Barber Race Report
The car was fastest all weekend long, and Travis took the pole.
Barber, AL -- June 29th, 2006
All weekend long the lone Kensai Racing with Compass360 #76 Acura RSX-S was the class of the ST field. It was a dominant performance by both Canadian hot-shoes, Travis Walker and Kuno Wittmer, and demonstrated just how far the Kensai team has come in their first full season of Grand Am Cup competition.
Wittmer, who is also competing in the SPEED World Challenge series this year, was thrilled with the Kensai/Compass360 RSX-S. "What a great car," he said. "So well prepared and set-up! Ray and his team have something special here. I plan on driving with them again this year."
After being either first or second is every practice session at Barber, Walker decisively put the #76 on the pole, ahead of Turner's #95 BMW, in a thrilling last-lap effort. "We had a good second lap which put us first," Travis recalls. "But then the Turner car went a little faster, so I went back out to see if we had a little more. I didn't leave anything on the table!"
The race started on Saturday under exceptionally warm, muggy conditions, with Travis leading the top four cars, who quickly took off from the rest of the pack. The battle amongst these cars was very close. At one point, Walker was driven off track by a slower GS-class car, which required lightning-fast reactions to avoid. Unfortunately, when Travis re-entered the track, he did so abruptly in front of the #70 Mazda RX-8 of David Haskell, with some contact as the result. Grand Am put the incident under review and shortly thereafter called Walker into the pit for a stop-and-go penalty. This put the #76 car down in the ST order, and was lapped by the overall GS leader a few laps later.
Of course, the expected full-course yellow was displayed a lap or so after that, ending the team's hopes for a podium. "Very, very soon, the entire weekend will go our way," said Kensai's Ray Lee. "We've proven we have the package, and our drivers are always top-notch. The car can take the top spot on the podium, and I'm confident we can do that before the year is out."
The Kensai Racing with Compass360 team will return with a full two-car effort at this coming weekend's Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres. A brand new #75 car has been built to replace the one destroyed at the Mid-Ohio race, and -- as usual -- the driver line-up is very solid.
"Walker and Aaron Povoledo will pair in the new #75," said Lee, "and Karl Thomson, who has our two best finishes this year (4th at Laguna Seca and 5th at Mid-Ohio) will drive with Mathieu Audette, who is currently leading the FAQ Quebec road racing championship." Audette should be a real benefit to the team, having already done very well at the Trois Riveres track this season in FAQ competition.
The Grand Am Cup Barber Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant airs August 5th at 1:00pm on SPEED Channel.
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For more information on Kensai Racing contact Ray Lee, (416) 752-2066. Visit http://www.kensairacing.com
For more information on Compass360 contact Karl Thomson, (416) 465-2299 x21 or email karlt at compass360 dot com. Visit http://www.compass360.com
For more information on the Grand Am Cup series visit http://www.grandamerican.com
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