ChumpCar World Series: Watkins Glen International – Part 1


Just a little further away was another Canadian team, Mopar 4 Life. They came to endurance racing from drag racing and they have since built up an impressive resume. They added to that this weekend as they took their 1997 Dodge Neon sport (with a 2.4L from a Dodge Stratus swapped into it) to second place podium finishes on both Friday and Saturday. They were on target for a similar, if not better, finish on Sunday when a short in their kill switch brought them into the pits and put them several laps down. Keeping it simple, this car has a header, Koni sport struts, cut springs, the famous BMW eater intake, and extensive amounts of unnecessary weight removed from it. Fast, light, dependable, and cheaper than some other forms of racing. This is a great group of guys.


Mopar for Life has focused upon removing excess weight and developing a reliable car. And it works. Their team (see inset) consists of (from left) Brian Sibbit, Steve Hermetz, Dan Martin, and Eric Martin. Missing from this photo are Dave St. Louis and Carl Wener. Your eyes are not deceiving you as my own teammate Ralph Gilles was drawn to this Mopar team. They had our blessing and permission from ChumpCar to let Ralph go out for a stint. He put down the team's fastest time of the day. The #4 car is flying through Turn Five in this photo.
The #88 Honda of Bill Brekelmans, Bryce Deathe (who captured this picture), John Maiurro, and Mike Naisbitt making gains through the corner. This team is just around the corner from me and they're awesome. Prior to their first ChumpCar event last year, two of their drivers were complete track novices. They're becoming very competitive and were running in 12th spot on Sunday at one point. Photo by Bryce Deathe.
The #86 Miata belongs to the 'Me At A Race' team from Kingston, ON, and they're great guys. The car is wonderfully prepared and I had an opportunity to have a great 'race within a race' with them Saturday morning.
Coming to the last corner before entering the front straight, our Miata is in a mix of cars that was a regular occurrence. With 93 cars on the track, it was rare that you had a lap in which you weren't being passed by or passing someone.
Here #4, Mopar 4 Life, is three wheeling through the bus stop. This is a fast corner when you make good use of the curbing.
#88 Honda is also making its way through the Bus Stop and then heading to Turn Five.
Heading down into the Chute (Turn Six) is an awesome drive that I am not yet doing well. On Friday just as I was getting the hang of it someone lost their engine and dropped oil. I was a few cars back and not sure what happened until I started going sideways. While I recovered, I seem to have a mental block in this corner that I'm going to have to work on to take it effectively at speed. Note: some would say that's an issue I have at every corner – maybe that's why endurance racing is a good choice for my driving style!

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