Sweet Home Alabama 2 - Bill Heumann

BimmerWorld Racing wrapped up round three of the Grand Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series with two more top ten finishes. The race was pretty exciting for the drivers and crew alike.

We knew we would need to be at the top of our game to do well on the tight technical Barber Motorsports Park road course. Our cars are the heaviest in the field (by up to 500 lbs) and as hard and often as we try, the laws of physics are tough to bend.

The green dropped at 3:50 with Dave on pole and me at P13. The first major incident happened at the entrance to T7 on the first lap. One of the Kias got into one of the RSR Minis and the result was that the Mini was out of action and left a fair amount of debris in the track. That full course yellow was followed almost immediately by another. After about 10 minutes we went green again and had good racing for about 40 minutes. I managed to work #81 up to P8 while Dave was P2 holding a large gap over most of the field except for a Mazda that eventually took the checkered flag.

I had some great close racing for my entire stint and was really pleased to be running with a top 10 pace. With Seth's coaching, help from James and Dave, the support of the crew, and lots of practice, I had my best performance in the series to date in both qualifying and race. I am really pleased and looking forward to the next race.

Around the 1 hour mark there was an incident that caused another FCY and we needed to pit both BWR cars at the same time. The crew did a fantastic job getting us turned around and back on the track. Seth did his usual magic winning back spots lost in the pit stop and then carving through the front runners. His carving was slowed a little bit since Barber is a fairly tough track for passing and it often takes 2-3 laps of set up to execute a pass. The bigger problem though, was that a fair amount of the last hour of racing was spent under FCY, including the last 7 minutes or so.

In the end, for James and Seth it wasn't that we didn't have the speed, it was simply that the race ended too soon. Congratulations to Dave and James for their 5th place finish! Seth and I finished up just behind, in 6th.

In addition to the challenge for the crew to turn two cars around as fast as possible in one stop, they got to witness (feel the heat) from a pretty serious fire in pits just a few down from us. The #198 RSR Mini was driven into the pits on fire (with BJ Zacharias at the wheel). Crew members from RSR and several adjoining teams doused the fire with their bottles....... only to have it flare up with a loud "thump" and big flames. They attacked it again, backed off, and it loudly flared again. Just about the time I was thinking about where to hide, the safety guys got everyone out of the way and got a real fire truck into action which finally won the battle. BJ was unscathed and glad to be alive! I don't think the car was so lucky.

We are looking forward to the next race at VIR in two weeks. BimmerWorld Racing is in second place in the team standings with 1/3 of the season behind us. We are well positioned and on target with the strategy we laid out at the beginning of the season..... not that we pay any attention to that kind of thing!