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Charleston, SC – The MINI of Charleston Racing team has returned home after a grueling week at the 4.0 mile, 14 turn road course called Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Both Showroom Stock B class driver Robbie Davis in the MINIUSA.com 2005 MINI Cooper S and Brad Davis in his MINI of Charleston 2002 MINI Cooper in the H Production Class, earned invitations to the Sports Car Club of America’s National Championship Runoffs. Neither driver had driven challenging Road America course, excluding some X-Box practice! Both drivers learned the track during the weeklong qualifying sessions and prepared for a winner-take-all class championship race. After a weather prediction of 68-72 and sunny all week, a front sat on the Milwaukee area and produced intermittent rain and cold temps all week. Rob’s championship race was Saturday afternoon and the track had dried some from the morning rain, but still had some damp and slippery spots on the asphalt track surface. Rob qualified and started from the 10th position and ran a smooth race to finish 8th. The MINI Cooper S, after winning several class championships has been put in a class with more powerful cars, including the Ford Mustang, Honda Civic SI and the BMW Z4. Rob did the brand proud to run his fastest race lap within 1.5 seconds of the Class Champion Ford Mustang of Mike Scornavacchi of Manheim, Pa. The long straight-aways at Road America definitely favored the Mustang over the MINI. Our congratulations to Mike, who has shared positions, wins and occasional paint with Robbie in the Southeast Division SCCA National Series races. Second place was Lee Niffenegger of Santa Clarita, California in his Honda Civic SI. Rounding out the top three was another Mustang, last year’s champion Ed Zabinski of Stockbridge, Georgia. Robbie’s fastest lap average speed was 87.635, just slightly slower that the winner’s average lap of 88.449.
First thing Sunday morning was Brad’s race and the weatherperson again was asleep at the wheel with a prediction of cloudy skies and no rain until noon (well after Brad’s race at 8:30 AM). The team awakened at 6 AM to find the streets of Elkhart Lake drenched in 1-2 inches of partly cloudy for a challenging decision on wet versus dry tires for the morning race. Although the rain stopped just before the cars left on their pace lap, dark skies surrounded the track and the team choose to root for rain and went out to race on full tread rain tires. Cars on the grid made different tire selections with many on rains, some on intermediate tires and others on dry slicks. Wanting to use the full tread of the rain tires and the definite advantage of the MINI’s front wheel drive, the team hoped for additional rain during the race. But again the weather team was not cooperative and the track continued to dry during the 14 lap, 48 mile sprint race. After a good start and staying with the lead pack, the dry track dropped Brad’s MINI to 6th to 7th place during the race, crossing the finish line just behind the 6th place car. “Being at Road America for the first time with a brand new car, I was pleased with the results”, said Davis in the post race interview. “A top ten against 21 of the best cars and drivers in the country is nothing to be ashamed of. Any time you drive a car into the trailer (as opposed to pushing it in) at a National Championship race in the rain, that’s a good day.” Running on a wet-damp track, Brad’s fastest lap still had an average speed of almost 72 mph. The winning car was a 1985 Honda Civic SI driven by local favorite Greg Gauper of Hubertus, Wisconsin. Finishing second and third respectively were Dick Gagliardi of Arlington Heights, Illinois in his Volkswagen Scirocco and Jason Isley from Coto De Caza, California in his Toyota Yaris.
Also making news at the Runoffs was MINI USA’s B Spec show car that shared the tent with other B Spec cars from Ford, Toyota, Fiat, Mazda and Honda. The new class intended for base entry level cars (the base Cooper for MINI) will be a new SCCA National, Regional and possible Pro class. Rules are being established to equalize competition allowing driver skill to be the winning factor. MINI of Charleston is doing the development work for MINI USA and will be distributing the competition kits required to change a base car into a weekend racer. More details on the cars and race series are expected in the near future.
For Additional Information, contact Brad Davis 843 402-6551 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recorded video coverage of the entire race is available at www.speedcasttv.com