Watkins Glen: BimmerWorld Racing preview

BimmerWorld to Honor Soldiers at Fourth of July Watkins Glen SPEED TC Race Leading BMW World Challenge Touring Car team set to host and honor the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and to improve on their well publicized 2008 Watkins Glen ...

BimmerWorld to Honor Soldiers at Fourth of July Watkins Glen SPEED TC Race

Leading BMW World Challenge Touring Car team set to host and honor the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and to improve on their well publicized 2008 Watkins Glen results.

Nick Esayian
Longtime Special Operations Warrior Foundation supporter Nick Esayian. Looking to improve upon 2008

The team looking for a redo from last year at Watkins Glen.

The upcoming Fourth of July weekend marks two important happenings for the BimmerWorld SPEED World Challenge Touring Car team. First, the Dublin, Virginia-based BMW racers look to honor the men, women and families of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) as the SPEED TC series stops in Watkins Glen, New York.

Second, the trio of BMW E90s, driven by team owner James Clay, 2009 race winner Seth Thomas, and series veteran (and longtime SOWF supporter) Nick Esayian are also motivated to erase the memories of the infamous crash at 'The Glen' in 2008 that took out all three cars in an instant.

For Clay, racing this weekend provides the perfect opportunity to make a positive impact on and off the track. "I was happy when Nick came on board with the SOWF and even more proud when they came out to visit us last year at Atlanta and I got to meet some of the families. It is an honor to be able to help and be associated with this dedicated group."

For Esayian, involving the SOWF in his racing activities is a natural extension of his charitable endeavors with the organization. "We've given in excess of $25,000 over the years and hosted more than 100 individuals related to the United States Special Forces personnel. Since 1994 we've really had a change to expose to the general public what a fantastic charity the SOWF is. The exposure has led to increased support from musicians, athletes, and corporate America."

Incorporating the SOWF into this weekend's Fourth of July race weekend will allow Esayian, the BimmerWorld team and the entire World Challenge paddock to give back to the Special Forces and their families. "From an individual standpoint the kids that have lost a father get an 'easy day' where they get to live the racing dream. We've got some SF guys, their families, and some of the families of the guys killed in action or training coming to the track. We'll split the groups up and the various WC teams will adopt them for the weekend. They get great insight into WC racing, a respite from the rigors of their real life, and we get an opportunity to show how much we appreciate them."

While this isn't the first time Esayian and BimmerWorld have hosted the SOWF, the opportunity to do so on Independence Day is especially meaningful. It's a great feeling to provide them with the appreciation they're due on such an important day for our military and our country as a whole.. A few years ago one of the SF guys was finishing up lunch with the RealTime crew and said, 'This is the first time civilians have done something this nice for us...' That comment was pretty telling. We owe these guys our thanks at the very least. Ensuring that their children get the finest education available in the event they unable to provide it themselves is an important function. The SOWF is there to do that and they have my full support."

Once the BimmerWorld team's attention shifts from the SOWF to this weekend's race, Clay knows he'll receive more than a few questions about last year's accident. After footage of the 2008 Watkins Glen crash flooded the web, Clay's team got plenty of attention, but not for the reasons he'd been looking for.

"I AM looking forward to coming back and I am looking forward to redo and a podium finish -- I think that is the one way to put the wreck last year out of mind! It was an expensive day for sure, but we rebounded after the crash at Road America" (where Clay earned his first SPEED TC win).

Esayian is also looking forward to claiming a more representative result at the Upstate New York circuit. "I'm excited to get back to the Glen and exorcise the demons. We had the big crash last year, and the prior year, I hit a deer in the rental car--and then I crashed in practice, so it's my time!"

The final member of the BimmerWorld driving lineup has enjoyed the six week break between races, and for good reason. "Everything has worked out great with the schedule and the birth of Adelyn," said new father Seth Thomas. "With me becoming a dad the week before I left for Mosport, life seemed busy. Then after Mosport I had six weeks off from racing to focus on my new family. Luckily my wife is amazing and had Adelyn on a schedule of sleeping throughout the night almost as soon as I got home. So I'm rested up and looking forward to having Adelyn cheer me on for Watkins Glen. I'll bet she even has on an outfit saying something like 'My dad is faster than your dad.'"

After six weeks of being "daddy," Thomas can't wait to turn laps on the daunting 3.4 mile track. "There's a saying in racing that goes 'wait until you see the eyes of God, and then brake.' Well that describes a fast lap around Watkins Glen. Coming through the uphill esses with the car sliding the whole way through, going down the long back straight and waiting to brake until the very last minute for the fast bus stop. Just thinking about this makes me excited. I can't wait to get going."


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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers James Clay , Nick Esayian , Seth Thomas
Teams BimmerWorld Racing