Back to Florida... - David White

So it's back to Florida for the third time in 3 months (rough, I know) and this time we were in Miami for round 2 of the CTSCC. Homestead Miami Speedway is a banked oval with a road course in the infield. Like Daytona, only smaller. The oval is smaller, the banking is not as steep, and the infield portion is much tighter than Daytona.

After hearing warnings of how cold it was from friends in Miami, we had beautiful weather all weekend. Much nicer than what we had been dealing with in NC and VA the last few months.

Thursday was a promoter test day which consisted of the team unloading and setting up in the morning and then we were on track for a few hours in the afternoon to dial the cars and drivers in. Even if everything goes smoothly, this makes for a hectic/busy day for the team. In our second session, I recall a GS Porsche (very loud car) passing me and once it pulled away, I was still hearing a loud car and the note seemed to change with the revs of my engine...weird. I discussed the issue with the team and brought the car back to the pits. I had somehow managed to blow a hole in the exhaust near one of the oxygen sensors. With the limited time between sessions and the amount of work required to fix the problem, James and I had to skip the final session. We formed a game plan for the practice and qualifying sessions on Friday.

We hit the ground running Friday morning with two practice sessions before lunch. I focused on a few areas of the track that needed some attention and I was pleased with the results. The BimmerWorld crew had the cars dialed in and we were ready for qualifying later in the day. Bill and I decided to go out at the back of the pack for qualifying and I was able to put together a few clean laps to put the car in 11th place on the ST grid.

Saturday consisted of a final morning practice before the race which was spent doing a few laps and practicing pit stop/driver changes. The BimmerWorld crew consistently nails the pit stops and with James and I doing some driver change practice a few weeks earlier, everything went as planned.

We had the usual pre-race "fan walk" but the grid procedure was different than the one we used in Daytona. There was a bit of a mix up about the procedure and several cars ended up starting the race from pit lane including both of our cars and the APR VW's.

Once the race started, we had our work cut out for us but it was definitely an exciting ride! This race had fewer cautions than we expected and I was able to work my way from 31st back to 10th or 11th during my stint. During the second caution, there was confusion among the officials which led to me losing some spots during the wave-bys for the ST cars. We pitted during that caution which lessened the impact but it was still very frustrating and confusing for the team. After a beautifully executed pit stop, James was underway. He was steadily picking up spots until more confusion by the officials during a caution near the end of the race hurt us again. James was running 7th or 8th when the officials ordered our #80 to get in front of the #25 (the lead ST car). James and the team repeatedly questioned this but the officials were adamant that we "make it happen". So James reluctantly went to the front before the green flag flew. About a lap later, we were told that the #80 had to go back to where it was during the caution causing James to miss several laps of racing for position with the 5th and 6th place cars.

Our 7th place finish wasn't bad considering the snafus during the caution periods and was a big improvement over our Daytona finish. Bill and Seth had another great race and finished in 4th in the #81 car, awesome work guys! Overall it was another very strong showing for the BimmerWorld/GearWrench Team and I expect that to continue throughout the remainder of the season.

I think Bill covered the Jimmy Buffett issue quite nicely in his post, so all i'll say is that I'd be happy to never hear another Buffett song again...ever.

Next up - Round 3 at Barber Motorsports Park...stay tuned!

(photos courtesy of Curtis Creager of CreagerImages)