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Jun 27, 2011 / reports


I didn't even bother writing a press release. Our series' first race at Road America, a track I've longed to compete at, was a disaster. Not just for us -- although going from a five point championship lead in the Street Tuner class to a 15-point deficit is pretty bad -- but for everyone. It was a rubbish race. Unless, of course, you're into huge accidents and legions of torn-up cars. In that case, it was a massive success. I'll not be surprised it garners the best TV ratings of the season thus far...

I'll be the first to admit this was not a great race for us. Our championship-leading car, 75, suffered suspension failure mid-race, and we were lucky that our crew managed such fast pit work to get Ryan back out and to ulimately finish in 16th place. The rumble strips are very punishing at Road America, and one trip over them can be the beginning of the end. 76 finished one place ahead in 15th, after contact with another car put paid to a sure top-eight finish for Carlos Tesler-Mabe and Keith Carroll, who was pulling double-duty by starting 75 for Ryan and closing 76 for Carlos.

74, which is piloted by the very impressive pairing of David Thilenius (last year's champion) and Zach Lutz (who was third in the 2010 championship), suffered another poor result, it's highly-stressed 2.0L Japanese motor expiring shortly before the race concluded. I'm gutted for these two guys as they both deserve so much better. We're struggling to overcome the restrictor Grand-Am fitted to our cars at the beginning of the year (as those who watch the SPEED coverage will have heard each and every race since Homestead in March!), and I hope we're finally going to see it come off before Laguna to give us a fighting chance.

Worst of all, Andrew Novich's 77 car tagged the wall at Canada Corner during practice on Thursday. Although he's okay, Andrew did break three ribs and punctured a lung. Andrew's already on the mend, and the car's repairable, but neither he nor the car will make Laguna Seca in two weeks time. They'll be back in time for New Jersey.

Needless to say, we're hoping for better at Laguna.

- Karl Thomson

Awesome photos, as always, by Michael and Leslie Stahlschmidt of Sideline Sports Photography.