Dresang Rolls to Fifth, Welk Sixth at Cat Nationals Elkhart Lake, Wis. 29 JULY 2006 - What started out as a rough weekend at Road America for the UEMSI Motorwerks team prospered into a top-ten result for drivers Jacques Dresang and Steve Welk...
Dresang Rolls to Fifth, Welk Sixth at Cat Nationals
Elkhart Lake, Wis. 29 JULY 2006 - What started out as a rough weekend at Road America for the UEMSI Motorwerks team prospered into a top-ten result for drivers Jacques Dresang and Steve Welk at the SCCA Milwaukee Region Cat Nationals.
In the first qualifying session Saturday morning, Welk was plagued with handling issues, only managing a lap four seconds slower than the leaders. Meanwhile, Dresang's #80 ride was running smoothly around the 4-mile facility, until a breaking issue forced the Plymouth, Wis. native into the turn eight sand trap; barrel-rolling the car twice.
"The pedal went to the floor at first," said Dresang. "After a few pumps it went hard, locking the back end which swung sideways, and I knew I was in for a ride when the right-front corner dug into the gravel."
After the session Dresang took the mandatory ride to the brand-new Road America Medical Center, while the UMW crew pieced on some new body parts to his stricken machine.
In the afternoon session, Welk picked up two seconds to qualify in the seventh position, while Dresang rode around a bit off the pace in an effort to shake down the car.
On race day morning, Welk clipped another second off his time, thanks to some creative setup help from the team. The Spec Miatas class had to deal with several other categories of cars in the race, including American Sedans, Showroom Stock B and C, and Touring 2.
At the start of the 12-lap contest, Welk immediately wrestled his way up to fifth place, while Dresang was lodged between two BMW Z4s. As the race progressed, Welk climbed into the third position, behind a hindering Honda Civic that kept the pack of Miatas bunched together in the heavy-breaking zones.
With two laps remaining, Welk's brakes locked up when he was leading a herd of Miatas down into Canada Corner, sending the Elkhart Lake resident off line, through the grass, and back to seventh position.
Meanwhile, Dresang's cautious pace wore off on the final lap, passing two cars into turn five, only to have both swing past going under the Billy Mitchell Bridge. As he wound around turn 14, Dresang managed to get alongside one of the cars, driven by David Watts. Going up the final straight, Welk gave his teammate a boost up the hill and past the start/finish line; both cars passing Watts.
In the end, the UMW squad had a fifth and sixth place finish for their efforts, nearly guaranteeing Welk's entry for the upcoming SCCA Runoffs at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas.
"What a fun race," claimed Welk after the final. "I haven't been in a race with so much passing in a while. It's a shame the showroom stock cars where there otherwise I think I could have ran away from the group. I really have to hand it to the UMW team; they did a great job all weekend. Road America has been a bit of a mystery to us this year, but we keep getting the car better each session. Hopefully we are in the Runoffs with this result because I am really looking forward to Topeka."
The team's next race will be August 26-27 at Road America for the SCCA Chicago Region Kettle Moraine Regional, where regular driver Jacques Dresang will team up with the 1979 New York State Road Racing Formula Ford Champion Michael Argetsinger, as the team hopes to close out the regular season on a high note. The UMW crew will also be on the Milwaukee lakefront that weekend, as their 1972 AAR Eagle will be displayed off the coast of Lake Michigan during the Masterpiece Style & Speed Showcase. For more information on the event, visit www.milwaukeemasterpiece.com.