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Sebring: Woodhouse Performance race report

WOODHOUSE PERFORMANCE FINISHES 9th, 11th IN SPEED WORLD CHALLENGE GT SEASON OPENER AT SEBRING SEBRING, Fla. (Mar. 17, 2007) -- Woodhouse Performance debuted strong in the first round of SPEED World Challenge GT Series championship racing at ...

WOODHOUSE PERFORMANCE FINISHES 9th, 11th IN SPEED WORLD CHALLENGE GT SEASON OPENER AT SEBRING

SEBRING, Fla. (Mar. 17, 2007) -- Woodhouse Performance debuted strong in the first round of SPEED World Challenge GT Series championship racing at Sebring International Raceway Friday. Woodhouse Performance drivers posted top-15 finishes, one finishing inside, and the other just outside, the top-10. Brian Smith, driver of the No. 13 Kicker/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper, finished ninth while teammate Jeff Courtney finished 11th in the No. 99 Kenda Tires/ProMPI Dodge Viper. Smith and Courtney were the second and third highest finishing Dodges in the field.

After a race full of hurdles in the form of racing incidents not of his own making, Smith brought home a top-10 finish in his first outing in the No.13 Kicker/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper. He started the race in the 14th position and got off to a strong start but got spun in turn seven on lap one. Multiple positions were lost as a result, but the strength of driver and car showed as he worked his way back to the twelfth position just eight laps later. A full course caution flag flew on lap 11, which allowed Smith to make up more ground on the lead pack. Smith gained three more spots before the wave of the checkered flag, placing him ninth for the finish and making him the second-highest finishing Viper.

Smith said although the day was a bit frustrating, he was happy with the finish.

"It was a tough day in a lot of ways for the Kicker/Woodhouse Performance Viper but I am pleased with the results," Smith said after the race. "Anytime you can get spun to the back of the field and get yourself back up to the top-10, that's a great day. That's what you need to win championships - to take a day that doesn't go your way and pull a top-10 finish out of it. That gets you championships."

Courtney was impressive in his first outing in a Dodge Viper for Woodhouse Performance, showing the consistency that has brought him much success in his racing endeavors in the past. He qualified in the 19th position and picked up eight positions on the way to an 11th place finish. He was impressively consistent in his first race in a Viper, which is a completely different animal than what he drove in the Touring Car series in 2006.

"The Viper requires much more throttle control than what I drove last year in the Touring Car series," Courtney said after the race. "It is smoother and it's much more powerful. I've always loved a higher horse power car and I am really starting to get used to it."

Courtney also said his feelings on the finish could be summed up in one word.

"Satisfied. That's the word I would use. I'd obviously rather be further up front, but I didn't want to not finish the first event," Courtney said after the race. "But I think to make up eight spots in this series is a great feat. So I'm really happy with the finish."

He went on to describe the impression of his new team after the first race.

"I've been really impressed with the whole Woodhouse team. They worked really hard this weekend and made some tough last minute decisions that obviously worked well for us," Courtney continued. "Of course, we couldn't be doing any of this without my sponsors, Kenda Tires, ProMPI, Karavan and Badger Tire and Wheel, so a big thanks to them as well."

-credit: wp

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Series PWC
Drivers Brian Smith , Jeff Courtney