Dresang and Welk Luckless at June Sprints Elkhart Lake, Wis. 27 JUNE 2006 -- This past weekend the UEMSI Motorwerks team made its first trip to the Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints at the Famous Road America. With the June Sprints being one...
Dresang and Welk Luckless at June Sprints
Elkhart Lake, Wis. 27 JUNE 2006 -- This past weekend the UEMSI Motorwerks team made its first trip to the Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints at the Famous Road America. With the June Sprints being one of the Crown Jewels of the SCCA and Road America the home circuit to the UEMSI Motorwerks group, the team was really excited going into the event. However lady luck would not be on the teams side during the weekend as both Steve Welk and Jacques Dresang ran into problems during the final.
The weekend started out fresh for drivers Jacques Dresang and Steve Welk, as both cars had new engines for the event. With the new mills inside their McLaren orange Miatas, the team was looking to overcome the horsepower gap that has plagued the team so far this season. Thursday's practice showed that the improvements were worthwhile with Welk solidly in the top five in times, while Dresang chipped away testing various components.
As Friday rolled into view, Welk tested suspension settings while Dresang finagled with braking points, both flexing the limitations of there respective machines. During the two qualifying sessions Welk was able to squeeze out a tenth place grid position, while Dresang was the last of those who managed to break into the 2:48 bracket.
As race day dawned, the team was feeling confident, as both cars had been thoroughly gone through in hopes of a strong, 13-lap race free of any mishap.
It was not to be as such though, as Dresang started feeling a suspension knock on the pace lap. The knock turned into a catastrophic failure of the right-front upper ball joint on lap 1. The joint broke through the upper A-arm, taking out the brakes, and punctured the rim, and deflating Dresang's right-front tire, ending his race.
As if Dresang's misfortunes were not enough, Welk also ran into trouble during the race. After moving up from his tenth place grid position to seventh Welk overshot Road America's tight turn five on lap three. The mistake dropped the karting veteran to 17th spot in the running order. The title contender was able to work his way back into the tenth position at the end of the event but was unable to add to his season's point total.
"This was definitely a frustrating weekend for us with Jacques falling out and the braking issues that plagued me during the race" stated Welk after the race. "The whole team put a lot of effort into getting these cars ready for the weekend, so it is just tough not getting the results we wanted. We are still in a building process with these cars so every race we are learning. I know what we learned this weekend is invaluable and will definitely be put to good use at our next race."
The team will regroup and turn all of their efforts in the next week on preparing both cars for the Indy Grand Prix National Races July 8-9 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a track that Welk raced in his Skip Barber National tenure and one that will be entirely new to Dresang.