We had a very successful weekend at Daytona Intl Speedway for the SCCA Regionals. The team had high hopes going into the event this past weekend at Daytona Intl Speedway. Scheduled to run a 25 minute sprint race on Saturday, 1.5 hour endurance race on Sunday morning and a 30 minute sprint race on Sunday afternoon it was sure to be a busy weekend.
Preparation for this event began weeks back in an attempt to not only be a front running car but to have a shot at taking the win in the races scheduled for the weekend. Co-Driver Russell McMullen took the first stab behind the wheel Saturday morning for the qualifying session for Sunday mornings 1.5 Hour endurance race. Everything went smoothly for the first part of the session and McMullen continued to run quicker and quicker lap times. Carnage ensued shortly there after as an over revved engine dropped valves and destroyed the engine. McMullen had still secured the #3 qualifying spot in the ITA class with a solid 2:23.059 Lap Time. Back in the pits the damaged was assessed and the only option was to swap engines to prepare for the Sunday festivities.
The team would miss the Qualifying session for the Sprint Races and Saturday afternoon sprint race but at least would be prepared to race on Sunday. Luckily Daytona Intl Speedway is only about 40 miles from the www.IPGParts.com headquarters so the plan was in motion to pull the engine from a street car that was back at the shop and transplant into into the 1993 Acura Integra ITA race car. Work began and the team was buttoned up and had the race car back in the trailer by about 8 pm Saturday evening. Sunday was going to be interesting, that was for sure. Louis Murphy strapped into the ITA Integra to start the 1.5 Hour endurance race on Sunday morning not ever having been around the complete 3.56 mile Daytona Road Course. The solid 3rd in class starting position put him in the top 3rd of the field as the race began. It took a couple of laps but steadily Murphy got into a groove and maintained a solid pace for his 45 minute stint behind the wheel. Pit stop time made things interesting as the car was brought down pit road and the crew performed their first ever in race pit stop to a bit of success. The ITA Integra was refueled, McMullen was strapped in and with back out on track quickly. McMullen's experience showed as he managed a scorching 2:20.556 lap time during his stint. Finishing the 1.5 hour enduro in 5th place in class and 13th overall (out of 53 cars) was a huge accomplishment for the first ever weekend out running this type of event.
After a short lunch break Murphy strapped back in and was set for the Sunday afternoon 30 minute sprint race. Since the team missed qualifying on Saturday Murphy started dead last in the 44 car field. The NW Radio's proved worth their weight in gold as the team was able to call the green flag to Murphy as it dropped allowing him to pass 9 cars before turn 1. Murphy slowly gained more and more familiarity with the track and was continuing to rocket through the field. By the time the checkered flag dropped Murphy finished 15th overall and 7th place in class. Not bad for a 190k+ mile stock engine. It is now track tested and ready for a new owner.
What a great weekend. Highs and lows make racing exciting and overcoming the lows makes the highs that much better. The www.IPGParts.com ITA Integra is next scheduled to race at Homestead Raceway on June 11th-12th, 2011.