with Schmidt in both the U.S. Formula 2000 series and the IRL, and team owner/co-driver Tom Volk has met Schmidt several times.)
* The SUPPORTNET Riley & Scott Chevy #8 of Duncan Dayton, Scott Schubot, Henry Camferdam and John Burton. (Dayton competed with Schmidt many times in U.S. Formula 2000 events. Not only were two decals on that car, but Dayton also put one on his helmet.)
* The Fairchild Fasteners BMW Motorola Cup car #49 of Andy Lally and Howie Liebengood. (Lally also competed with Schmidt many times in U.S. Formula 2000 events.)
* The Flo-Tec/Jack's Magic Products Spice Chevy #47 of Richard Dill, John Thomas, Todd Vallancourt and Ken Stiver. (Stiver competed with Schmidt in U.S. F2000 too.)
* The GM Team Cadillac/Northstar LMP #5 of Eric Van dePoele, Wayne Taylor and Max Angelli and its team car, the GM Team Cadillac/Northstar LMP #6 of Andy Wallace, Butch Leitzinger and Frank Lagorce. (Team Cadillac's PR rep, Krista Elliott Riley, also handles PR for Team Cheever, and she is married to Bill Riley, technical director for IRL and endurance sports car chassis builder Riley & Scott.)
* The Camaro #52 of Ryan Hampton, Adam Andretti, Robert Lloyd, Mark Winkelman and John Zouzelka. (Hampton also raced with Schmidt in the U.S. F2000 series, and he recently passed his IRL rookie test with A.J. Foyt Racing.)
* The AASCO Performance Porsche #21 of John Rutherford, Ken Fengler, Andy Hajducky, Dave Geremia and Bobby Onella. (Rutherford's father, racing legend Johnny Rutherford, coaches rookies in the IRL and performs other special duties.)
Donations to the foundation may be sent to: The Sam Schmidt Foundation, c/o Treadway Racing, 6017 West 71st St., Indianapolis, Ind. 46278. Other teams can obtain decals through Treadway Racing too, and are encouraged to do so. * * * *
After struggling with a mysterious and persistent engine-management system problem in 1999, the TRV Motorsport team is cautiously optimistic that problem has been solved.
"Our engine builder, Todd Hertel of Hertel Racing Engines, was instrumental in helping us solve that problem, as were several other people," team manager Mike Madden noted. "An engine builder doesn't really have to do that, but Todd really wanted to help us and we appreciate his efforts and his expertise."
After working at Clement's Racing Engines, Hertel has been in business on his own for about eight months as the head of Hertel Racing Engines of Spartanburg, S.C. The first employee he hired was John Neis, the crew chief of the TRV Motorsport team who had been working full-time in TRV's racing shop in Toledo, Ohio. Neis started work in South Carolina in January.
"John was working mostly on chassis and he wanted to learn more about engines, so I was glad to get him," Hertel said. "He's methodical, careful and he has good attention to details, which is all very important."
In addition to prepping TRV Motorsport's Chevy engines for the Supreme Exhaust System Products/Racer Parts Wholesale Riley & Scott Chevy #95, Hertel Racing Engines preps vintage cars owned by Bob Mullen and Ron Ciarevella and various other customers.
"Our immediate goal is to do more Trans-Am engines now that they allow fuel injection in that series," Hertel said. "Our ultimate goal is to do IRL engines. Our specialty is fuel-injected engines, wiring and diagnostics."
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TRV Motorsport driver R.J. Valentine, who is also the head of The MBA Group, is more than enthusiastic when talking about two go-kart facilities he will open soon in New England.
The first, called F1 Boston, is a huge indoor karting facility in Braintree, Mass., near Boston, which will open in March or April.
"It's state-of-the-art, and includes two kart tracks, an exhibition hall, seminar rooms and just everything you could think of," he said.
The second, an outdoor karting track in East Bridgewater, Mass., called New England Kart Raceway, is scheduled to open April 9.
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TRV Motorsport is pleased to have Mike Madden in command and in great shape again this year at the Rolex 24. He missed last year's Rolex 24 due to heart surgery, but a year later he's doing fine and he's hard at work in the garage area and the pits here at Daytona International Speedway on the Supreme Exhaust System Products/Racer Parts Wholesale Riley & Scott Chevy of Barry Waddell, Peter Boss, R.J. Valentine and Tom Volk.
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The TRV Motorsport team is on Pirelli tires for this year's Rolex 24.