WET AND WILD Thunderbolt Millville Starts Soggy, Finishes Dry Millville, NJ (Sept. 27, 2008) -- The thunder came to the newly opened Thunderbolt Millville track and it brought the rain. The wet weekend dampened speeds, but it did not dampen ...
WET AND WILD
Thunderbolt Millville Starts Soggy, Finishes Dry
Millville, NJ (Sept. 27, 2008) -- The thunder came to the newly opened Thunderbolt Millville track and it brought the rain. The wet weekend dampened speeds, but it did not dampen spirits as the Woodhouse Racing Team finished in the top ten again, with Jeff Courtney in the No. 99 Kenda/TJM IWM/Coins of America Dodge Viper finishing the race in 6th place. Teammate Brian Simo, in the No. 13 Foametix Dodge Viper, finished 5th.
The rain did bring a reprieve from the much talked about dirt and dust along the track where grass has not yet been established.
It was a wild qualifying session, starting off wet, finishing dry, with a crash ending the session early. During qualifying, lap times were dropping dramatically each lap as the track dried. "Qualifying was pretty exciting, you could be in the top five on one lap and in the next you could be 15th" said Courtney. On Courtney's last qualifying lap, he almost aborted the lap because of a crash ahead of him. Instead, Courtney held the course and clipped off over a second and a half on his time to get the 7th place on the grid.
"It turned out to be a good weekend for us," said Courtney. "It was pretty wet in the beginning, we only had one good dry practice session." The wet conditions and forecast for a rain race kept the team's focus on rain set-up. "We anticipated a wet race, that was what we were prepared for," said Courtney. "I was nervous about a dry race, we didn't really have enough dry track time to get the car properly set up for a dry race."
"I got a great jump at the start," said Courtney. "I was able to move up and battle with teammate Brian Simo for position." Mid-race, Courtney was turning in competitive lap times with the leaders, despite struggling with a front-end push. During a late-race re-start, Courtney got another great start and an opportunity to pick off a few more positions. Courtney battled with Simo and Jason Daskalos in the No. 5 Coastal Pet Products Dodge Viper. Courtney and Daskalos bumped going into turn one, forcing Courtney off the raceline into the dirty part of the track, allowing Simo to get up alongside at the exit of turn two. Courtney could not hold the line and slid back again, losing his position. "I was having fun racing Brian and Jason hard," said Courtney. "But I was also aware that I was racing for points and Brian was not."
"Big thanks to the entire Woodhouse Team for once again doing a great job through adverse conditions," said Courtney "Three days of rain creates all kinds of difficulties for the team and crew, they did a great job, as usual.
The checkered flag went to James Sofronos, a huge win after 99 previous attempts. "I would like to congratulate James on his first World Challenge victory, great race," said Courtney. "I love my car number 99, but I don't want to wait through 99 starts for my first victory!"
There is no rest for the weary, the Woodhouse Team heads directly to Road Atlanta for this week's final SCCA Pro SPEED World Challenge GT race.
"I'm looking forward to Road Atlanta, it is one of my favorite tracks and events. It will be a great place to end the season," said Courtney.
As Courtney heads to Road Atlanta, he moves up to 6th place in the SCCA Pro SPEED World Challenge Championship points race.
Watch the Thunderbolt Millville race on the SPEED channel on Wednesday, October 15, at noon, EDT.
-credit: Jeff Courtney Racing