BMW Performance 200 at Daytona

| February 4, 2012

Grand Am Continental Tires Series racing action on the high banks of Daytona is a great way to start out the 2012 racing year and a sure fired way to get over the winter doldrums. I returned later in January to Daytona International Speedway for the 24 HR weekend.  After the test days, Luis Caban, team owner #57 Caban Motorsports VW Jetta GLi, decided to run 3 drivers in the race. I would qualify and start the car, run 45 mins or so and turn it over to Tomas Kovvw jettaacs to run the middle stint and Ron Zitza  to finish the race. The strategy was sound, doubtfull we could do the race on one fuel stop, but would require good pit stops without mistakes.  It’s a much condensed racing program as our race is the opening act for the Rolex 24 hr race. Practice and qualify on Thrusday  warm-up then the race on Friday.  That’s why doing the Roar before the 24 test days are so important for a good head start into the race days.

Shop for Continental tires at Tire Rack.inside the race car

Our first practice session Thrusday morning was problemactic. Tomas hit the tire wall at the bus stop chicane and damaged the left front of the car…Luis and the crew replaced the axle and suspension pieces, straightened the sheet metal and the car was ready for my practice. My plan was to repeat my 2’15 sec lap time from the test days and eliminate the mistakes I was making and improve my lap times.tire girls

All went well during the session and the car felt solid after the repairs. Even though the track was a bit slower, sunny and warm…nice, I equaled my 2’15’ time. Qualifying is 15 mins.  so I would only get a few laps to get a good time…on my last lap I finally didn’t  screw up a turn and set my fastest time ..2:13.9’. now taking the checkered flag to end the session is on the start/finish line…timing and scoring is further down the road entering turn 1..so I didn’t lift until I was past the timing stripe. I was elated…my best time at Daytona! 

Shop for KONI shock absorbers at Tire Rack.luis and eric

Race Day on Friday started out Rainy and overcast and would stay that way until after I started the race. After sitting out the morning warm-up to let Tomas and Ron get some track time, and a late rain shower…I would start the race on rain tires. Before the start, Luis explained the strategy… stay on the track and keep the car in one piece. Ok… I did ok on the second one! Spun off on the entry to the banking at NASCAR turn 1 but carried on to turn the car over to Tomas under caution. Unfortunately, my spin lost a lot of time to the leaders and I ended up a lap down. In a 2 ½ hr race the top 15 can be spaced out a lap or more down…but the goal is to stay on the lead lap and fight at the finish.. Both Tomas and Ron drove fast and picked up spots. Ron (a.k.a. “hot shoe”) set the best team time of the weekend at 2’12.3 on a drying track but late caution flags prevented a big surge.  The Zotz racing crew did a great job in the pits and Janie helped out on the” dead girl” valve. Sherri kept the team on the same page and fueled with great food!

dead girl janie

I’m not a big fan of racing in the rain…but it happens and the more I do it…I’ll learn. Overall Daytona was a successful venture …faster every time out in the car, good coaching from Todd Lamb, putting a good lap under qualifying pressure, not crashing, confidence in the team…bummer the only time it rained was during my starting stint!  Luis and his son Jonathan and Caban Motorsports fielded a good car and put in a great first time effort.  With 80 cars and 200 miles of racing, the Grand zolz teamAm Continental Tire Series race is a tough nut to crack…getting a good finish is determined by speed, fuel mileage, pit stops, strategy, race prep, mistakes and luck. With little development and support, compared to the Honda’s and Mazda’s, Caban Motorsports has highlighted the potential of the VW Jetta GLi.

Thanks to my sponsors: MJ Mortensen.com, OG Racing, Bell Helmets

Thanks to Luis,Jonathan & Sherri at Caban Motorsports and Grand Am

Photo Slideshow added, thanks to Steve “Ellwood” for some of the pics!

Daytona ST Race 2012-web

 

Tags:

Category: Grand Am, Races

Comments are closed.