The Friday practice sessions went fairly well. Ted saw his new Playboy MX-5 Cup Car (click to see photo) for the first time and jumped right into it for a practice session. He spun it on the 3rd turn of the first lap. While sliding towards the concrete barrier, he wondered if the car was ever going to see the whole track before being towed away... It was to be the first of many exciting moments for the new MX-5 Cup Car. Ironically, when Ted then jumped into his SM class Spec Miata, he spun in turn 4 on its first lap at the tricky triangle. The "infield" portion of the Pocono Raceway has some merit to it! Eventually Ted, Larry and Chris has the hang of it and were hitting some good lap times in preparation for the races on Saturday and Sunday. In the last STU qualifying session, the nut backed off on the right side tie-rod and the new MX-5 Cup Car got dangerously close to slamming into the wall at excess of 120MPH. Luckily Ted was able to get the car stopped and eventually back off the track and into the pits for repair.
On Saturday Ted raced in both the SM and STU races. The SM race was great with Ted jumping out into second place by the time the group received the green flag and crossed start/finish (see video below). The great start did not last long and eventually Ted dropped back to ninth place in a pack of very experienced racers. Six cars finished behind Ted and the race earned him 15 SM National points. In the STU race, Ted drove his new MX-5 Cup Car for the first time in real competition. During the race, the right rear tire blew out and Ted safely guided it into the pits where Mike Collins quickly changed the tire and sent Ted back out. With the help of Steve Gorriaran, Ted finished 5th of 6 cars to earn six STU National Points. This meant that he only needed 7 points from Sunday's STU race to qualify for the SCCA National Championships in the STU class.
It rained hard all night Saturday night and continued raining on Sunday. In the SM race, Ted was doing well and was running in 6th or 7th place when he heard grinding noises coming from the transmission and rear-end (differential) of the car. Since he already had all of the points he needed to qualify for the National Championships in the SM class, he decided to pull into the pits. Mike Collins decided to call it a day as it was too risky to further damage the car by continuing. This ended Ted's regular National SM season with zero points for that race - but a good year overall.
It was still raining by the time the STU race was starting. The MX-5 Cup Car did not have rain tires, so one of the SM cars was needed to run in the STU class. Since the primary SM car was out with the transmission/differential issues, it was decided that the "back-up" SM car would be run as STU. The rain tires were transferred over from the primary SM car and Ted started in last place since that car had not been qualified during the qualifying sessions on Saturday or Sunday. Ted did well in the race and advanced ahead of 7 cars total and finished the overall race in 7th place (of 14 cars). More importantly, he passed the other two STU cars in the race and finished first in STU (see photo of trophy above). All done with a back-up car that started the entire race in last place! This earned Ted 12 points for the win plus 2 points for the 2 STU cars that finished behind him. Fourteen points earned when only seven needed earned Ted entrance to the STU class SCCA National Championships. The SCCA National Championship Runoffs held this September in Elkhart Lake, WI will be a lot more fun running in two classes.
Playbox MX-5 Cup Car
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