Daytona Race Report - May 1,2

There’s a reason Daytona Beach FL is called the “World Center of Speed”. From the early 1900’s when land speed record attempts were conducted on the beaches, thru the races on the famed road and beach course, then (since 1959) races on the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway. There are very few tracks we race that have even one 20-25 second straightaway, and at Daytona you get to mash the gas pedal that long TWICE per lap! I have no idea what driving the track is like in a Spec-B Fit or an ITC Honda, but at the 2015 SCCA Runoffs I was clocked at 179.66 mph across the Start/Finish line before hitting the brakes for Turn 1 (close enough to 180 that I tell people I’ve run that speed in a GTA car). The downside is that doing two dyno pulls per lap can be hard on equipment, but the track is simply a hoot to drive in a big car!

We had five V8RRS drivers and one potential member signed up among the 37 pre-registered for the May 1,2 weekend conducted by the Central Florida Region SCCA. The schedule called for a 20 minute qualifying session and a 30 minute timed race on Saturday followed by a 35 minute feature race on Sunday. As Group 1 we needed to be at the track early both days, but we also got to pack up and head home before noon on Sunday if we wanted.

It seems spreading 33 cars over a 3.45 mile road course would leave plenty of room for everyone to get a clean lap, but that was not to be. Danny Lowry spun on his own coolant entering the Bus Stop on his second lap, Mike Attaway had electrical issues that caused him to miss half the session, Dick Ruckh had his brakes lock up on course, and potential member Allen Thornton had his LR trailing arm break before he could really get up to speed early in the session. Fortunately there was no permanent damage to any of them and they were able to start subsequent sessions.

At the end of the 20-minute qualifying session Saturday afternoon the field was:

. 1st GTA* (5th OA) – Jack Stanford, GranTurismo East SS; 1.59.407

. 1st SPO (9th OA) – Allen Thornton, Christin Thornton Racing SS; 2.00.230

. 1st GT2 (13th OA) – Dick Ruckh, Team 7 Racing Camaro; 2.05.151

. 2nd GT2 (15th OA) – Danny Lowry, Corvette; 2.06.122

. 2nd GTA* (19th OA) – John Munroe, Uniforms 2 U Impala SS; 2.09.017

. 3rd GT2 (21st OA) – Mike Attaway, ATCO Demolition & Grading Camaro; 2.12.683

(BTW – “GTA*” is short for “GTA By Coolshirt Systems”. They are partners in promoting the V8RRS by class but putting all that on the results line makes it too long! <g>)

During the break before the race Danny and the tightened the hoses on the radiator they had replaced on Friday’s test day while Dick bled the brakes to release the excess pressure in the lines, and while Allen was able to find parts to repair his trailing arm there wasn’t enough time to finish the job before the 11 AM call to grid.

Again misfortune struck as Danny continued to have overheating issues and retired after three laps. Jack and John both dropped out after completing four laps, Allen with transmission issues while John’s engine first lost power and then seized up after he pulled onto pit road. In a great race Dick & Mike each did their best to let the other win. Dick spun exiting the Bus Stop to let Mike get by mid-race then Mike looped it coming back onto the oval on the last lap.

The final results in Race #1:

. 1st GT2 (10th OA) – Dick Ruckh, Team 7 Racing Camaro; 2.02.714

. 2nd GT2 (13th OA) – Mike Attaway, ATCO Demolition & Grading Camaro; 2.02.889

. 1st GTA* (26th OA) – Jack Stanford, GranTurismo East SS; 1.59.033

. 2nd GTA* (27th OA) – John Munroe, Uniforms 2 U Impala SS; 2.08.071

. 3rd GT2 (29th OA) – Danny Lowry, Corvette; 2.03.461

. DNS – Allen Thornton, Christin Thornton Racing SS; no time

Unfortunately John’s issues were terminal so they loaded up and started back to Alabama Saturday afternoon. He posted on FB that he REALLY enjoyed his short time on track, drove almost 170 mph for the first time in his life, and that they’d be making a return to Daytona someday. Danny & the guys replaced more parts of the cooling system, Jack’s troubles ended up being a loose shifter rather than something more serious, and Allen got his rear suspension back together Saturday afternoon. They were not scheduled in the event supps, so I spent some time working with CFR event officials to organize a hardship warm-up so Allen and Jack could check out their repairs before Sunday’s race.

At the 8:40 AM green flag Allen jumped from his eighth place starting position to fourth, then started hounding the second and third place cars. His weekend ended on lap three, however, when the engine started making expensive noises before the braking point for the Bus Stop. Danny ran three laps before the car started overheating again, so he pulled it behind the pit wall. Jack ran as high as eighth early and made life miserable for the more powerful ex-Cup cars around him, but on lap 7 he slowed considerably and reported the engine was down on power (we found out later the #8 plug wire had come off). Even though he could have pulled in after the halfway point and still gotten SARRC points, he soldiered on and took the checkered flag. Mike & Dick resumed their battle from Saturday with Dick leading early until Mike got by on lap 4, then Mike’s car quit yet again on lap 9 to surrender the lead again.

At the checkers the order was:

. 1st GT2 (9th OA) – Dick Ruckh, Team 7 Racing Camaro; 2.02.239

. 1st GTA* (10th OA) – Jack Stanford, GranTurismo East SS; 1.57.406

. 2nd GT2 (20th OA) – Mike Attaway, ATCO Demolition & Grading Camaro; 2.01.347

. 3rd GT2 (24th OA) – Danny Lowry, Corvette; 2.04.971

. 1st SPO (25th OA) – Allen Thornton, Christin Thornton Racing SS; 1.54.373

. DNS – John Munroe, Uniforms 2 U Impala SS; no time

Next event on the 2021 V8 Road Racing Series Presented by schedule is the Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints at Road America the weekend of June 4-6. The June Sprints are one of the longest running events in the U.S. and is an excellent show every year.

See y’all at the track…

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