Porsche Weekend at the Glen!
1998 Porsche/Watkins Glen Double 50th Anniversary
Brian Redman’s 50/50 at Watkins Glen International was a great weekend. We not only saw history, but made history. It was announced on Sunday by the President of PCNA that we were part of the largest gathering of Porsche race cars in history. Over 350 cars!! Walking thru the garage and paddocks was like being in a time capsule. RSK, RSR, Spyder, Gmund cars 906, 908, 917, 935, 962, Can Am, Moby Dick, Long Tail, you name it, they were there and they were racing on the track.
Jersey Shore’s Mike Bavaro, Mario LoMedico and Ray & Tom Ross set-up camp inside turn 11. We all made Friday’s practice session. Brian Redman used PCA rules and classifications, but the genius was to mix the PCA racing into the vintage event. He and his son, James, did a great job. Saturday morning’s qualification sessions were in the rain. The organizers made a wise decision to use Friday’s last practice for the grid. Mike went out first on dry tires, big mistake. After a few slippery laps he switched to rain tires. He used Yokohama 032 specially grooved. They worked great and he established a good wet groove. However, it was not to be as it started to clear and that was the only rain we would see all weekend. Mario went out on wets. He shared his practice session with John Abruzzo. John is from Westfield and raced with Mike in the SCCA and IMSA in the middle 80’s.
Tom and Ray both qualified in the dry. Mike’s times from Friday were:
2.08.01 which was good enough to start on the pole in Class, 16th overall.
Satruday afternoon was for all Classes to compete in a 10 lap Sprint Race. Here’s how they went:
Ray Ross, in Class “I” started his Sprint Race in 16th position, 8th in Class with a time of 2:31.089. Tom Ross started the same race in 7th overall and 2nd in Class with a lap time of 2:23.052. After an exciting ten lap dash both improved their position. Ray who finished 14th overall, 7th in Class, fast lap was 2:28.238. Tom aslo improved to finish 1st in Class and 7th overall, also improving on his fast lap time of 2:22.473. Great job by both father and son.
Next up was Mike’s 10 lap dash. Starts are fun, especially when you are next to or behind a 944 or a turbo. They take a bit more time to get up to speed. Anyway, after some fun, Mike finished 9th overall and 1st in GT3S out of a 62 car field.
Last on Saturday’s sprints, but not least, was Mario LoMedico in GT4S. Mario started 16th overall and 3rd in Class with a qualifying time of 2:20.939. Mario worked his way thru traffic until he missed a down shift and locked up the rear wheels. He spun and tapped the famous blue bushes. He was able to continue on to finish 9th overall and 4th in Class. Good job Mario.
The first one hour enduro started with Mario LoMedico and John Abruzzo sharing the ride. A mandatory five minute timed pit stop was scheduled for half way. John started the race and improved several positions. Just before half way a full course caution came out. John pitted but they were caught in the pits when the green went back out on the next lap. He reported fumes in the car, the Bodymotion pit crew led by Jeff Nowell determined that the header pipe broke under the firewall. Mario got into the car and was doing quite well. They finished 5th in Class and 11th overall. On the last lap the header broke completely and the hot exhaust melted the starter and it caught on fire. No problem, that’s what fire extinguishers are for.
The next enduro featuring Ray and Tom Ross required more strategy during the pit stops. They have no in-car radio so communication has to be agreed on. Jeff Nowell had a meeting with all crew members; Jason Bavaro, Blake Bohinc, Adam McInnes, Linda Louie and Jim Fetter. Tom & Ray did not plan on driver changes but they had to leave the car while refueling. Tom’s stop went without a hitch and he finished 1st in Class and 6th overall. Congratulations Tom. Ray came in with the right side of his car damages; donut marks, bent sheet metal and a cut tire. The pit crew fixed everything and sent Ray out, only missing an extra 30 or 40 seconds. Great job by the pit crew. Ray went on to finish 5th in Class and 11th overall. Tom’s best lap time was 2:22.2009 and Ray’s best was 2:26.333.
The last race of the day for the tired Bodymotion pit crew was for Mike’s race. Starting 16th the first half went quite smooth. Several positions were gained on the start and several more on the track. Fourth gear engagement became an increasing problem. Soon fourth gear went home to New Jersey without the car. Using third and fith to defend the position. A full course caution came out at the 35 minute mark. Mike immediately pitted taking advantage of the in-car radio. The crew did a perfect refuel job and put Mike back into the car. The caution lasted four more laps giving everyone the same time. This erased any advantage that was hoped to be gained, using only third and fifth was difficult to maintain the lead. Mike finished 2nd by .03 of a second and 9th overall. Best lap time of the weekend for Mike was 2:05.040 during the race.
One last note of thanks from all the driver’s to the volunteers, pit crew and the unbelievable amount of friends and PCA members who came to view this historical and spectacular event.