ChumpCar World Series: Watkins Glen International – Part 1


Participating in a race with 93 cars is hard to comprehend.  So just like in school where the teacher tells you to break it down into smaller chunks, the race gets broken down into smaller races. Here, the race is with the Quebec based Honda CRX. Other cars may pass both of you, you may be passing other cars – but at this moment the race is really only the two of you. Here the chase is on through Turn Five, right after the bus stop.

You would have thought that with the noon hour race start that I would have had time to do a track walk, but there was simply no time for that to happen. Ensuring that all gear was ready, getting registered, having my helmet and firesuit checked in tech, hauling everything up to pit row. There just was not time to do what I would consider a mandatory task, the track walk.


The No Budget Racing Team consists of our #881 Civic ‘No Budget Racing 1’ and our #998 Miata ‘No Budget Racing Too’. Photo by Mike Agiannidis.

Over the winter the Civic received a heart and lung transplant. The drivetrain was replaced with a CRV engine and a what we hoped was a transmission with better gearing to take advantage of the CRV's torque, allowing it to just haul out of corners. The Miata, still bearing cosmetic war wounds from contact with the wall at CTMP's Turn One during the rain soaked (and our) final ChumpCar race of 2013, was straight and true. John Dattomo worked his magic on it over the winter, as in most hands the damage it had received would have been a death sentence. It was all set and simply needed an oil change, alignment, and the windshield cleaned in preparation for Watkins Glenn International. The Miata also received a fire suppression system to enhance driver safety.

While some of the team headed into town to a motel, several of us stayed on site to be close to the cars and to make use of our investment in recreational vehicles. John also got to enjoy my cooking – omelettes for breakfast.

Long range weather forecasts indicated that there would be a lot of rain on both Friday and Saturday, leaving Sunday with nice weather. The sky was heavy with clouds Friday morning which made it look like wet would be the main feature of the day. With that in mind Falken Azenis RT615 tires were mounted on the car. This tire is good in the dry but, more important with this weather outlook, good in the rain. It is also a very durable tire which is outstanding when the event involves almost twenty-four hours of racing over three days. They had a few lapping days experience, had been stored properly over the winter, and were ready for use. The Civic would be going out on new Dunlop Direzzas. These are also an excellent tire in wet or dry conditions.


Ralph moved the car up to pit row Friday morning and the excitement and his enthusiasm is obvious. Whether the car is an SRT monster which has over 600 whp or an import with barely more than 100, racing is fun.

Why? My wife has asked me. So have my co-workers. Even some of my lapping buddies and fellow Time Attack competitors. Why ChumpCar? Why wheel to wheel racing? I have asked myself and also have asked some of my fellow ChumpCar competitors that very question. Why? The answer to wheel to wheel racing should be obvious – because racecar! There is no doubt that track days are awesome. Time Attack is incredible. Yet they simply pale in comparison to splitting a field of cars and coming out ahead. Passing someone who pinches your line, meaning that you are either going to have contact or that you ride up the turtles (the curbing), or the grass to finish your pass. Starting a pass on the outside then changing the line drastically due to the lead driver’s position change, but then completing the pass on the inside. That has to sound like fun. Combined with a slight risk of danger.


Metric Homes Racing consists of some  track day friends from the Ottawa area. We didn't get to chat much this weekend, but perhaps we will at the ChumpCar race at Calabogie Motorsport Park in July. Metric Homes placed 10th on Saturday and 4th on Sunday. Well Done! Photo by Mike Agiannidis.

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