Our latest race weekend was full of many firsts, it was the first race at the new Palm Beach International Raceway; it was the first race for Rick Adamczyk in his quest to acquire his SCCA racing license; and it was the first race of the 2009 SARRC seasonfor John. The Palm Beach Classic SARRC/Regional was our first SARRC race of the season, and as John is campaining for the SARRC Championship this season it was important to have a strong finish. Coming off of a strong finish in the SARRC Invitational Challenge, we were excited to get the 2009 SARRC season underway at this unfamiliar new track. The race was held at the new Palm Beach International Raceway, formally Moroso Motorsports Park. The new track is awesome, it is definitely the nicest track in Florida now, compared to Daytona that is a hard accomplishment. The new owners of the PBIR are very wealthy apparently, as they have completely demolished everything associated with Moroso Motorsports Park except the kart track and rebuilt a world class racetrack from scratch. The course follows a similar layout to the old course, it is 11 turns and 2 miles long, but the road course no longer shares the drag strip. The track has been FIA approved to the highest level under a F1 course, as it has concrete runoff areas for fast turns and smooth, low curbing. Once the facility is completed it will be a top notch facility that will surely hold professional races in the future. The only problem with the track is that there was not much grip, as there was no rubber down on the surface it made it hard to set our car up. At the end of the weekend the surface started getting a layer of rubber on it and was much better than the first session of the weekend. We are looking forward to returning to PBIR, read on to see how we did in our races...
After a much needed practice session on Saturday morning, we entered qualifying with at lease a little confidence in track knowledge. After using new tires in the practice session and discovering that the car was understeering terribly, we switched to old tires in the rear of the car only, as this would make the car turn better with a lack of traction in the rear (sounds crazy but it works). With the new tire setup, John posted some solid lap times landing him a 4th place starting position. Starting on the second row was important in the first race at a new track, some pretty crazy things can happen on the first turn after the start of a Spec Miata race, especially at a brand new track.
Rick was racing the #25 5xR Spec Miata in the ITA class for this race weekend, as he just needs to complete two race events to apply for his racing license. Rick took his time learning the track and did not worry about his lap times, plus he did not want to damage John's #25 car! Rick will have his own car up and running for the Sebring Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving weekend.
The start of the SARRC race was not how John planned it to happen, as he missed the shift from 3rd to 4th gear, going directly into 5th. This is common in Miata racing, as many racers have this happen. John dropped back to about 8th ot 9th place after lap 1, but fought his way back up to 4th with the help of a couple of mistakes by racers in front of him. John worked his way into 3rd place about halfway through the race, and that is how it stayed. 1st place competitor Andrew Charboneau took advantage of the spins behind him that slowed the field and ran away with about a 10 second lead. 2nd place competitor Glenn Vitale stayed a safe distance in front of John and finished a couple of seconds ahead of the 5xR #25 at the end. No spins, no scratches, no problems! Great race with a solid podium finish, it was a good start to the 2009 SARRC season.
Rick did very well in the ITA race with the #25 5xR Miata being a Spec Miata class car, racing in the ITA class, which is faster, is just for practice. He had a great battle with an IT7 RX-7 in route to a clean, non-incident finish.
Race 2 was a Florida Regional race, which for 5x Racing was just for fun as we cannot collect points in any region that is not our home region. Regardless, we went out and fought hard to finish the best we could. Starting 3rd, John found 2nd place at the start and chased Jamie Tucker for the entire race, eventually finishing 2nd. John and Jamie were turning similar lap times and no ground was being made catching Jamie, at the end of the race John found a different line on the track and caught up to Jamie, but it was too late as it was the last lap. Another great race without a scratch, dent, or spin! A great close to a near perfect weekend.
Rick once again ran a flawless race in ITA and earned his first sucessful weekend in the SCCA. One more race weekend and he can obtain his racing license, he plans to attend the Sebring Turkey Trot in a few weeks.
Our next race will be the famous Sebring Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving weekend. Rick will definitely be racing in the ITA class again, John is questionable for the Spec Miata race as it is not a SARRC race and Sebring has not been friendly to the #25 5xR Spec Miata. Stop by and give us a shout at Sebring!
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm (EST)