NASA Mid-Atlantic's February "Lap Dance" event is always a gamble with weather. After the past couple years of fairly warm weather, we were bound to have a change. This year was quite memorable in that the Friday test day was a warm and sunny 60 degree day. However, that would change quite dramatically. Mid-Atlantic GTS director Eric Wong was trying to play amateur weather forecaster of late and was already changing his tires and car setup in said sunny 60 degree weather to a wet configuration. He did warn a good number of people to expect rain/snow all day Saturday. Some listened, while some others did not bring down wet tires at all for this event. Saturday proved quite challenging as snow fell and temperatures hovered around 34-35 degrees. GTS2 competitor Jim Khoury dragged his brother John down to this event who had this to say of the snow: "if anyone told me my first ever rookie race would be in the snow, I'd would have laughed. Only thing that motivated me to run anyway was seeing you (Wong) and Max (Fischer GTS4) suit up in spite of the snow. Damn, now I have to race.. One more thing checked off my bucket list.."
In GTS2, at least 3 competitors did not bring rain tires with them. They scrambled around the paddock asking to borrow wheels and tires. DJ Fitzpatrick ended up borrowing a fellow DE driver's street tires, Paul Newby borrowed some trailering wheels which were all mismatched and Jim Khoury took advantage of some tires that became available when Donnie Weymer had a mechanical issue. Newby would later comment: "You'd think the exciting and novel thing this weekend would be the snow race but for me it was racing on 3 different tire sizes with three different brands of tires that was most unique". Fitzpatrick took the green and did not look back. Michael Dayton finished second, followed by John Carey. Khoury unfortunately bowed out early trying to do a Tough Mudder run.
Sunday weather cleared up and setup nice conditions for challenging lap records (Sunny with temps in the mid to upper 30s). in GTS3, Wong would take down a prior record held by Josh Smith who is still completing a new car build. After battling through traffic, Wong backed off some to get some open laps and clicked off a 2:04.316, which will now be the new benchmark. In GTS2, Dayton would suffer engine issues dropping him back from P2 to P4. Again, Fitzpatrick remained unchallenged while a nice battle ensued in P2-P4. Jeff Emanuelson took P2 early but Carey battled and was able to take the position in the longer 40 minute race session.
GTS Mid-Atlantic also has a new contingency sponsor for 2013. MCS (Motion Control Suspension) is a market leader for high quality, race proven and race winning setups. MCS will award winners of MidAtlantic GTS classes at the end of the year with very generous awards for P1-P3. After this first event, the leaders for each class are as follows: GTS1: Joe Boschulte, GTS2: DJ Fitzpatrick, GTS3: Eric Wong, GTS4: Max Fischer, GTS5: Jim Taggart
Eric Wong's Sunday video (with Cobetto, Korzen, and Fischer): http://www.youtube.