TAYLOR MIINCH SHINES AT RAINY OKLAHOMA STARS DEBUT ALPINE, California (24 March 2006) -- Taylor Miinch of Alpine, California demonstrated he was ready for the move up to the Stars of Karting JICA (Junior Intercontinental A) division this past ...
TAYLOR MIINCH SHINES AT RAINY OKLAHOMA STARS DEBUT
ALPINE, California (24 March 2006) -- Taylor Miinch of Alpine, California demonstrated he was ready for the move up to the Stars of Karting JICA (Junior Intercontinental A) division this past weekend -- with a second place qualifying position -- during the Snap-on Stars of Karting "Mini Cooper Race of the Americas" at Norman, Oklahoma.
Friday, Garry Lobaugh of MRP Motorsport welcomed the Birel drivers in the Team Birel tent with encouragement and it was then off to racing for the two-day event with over 250 total entries for the weekend. With rain and cold weather all weekend, the enormous Team Birel tent was a welcomed enclosed garage for all Birel karters.
Friday's timed practices listed Miinch running 16th in practice one (six-tenths off the fastest) and 6th in practice two at five-tenths off the quickest kart.
Qualifying took place under wet conditions Saturday with same day prefinal scheduled also. Piloting the No. 320 Birel / High-Rev Parilla, Miinch displayed his determination with his off pole qualifying effort -- the second fastest qualifier (57.101) -- missing the pole by only three-tenths. Miinch's Dad, Chuck, was pleased with Taylor's qualifying effort out of the 55 JICA class entries.
With 21 drivers under the Birel tent for the weekend event, Miinch had the support of not only the other experienced Birel drivers but the support of Italian Birel VP, Ronni Sala, on hand to watch his stable of drivers including young Miinch. Ronni Sala and the other Birel mechanics and engineers took time to observe all the events and seemed to be impressed with eleven-year-old Miinch while withstanding the cold and wet weather all weekend.
Saturday's early morning action gave Miinch another chance at fine tuning his No. 320 Birel / High-Rev Parilla kart with a quick practice and was then set for qualifying around noon. All classes had to be broken up into two groups due to the large class entries.
Starting on the front row for the JICA Group 2 prefinal race, Miinch was then penalized for jumping the start twice and moved to the second row. With the wet conditions, the first turn took several karts and Miinch made it through but hung out too far and hooked the edge letting several karts by. He then spun and had to make up positions from the back of the pack the remainder of the race. Miinch's kart was as fast as the leader as he picked off karts one-by-one heading back up to the front of the pack. With the prefinal race ending at 11 laps, Miinch had made it back up to 11th.
Miinch started Sunday's final event in row 12 (25th) finding it difficult to see during the start with the wet conditions. Dropping back several positions at the start, he quickly got back on track and moved up to ninth before spinning out on the last lap when trying to avoid karts spinning in front and spinning himself. Miinch then crossed the finished line in 13th for his first JICA main event. Miinch was also shown with the second fastest lap time during the main event.
All five main events ran in full wet conditions with JICA the second most popular class listing over 55 entries and the ICC with over 70 racers entered.
Miinch tested his No. 320 Birel / High-Rev Parilla earlier in the month and felt that helped with his setups and regain his familiarity with the 13-turn .07- mile asphalt track from his previous year of competition in the Cadet class.
With only four of the top-ten JICA drivers returning from last year, the 2006 JICA class will give other newcomers -- like Miinch -- a chance to showcase their talent throughout the year. The next Stars of Karting race for Miinch is scheduled for April 21 at the P1 Kart Circuit in Tucson, Arizona.
Miinch at only eleven-years-old was approved to move up from the Cadet division to JICA along with Gustavo Menezes (Tony Kart) who also races with Miinch in the IKF Region 7 races in 2006.
"Realistically, we came to Oklahoma expecting to have a top-twenty finish with the caliber of racers and the huge field expected for the JICA class. We are very happy with Taylor's qualifying and racing the whole weekend. Taylor made some rookie mistakes but overall did very well, especially for his first appearance in the Stars JICA division," said Chuck Miinch. Crew chief, Dave Thompson of Dave's Performance Karting Shop -- Birel's #1 dealer in the USA -- kept Miinch geared up for qualifying and racing all weekend. His support and knowledge have been key in Miinch's switch to Birel in January 2005.