TRACK HEATS UP AT ROAD ATLANTA Courtney Fights for 7th Place Finish and Earns Sunoco Hard Charger Award Braselton, Georgia (September 25, 2009) - Jeff Courtney, driver of the No. 99 KENDA Tires/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper Competition ...
TRACK HEATS UP AT ROAD ATLANTA
Courtney Fights for 7th Place Finish and Earns Sunoco Hard Charger Award
Braselton, Georgia (September 25, 2009) - Jeff Courtney, driver of the No. 99 KENDA Tires/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper Competition Coupe earned another top-ten finish this weekend at the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship held at Road Atlanta this Friday, along with the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing five positions during the race.
"We had some fast practice sessions as we adjusted on the chassis set up," said Courtney regarding early morning track time on Wednesday. "But then it all changed as the track heated up in the afternoon, everyone slowed down some." For the late afternoon qualifying, temps on the track escalated as speed increased, creating hot, slippery conditions for drivers. Courtney qualified for a 12th place start.
On race day, the hot and humid conditions increased. Courtney got off to a good start and came out on top of a two-lap battle with Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 71 Mercedes-Benz SLR. Courtney was able to make headway and gain positions on several cars, earning himself the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
"It was a hot track, it made for a tough drive," said Courtney. After charging ahead and gaining positions, Courtney found himself in the difficult position of being alone on the track. With no one bearing down on him, and the leaders just out of reach, Courtney battled with his car as he tried to pull everything he could from his machine. Racing becomes a head game, and coupled with fatigue and extreme heat, it takes a toll on the driver.
"I could see the leaders a head of me, and I would try to make some ground on them, but then I would feel the car slipping, I was just pushing it too hard," said Courtney. When the tires got too hot, Courtney needed to ease off and let things cool for a couple of laps before making another push. "I was trying to reel them in, I felt like I was making progress, but I just needed more time and laps than the race had. I don't think the Viper could have given me much more," concluded Courtney.
Teammate Charlie Putman did not fare as well as Courtney, instead he struggled with handling issues with the No. 13 Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper Competition Coupe and finished in 15th on race day.
"I'm looking forward to Laguna with Charlie," said Courtney, "It should be a better situation there for him." The final race for the SCCA SPEED GT Championship series will be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 9-11.
Watch the penultimate round of the SCCA SPEED GT race on the SPEED channel on Tuesday, October 20, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT).
-credit: Jeff Courtney Racing