Sebring, Florida – The MINI of Charleston/MINI USA/MINI Financial Services race team started the 2013 racing season off with a trip to the historic 3.7 mile, 17 turn, Sebring International Raceway. The world famous track has hosted sports car racing since the 1950s when Hendricks Airfield stopped training B-17 pilots. The track is home to the spring classic 12 Hours of Sebring, that draws teams from around the world.
This weekend’s event was the first for the Sports Car Club of America’s new Majors Series and a BFG Super Tour event. Points races were run on both Saturday and Sunday. The MINI team was represented by Robbie Davis driving the 2012 MINI Cooper in the B Spec Class (the same car that Robbie won twice last year in the Grand AM series) and the 2002 MINI Cooper of Brad Davis in the H Production class. In both races Robbie traded positions with Chi Ho from Orlando, Florida in his Honda Fit. Also in both races, the start of the multiple class race (over 50 race cars) created some problems for Robbie with Chi choosing the faster pack of cars to go through the first turn with and Robbie being stuck behind some cars that did not get off the start as quickly. Robbie managed to work his way back up the Honda and after trading positions several times, prevailed by the end of both of the 45 mile races. On the way to the Saturday win, Robbie established a new Sebring B Spec track record.
Also racing in the same race group, but in a different class, Brad Davis ran his MINI Cooper in the H Production class. Saturday Brad and Terry Boylan from Lakeland, Florida in his Honda CRX, traded the 2nd and 3rd positions multiple times while Jay Griffin of Titusville, Florida got out in front in his Honda CRX. Davis has moved into 2nd approaching the 1 lap to go sign at Start/Finish when something from the track punctured his right front tire in turn 17. Boylan passed Davis for 2nd at the start line and on the last lap race leader Griffin developed an engine miss, with Boylan passing him for the win on the last lap. Brad limped the flat-tired car back to finish 3rd. Sunday’s race saw Boylan and Davis again trading positions, but this time for 1st. However, while passing a slower car in another class, Brad got into turn 3 too hot (ran out of talent) and spun the car 180 degrees. Luckily he was able to quickly turn the car around before the other H production class cars caught him and he retained 2nd place. After a lengthy full course caution to clean up a 2 car mishap in turn 17, Boylan again took the lead and looked like he was headed to victory. However, sometimes you loss by the flat tire and sometimes you win by the flat tire. With two laps remaining, Terry broke a front body part and ran over it, puncturing his front tire and Davis was able to take the lead and win by 10 seconds over Tony Drum of Mt. Holly, NC in his Austin Healy Sprite. Rounding out the podium was Pat Simpson from Huntington, Michigan in his BMW 1600. “What a thrill to take a side by side victory lap with checkered flags hanging out the window with father and son together” said the older Davis during the victory podium ceremonies. “ I could not have done this without the support of MINI USA, MINI of Charleston and our crew members, Chris McAlister and Stuart Kestenbaum”, remarked son Robbie Davis on the public address interview.
The team takes another break as they prepare for the next SCCA Majors/BFG Super Tour race at Road Atlanta Raceway March 16-17.