Dateline: September 20, 2003
Sorry for the delay!
In highly uncharacteristic fashion, the scR motorsports crew has gone, well, most of the entire ITA race season without an update newsletter. Blame the frantic schedule, blame the newfound baby responsibilities, blame the 80-hour work weeks, but what really matters is that team scR has been out winning podium finishes all season long – nine to this point, and counting. Here is our quick “we’re back” update…
Dateline: April 19/20, 2003
IRP Podium finish running counter: 2
To start out the season, John and James dusted the cobwebs off of the #55 car and headed to IRP in Indianapolis for the CENDIV season opener. After a quick qualifying session, John proceeded to run Saturday’s race at 10/10ths, setting the fastest ITA race lap on his way to a 3rd place finish. James would follow suit on Sunday in the #55 car, bringing the car home in 3rd place as well. Given the limited preparation of the #55, both were more than happy with their performances.
Dateline: May 24/25, 2003
Grattan Raceway Podium finish running counter: 4
Team scR’s official season opening event was the Grattan Memorial Day double regional. All three racecars from the scR stable were in attendance, with the #21 and #34 cars making their first on-track appearances of the year. During Saturday’s race, Mark led from the pole to take the team’s first win of the season, but not after a heated three-way battle for the top spot with James (who would retire on lap seven with an axle failure) and honorary scR good-guy Larry Webster in his CRX. Farther back in the pack, John was able to overcome several late-race spins to soldier home to an impressive 4th place, just one step off of the podium.
On Sunday, the same axle failure which had kept James from finishing Saturday’s race prevented him from taking the green flag, but Mark and John were still up to the task. While the overall win went to Larry in his CRX, Mark was a not-too-distant 2nd place finisher with John again bringing the #55 car to a 4th place finish.
Dateline: July 5/6, 2003
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Podium finish running counter: 4
The entire scR crew arrived at Mid-Ohio to be greeted with the largest starting grid of the year – nineteen cars were registered to compete in ITA! The #34 car, back from intensive axle surgery, was able to carry the scR banner home on Saturday to a 4th place finish while Mark and John took care of the rest of the field in 9th and 13th places respectively. Sunday would prove to be a virtual repeat of Saturday, with Mark and John bringing home 9th and 13th place trophies while James in the #34 would fall one position to 5th at the checkered flag.
Dateline: August 2/3, 2003
BeaveRun Podium finish running counter: 7
In an attempt to try something new, both Mark and John made the trek to the brand-new BeaveRun sports car complex in Pennsylvania to see what the Saturns had in store. In one of his most successful ITA race weekends, Mark was able not only take the pole both days and lead both races all the way to the checkered flag, he also managed to find time to break the track record as well. Score two more victories for the team!
John’s successes at BeaveRun were not quite as dramatic, but he did manage to land the #55 car back in the ITA podium once again on Saturday, this time in 3rd place. Sunday would show him running in 4th place at the finish, but due more to his “probationary” lecture from crew chief Jen than from his actual on-track performance.
Dateline: August 2/3, 2003
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Podium finish running counter: 7
While Mark and John were making their mark at BeaveRun, James and the #34 crew were back at Mid-Ohio trying to get their hands around a chassis that just wouldn’t settle down. Adjustments made to the car for Saturday’s race were far from optimal, as the crew could only manage a 7th place finish. Sunday would prove to be better with a 4th place trophy, but the car had still not yet returned to form.
Dateline: September 13/14, 2003
Watkins Glen Podium finish running counter: 9
In a team turn-around race weekend, James and the #34 crew made the 12-hour drive to Watkins Glen, New York with the chassis completely restored to 2001-level specifications. Unfortunately, the team decided on rain tires for qualifying on what turned out to be a semi-dry track, landing them 23rd overall (out of nearly fifty cars in the group) and 9th in class at the start of the race.
In what has to be one of the team’s best on-track performances ever, the #34 made its way up and through the entire field in the first seven laps of the lap sprint race and took the lead for good on lap eight. Two laps later the checkered flag flew over the #34 Saturn, its first podium finish of the year! Twenty-two fellow competitors were left scratching their heads asking “Was that a Saturn that just blew by?”
Sunday was more of the same, but this time the team selected the correct tires for qualifying, placing the #34 on the overall pole by more than one full second. The ensuing sprint race around the WGI short course was a Saturn walk-away, with the next closest car fifteen seconds in arrears at the checkered flag. Apparently the 2001 chassis set-up was working its magic once again.
Dateline: October 5, 2003
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Podium finish running counter: ???
The team’s final outing of the 2003 race season will be held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on October 5th. Unfortunately, John and the #55 car will not be in attendance, but James and Mark will be there trying to settle the score one last time with the rest of the CENDIV crowd. With the #34 finally handling as it should and with Mark still basking in his track record at BeaveRun it should be better than the Showdown at the OK Corral.
Until next time, see you at the track!