UEMSI Motorwerks Robbed at O'Reilly Raceway Park Clermont, Ind. 11 JULY 2006 - The UEMSI Motorwerks squadron marked their territory this weekend at O'Reilly Raceway Park in pursuit of their first SCCA Runoffs invitation, but came back to ...
UEMSI Motorwerks Robbed at O'Reilly Raceway Park
Clermont, Ind. 11 JULY 2006 - The UEMSI Motorwerks squadron marked their territory this weekend at O'Reilly Raceway Park in pursuit of their first SCCA Runoffs invitation, but came back to Wisconsin with very little to show for their efforts.
In qualifying on Saturday, Steve Welk's Advanced Racing Technologies powered #57 Miata shattered the previous track record, set in May, by 2.2 seconds, earning UEMSI Motorwerks their first pole position in SCCA competition. Meanwhile, teammate Jacques Dresang's first laps on the 2.5 mile circuit earned him the sixth-place grid position out of the 15-car field.
The race was extremely exciting as Welk battled for the lead with two other cars. The three leaders exchanged positions several times a lap in the early going. As the race wore on the Elkhart Lake, Wis. native slipped to third after a long battle for second place.
However all of the team's hard work went for naught as Welk's third place finish was disqualified at the end of the race. At the start of the race the grid officials closed the grid ahead of schedule. Welk, who was held in pit lane, passed part of the field coming off the grid to assume his pole position, while Dresang and two other drivers, who were scheduled to start fifth and seventh, were held in the pits until the pack, had gone partially around the famed track.
The UEMSI Motorwerks crew has been in contact with the proper Area 5 representatives of SCCA, who have been extremely helpful regarding this matter. The team will be appealing the disqualification due to the pit stewards' failure to keep the cars in their grid positions until the proper time came for the cars to leave the pits.
"This week was obviously bitter sweet," stated Welk after the race. "I am very pleased with the performance of the car, this was our best run in the dry to date and we came away with our first pole. So we know that we have the performance to run with the leaders. Hopefully through our appeal the SCCA will make things right in the end. I am really looking forward to returning to Road America to see if we can get the car better yet."
Meanwhile, due to the grid problem, Dresang was forced to start from 13th position, moving up the field until eventually slotting into the eighth spot at the finish. At the end of the race he was less than pleased with the Indianapolis Region and Area 4 of the SCCA, as he arrived in the grid at the proper time.
"This is the darkest day in the history of our team," said Dresang. "We all worked very hard after the June Sprints to ensure that we would be on our game here at ORP, but it seems as if common sense with the various officials failed us today. Hopefully Steve's appeal will work out for the best, but I got the short straw here today."
This weekend the UEMSI Motorwerks crew will be on the streets of Elkhart Lake for the Kohler International Challenge Concours d'Elegance with their ex-Penske/Donohue Gurney Eagle. Look for the car at Siebkin's on Friday night, and hopefully at Road America for final judging on Sunday.