Tuesday, June 21, 2005

South Bend Sprints at Gingerman Raceway

June 20, 2005 – South Haven, MI

This past weekend brought the best finishes ever for Phil Mather and the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata. Gingerman Raceway (www.gingermanraceway.com) was a brand new racetrack for Mather, and there was a lot to do.

Friday evening was used for testing so Mather could learn the track and the crew could get the car set up. By the end of the night, it was clear that Mather was going to be competitive, posting lap times well within the reach of the leaders.

Qualifying on Saturday reinforced Mather’s confidence when he brought the car to a second place starting position. At the start of the race, Mather got a great start, and got into the lead until turn three. Rob Huffmaster was able to sneak on the inside of the turn and get by. Huffmaster, who has been to this race track many times before, was able to pull away from Mather, however. Mather then continued to drive a consistent race. When lapped traffic was reached in the middle of the race, Alan Faitel was able to get by Phil. The two of them battled for the rest of the race, finishing almost nose to tail. It was some excellent, clean racing and Mather brought the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata home to an impressive third place finish in class.

Sunday brought another impressive qualifying run, with Mather bringing the car to another second place starting position, with Mather being only one of a few people to improve their lap time from Saturday. Race two brought a very exciting start, with quite a bit of bumper banging going on behind Mather. Going into turn one, Mather was hit from behind, getting him slightly out of shape. He was able to keep control of the racecar, only to get hit again in turn two. This time he was pushed into the eventual race winner, Rob Huffmaster, and knocked him sideways. Huffmaster stayed in control of the car, and Mather was able to move inside. Headed into turn three, there was a four car battle for the same corner. Mike Neal was pushing on Huffmaster’s bumper and the two cars got slightly ahead going into the turn. Again, Mather was hit from behind, knocking him sideways through the turn. After letting the driver behind know his dissatisfaction, Mather was able to leave the battling pack behind to concentrate on keeping the cars that were ahead in his sights. Unfortunately, all of the bumping had knocked the alignment out on Mather’s car, making it more difficult to control. Mather teamed up with Mike Neal, in the SM class and both tried to run down Huffmaster, who was still within sight. Mather drove the car to the absolute limit, and kept the leader in sight for the entire race. At the end, Mather brought the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata home to a second place finish, tying his best finish ever.

“I’m disappointed that some driver’s can’t control their racecars very well, but I am very happy to get a second place finish with the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata!” With the help of his crew, Cory and Katie B., this was the best overall racing weekend of Mather’s career. First place is just around the corner!

Mather’s next race will be the July 23-25 at the Second Annual SpecMiata Milwaukee Cup at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Last years race drew over 60 entries. This year there will be even more. CG-Lock (www.cg-lock.com) has once again offered CG-Locks for prizes and donations.

Stay tuned to www.cg-lockracer.blogspot.com for continued race reports and updates on the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Western Michigan Region's Circus Double Regional: Races 1 and 2

The 2005 SpecMiata racing season has begun! After a long winter of rebuilding the Number 69 CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata, Phil Mather and crew were ready to go racing!

This past winter, Ben L., Cory B., and Katie B. helped Phil tear down the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata all the way to a bare chassis. It was then thoroughly cleaned, inspected, and reassembled. Many worn out parts were replaced or rebuilt. The engine received a new head gasket and a new oil pan. The internals looked very good and did not require further servicing. The transmission received new shift forks and shift rods. A new competition spec differential was installed to help cure last year's wheel spin problems. And the most noticeable change on the car was the new paint scheme. The fender wells and engine bay were painted white to help with visibility while working on the racecar. The exterior of the car received satin black paint with candy blue accents to make it stand apart from the sea of red SpecMiatas.

Races one and two of Phil Mather's second season in the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) Central Division began with a strong start at Grattan Raceway in Belding, Michigan.

Saturday's qualifying went very well for Phil and the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata. He qualified a strong fourth in class out of fourteen SpecMiata Toyo (SMT) cars. (This year, there are two SpecMiata classes. SMT for Toyo tired cars, and SM for open tire cars.) Saturday's race was a good battle for most of the race between Phil Mather, David Watts, and Alan Faitel. The three of them raced very close and very clean for the entire race. Mather's freshened racecar handled fairly well, and brought him home to a strong fourth place finish. Not a bad way to start the season!

Sunday's qualifying was a bit harder than Saturday. Mather's tires were nearing the end of their life and were not giving optimum traction. However, he managed to bring the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata to fifth place on the starting grid. The start of the race was extremely tight with some bumper banging in the second turn. However, once the field got sorted out, Mather was battling with David Watts, Mike Neal, and Joe Woodward for position. The racing was tough and Mather started gaining on Watts, but the tires were almost gone. At the end of the race, Mather placed another strong fourth place in class.

Post race inspection revealed that there was some more work to be done to the car. The front tires were completely worn out, with cords showing through the rubber. Also, the alignment was not within specifications, which did not help the handling of the car during the race. Once these problems are addressed, the car will be much better, and Mather will be able to bring the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata onto much stronger finishes in the future.

Mather would like to thank Ben L., and Cory and Katie B. for all of their hard work and dedication during the winter to help with the rebuild. It would have taken Mather most of the spring and summer to complete all of the work himself. With their help, the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata made a strong debut.

Phil would also like to thank Total Fitness Personal Training (www.totalfit.biz) for once again helping keep him in excellent physical condition during the long Michigan winter. Mather has begun working out at Total Fitness's new Ypsilanti location. The new proprietary Circuit Training that they have developed has helped Mather build his core body strength and stamina in order to maintain optimum performance throughout the race.

Also, CG-Lock (www.cg-lock.com) has continued to support Mather's SpecMiata efforts. Mather will be giving away CG-Locks as race prizes and donations to SCCA workers throughout the season. CG-Lock's generosity and support of grassroots motorsports is very welcome.

Mather will be racing next at Gingerman Raceway, just outside of South Haven, Michigan. Stay tuned to http://www.cg-lockracer.blogspot.com for continued race reports and updates on the CG-Lock / Total Fitness SpecMiata!