ChumpCar World Series: Watkins Glen International – Part 1


Our Miata can go for multiple races on our Carbotech XP8 brake pads, but that doesn't mean we don't check them faithfully! In addition to the two normal responses to why competitors like ChumpCar endurance racing, I believe there are two more. There is a love of working on cars and doing our best to build the best car that will last the multiple hours of endurance racing that we anticipate participating in. Then, we all enjoy the camaraderie of getting together with old and new friends and swapping racing stories. Perhaps the story is about how at 100 mph a black BMW contacted me and left marks on the passenger fender for my first 'rubbin is racing' contact last fall.

When I asked my fellow competitors I essentially got two responses to why ChumpCar. It was either that this was one of the most inexpensive ways to get into wheel to wheel racing or that ChumpCar offers a high level of competition combined with a great amount of seat time. There is no question about seat time, as I would guess that over the three days our team averaged three to four hours of seat time each. And that is including compressing two teams into one due to some issues that will be touched on later in this article. From a risk perspective, I covered the safety gear aspect in my last ChumpCar article so enough said. Except travelling to WGI threw in a new twist. As I was preparing for this trip from Canada to the States I discovered that my medical insurance for out of Country protection, a significant item everyone should carry on a trip, had an exclusion that meant I was covered for everything except my participation on the racetrack. This caused me some concern, as that could be an area where coverage may be needed. In my searching I found that this exclusion was common among most providers.


Here I am confirming with Bill that I did have the proper medical insurance. Or I was checking in with my wife and letting her know that my stint in the car was just beginning and to pray for my safety/or letting her know that I was all done and safe. Quite possible that I was just making people jealous by posting on social media that I was racing all weekend long. Photo by Mike Agiannidis.

After a number of phone calls and web searches, finding that some of my Canadian competitors just took this as a natural risk of racing and went knowing about that exclusion, I found that Bill Brekelmans of Brekelmans Financial (fellow Canadian and ChumpCar competitor) could offer me the medical insurance protection that I needed. When Bill is not racing he is involved in insurance sales. Needless to say, I signed up with him quite quickly. In my search I found that JB Motorsport, who provide liability insurance for many track events here in Ontario, also provide medical insurance for Canadian Racers heading South of the border. It is more likely that you are going to be injured on the interstate or walking through a parking lot than on a race track, but that is a risk that you simply should not take for yourself or your family. You would not go racing without your helmet; do not go racing without being sure that you have medical coverage. If you are in Ontario, give one of these businesses a call.


Bryce Deathe captured this picture of the #998 Miata coming down the front straight. In addition to taking pics, Bryce also drives the #88 Honda Civic with the IDFC team. You'll see some pics of this Canadian team in a page or two. It is quite possible that our Miata was passing #381 MR2 Biohazard – just not in this universe. MR2 Biohazard won both Saturday and Sunday's endurance races. I'm pretty sure we were passing the red car and then moved over a bit more when we saw who was flying up in our rear view mirror. Photo by Bryce Deathe.

The variety of cars racing together is incredible. If I had more time I would have just gone up and down pit row checking out the cars. Our pit mates to one side was a Canadian team fielding a Honda Civic that, unfortunately, faced a catastrophic engine failure in the first morning. They did not have the budget to repair it and keep going, so they had to pack up early. To our other side – and surrounded by Canadians – was the Drunken Squirrel Racing team's Mercury Cougar. They were awesome to pit beside, very professional, had some very fast lap times. They were on the podium on Sunday with a second place finish.


I love the look and sound of this car. It is the ultimate ChumpCar and, underneath the rusty body (some of which required the tender love of a sawzall – inset) was a machine that was all business. I love that the rear spoiler was created by simply flipping the trunk lid upside down! The Drunken Squirrels driver/team members are Matt Newcomer, Jerry Blouch, Graham Hollis, Darin Kreiss, and Craig Anderson. They also had a huge support staff, made up of family members, to keep them on track and driving fast. They're from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Their daily lunch buffet was awesome – at least it looked awesome! (Rob, what happened to our Italian food?)

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