Road Atlanta, Georgia July 24-25, 1999
Two races this weekend, we finish 4th on Saturday and 2d on Sunday. We lose the race on Sunday by .5 seconds. Peter is now fourth overall in the points chase for the season championship. Bobby Archer in the Viper leads. George Biskup in the Porsche is 2d. Bill Cooper in the Corvette is 3d and Peter is 4th. See the story on the Sunday race below.
Friday July 23 – Dateline Road Atlanta:
The weekend has started as expected. Two sessions today, we were 7th quick in both.The added weight and the smaller tires have taken their toll and we are not, as I had predicted, competitive. I must say it is disappointing to go from being at the front of the pack at Mid-Ohio to 4 seconds off the pace here. But, unfortunately that is politics and SCCA. The rule of the week.Bill Cooper is fastest in his Corvette and Halsmer’s NSX is second. Next is Archer, being politically correct as always. Watch, he will be there at the finish. It is amazing to watch those guys coasting down the back straight while the Touring Division cars keep up with us. But, unfortunately the technical people can’t figure it out. So, we will do our best. It will be tougher to win here than at LeMans. Driving good isn’t enough. But time to quit bitching and get back to business. Hope we are in the hunt. We will have a batch of pictures after the race tomorrow.
Saturday July 24 – Close to 100 degrees!!
This is a two race weekend. First race today. We have been off the pace. 4 seconds. Temperature was 107 in pit lane yesterday and it is just as warm today. A number of cars have problems and a few drivers just quit because of the heat. We qualify 13th and finish 4th. We were still off the pace significantly although we finished well. See the results. A creditable performance. We are delighted. After qualifying they let us take 50 lbs out of the car and we are getting closer all the time. Although we lost ground to Cooper and Archer in the overall standings, we gained a bit against Biskup. By virtue of our 4th today we have moved to 5th overall in points. At the end of today’s racing the organizers agreed to give us back the larger rear tire and we are delighted. Although we still won’t be able to run down the straights with the leaders, we will be be faster in the turns. So we should be close tomorrow. Our finish today determines our starting position tomorrow. So, we will start on the outside of the 2d row. We expect to do better and hope to make the podium.
Our hats of to Mitch Wright and the technical staff of SCCA PRO for having the courage to change their decision about our rear tires. We can now be competitive again, we think, and they have done a great job to correct an over reaction.
Sunday July 25th. We finish second. We are on the bigger tires and better right away. Sunday morning practice has us third quick in the field although we are a bit away from the fast times of the leaders. It has been a scramble to get the tires mounted and to fit under the body work. It is hot again. Very hot. We are using a helmet cooler and a cool suit shirt that circulates cool water through small plastic pipes on the shirt. The race starts without incident. This is a good group of drivers that really pay attention. We pass Tommy Archer after a few laps and it takes 6 more to get by Bill Cooper. The hot weather makes their tires and brakes not as good and we probably get a bit of advantage. I also think we were a bit better prepared to deal with the heat. For me it was like driving in 80 degree weather, not 100 and that is a big difference. When we got by Cooper, there was an 8 second gap to the leader (Kermit Upton in the BMW) which we closed, but we could not get by him. We were faster in the back sections of the course, but he was definitely faster down the back straight. I got by once in turn 8, but couldn’t make it stick as he passed me down the back straight. We had a great race, but my car just wasn’t up to the task (or maybe I wasn’t) of getting by Kermit. Gap at the finish was just .5 second. Awfully close. The crew from Moorespeed did a fantastic job getting the car ready for this race and we were really in the hunt once they permitted us to have the wider rear tires. David Moore, Mike and Craig sure worked hard and Lee Kemper who had to stay home as a result of an injury in the shop (relatively minor I hope) deserve a great compliment. My, and the Toad’s, hat off to them. We should do well next weekend at Trois Riveries although we have never been there before. Also an amazing compliment to our BF Goodrich Tires. We ran this race on the same set of tires that we won the race with at Mid-Ohio!! Two hard, hot races on the same set of tires.