RACE: Swain, Masters 12 Hours at the Point news

North Carolina Racers Go Where No One Has Gone Before 28 May 2003: In it's four previous runnings, no team has attempted the grueling Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point in a General Motors vehicle. This year, Tim Swain of the North Carolina...

North Carolina Racers Go Where No One Has Gone Before

28 May 2003: In it's four previous runnings, no team has attempted the grueling Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point in a General Motors vehicle. This year, Tim Swain of the North Carolina Region of the SCCA and Mark Masters, a regular competitor in SCCA's Enduro Championship Race series, intend to set history by completing the difficult 12 Hour race in their S&S Motorsports Pontiac Formula Firebird. The team has a daunting challenge as only one big block American V-8 has ever challenged and completed the round-the-clock race.

"Being the first person to enter a General Motors vehicle is easy for me, it's the car I am racing right now and it's fun to drive," said Swain who is in his fifth year of road racing.. Swain added, "Most people seem to like Mustangs for this type of GT racing since they are plentiful and there are lots of after market go fast parts for them. I just like the Pontiac." The only other big block V-8 to enter the race is a Ford Mustang.

Reliability in an endurance race is always an issue and Swain understands why some people have been reluctant to enter an endurance race with these types of cars. According to Swain, "I suppose questions about reliability and associated cost have been the reasons for these many people. American Iron is not being known for endurance racing." Swain's car, however, comes with an endurance pedigree. According to Swain, "This car started out as a Motorola Cup car and was raced by Powell Motorsports. Those guys seem to know how to make these GM cars go fast and be reliable."

Endurance racing is more than getting to the track and going fast. For every hour on the track, there are at least two hours spent in preparation. Swain has left very little to chance and has put in new axles, front hubs, a fresh transmission, transmission and rear end coolers, as well as hoses and belts. Swain is optimistic about the hard preparation work -- "Hopefully we have taken care of any possible problems."

The team has worked out a strategy that they believe will work for them. According to Swain, "We plan on setting a comfortable pace and then sticking to it. I believe in planning your race and racing your plan. We believe when it is over we will have been both fast and reliable."

At midnight on May 31, we'll all find out.

-dcr/jj-

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Series SCCA