Summit Point Motorsports Park. Friday morning. Snow on the ground, track literally getting plowed, but the racing is still on. That is how the weekend started. A huge cold weather front dumped 8 inches of snow on the track on Thursday, but our team was dedicated to wrapping up the season in style. Practice and qualifying brought about a learning curve as the track was fraught with ever-changing conditions. That would be the story throughout the weekend as temperature ranged from below freezing to almost 50, which made the snow create rivers across the track and lakes in the corners.
Saturday’s race started off well enough, as Joe Cudby stayed out of the melee that was the first few laps of the race. The snow embankments were unforgiving to many cars. Barely touching them sent race cars spinning. Pretty soon he found the zone as started clicking off consistently quick times in the #92. Matt Deming drove second and stayed clean through his stint. Carla Lebentritt drove third and it should be noted that her times consistently improved throughout the weekend, especially impressive because not only were the conditions not great, but this was her first experience at Summit Point Motorsports Park. Sean McKay and Zack Moore were driving in stints 4 and 5. Their solid efforts at clean racing edged us up towards the top of the class. By the time Zack was out of the driver’s seat, the Race Team Inc. #92 was in contention for the podium. Anthony Magagnoli closed this snowy race for us, with the sun going down and track getting slippery, he kept the car safe and pushed even harder.
The result? OUR FIRST WIN with American Endurance Racing! After a season of 2nd and 3rd place finishes, we finally pulled out a P1 finish and at OUR HOME TRACK! We couldn’t be more excited and thankful to everyone on our team that has helped so much and for the all the great driving across the board throughout the year. It was truly a remarkable day and the trophy made it just that much better.
Sunday’s race started off delayed by an hour because all the snow that melted on Saturday, then froze overnight. Zack Moore jumped right in first stint and started clicking off quick laps, then Billy Kennard kept up pace through the second stint as the sun came out and the track started changing… again. That would be the story for the rest of the day as offs and weather changes, left snow, water, mud and various bumpers & body parts everywhere. Carla jumped in next and was again gaining speed until the track fouled up her line near turn 4 and sent her spinning. A quick inspection in the paddock and Joe Cudby hopped in and tried to gain back some positions. The weather and ever-changing conditions were not our friends today and with Anthony Magagnoli closing for us, we just didn’t have the time or the grip to make it to podium this day.
But our combined efforts did net us 3rd Overall in Class for the weekend and with Saturdays performance we will be going into the winter break knowing how lucky we are to have such a great team put together.
Thank you to our sponsors for helping to make ChampCar 24 hour race at VIR 2018 happen!