After a long winter hibernating in Florida at the Grassroots Motorsports headquarters, Project STR finally saw some action this weekend at the Tire Rack SCCA Dixie National Tour in Cecil, Georgia. Tire Rack drivers Chris Harvey and John Rogers packed their bags and headed for Georgia to compete against 27 other drivers in the burgeoning STR class, which was twice the size of the next largest class this weekend.
Despite a challenge from Darren DiSimo and his '99 Mazda Miata, Harvey came out of the gate swinging, laying down a flyer on his third run to secure the lead heading into day two. Rogers managed to hit cones on his first two runs, however landed a clean and safe third run to put himself in seventh place after the first day. As a combined time event, the best run from each day counts toward the total time, so it’s important to do well both days. Sunday’s round wouldn’t be an easy task for the drivers, as the rest of the class was eager to chase down Chris Harvey's lead. In typical event fashion, the course was driven in the opposite direction from Saturday, adding to the challenge. The Honda S2000s used their high revs and extra power to their advantage, with Geoff Walker and his S2000 CR posting a faster time than our MX-5. But Harvey’s lead from day one was enough for him to hold onto the top spot, scoring our first win of the year. Rogers cleaned up his act and avoided hitting any cones, posting the fourth fastest time of the day, which placed him fifth overall for the weekend.
As you may remember, we also kicked off the project last year at the Dixie National Tour event, but with a car that was bone-stock with no performance modifications. Our guys were just over 8 seconds behind the winner, but still managed an 8th place finish. Fast forward to today, if we had performed the same, our car would have landed way back in 27th place. This just shows how much the class as a whole has improved, as more drivers with better-prepared cars come out to play. It’s an exciting class, and one we’re glad to be a part of.
Now, if only the rest of the season can go as well as our first event. We have some additional improvements and tuning planned in an effort to keep our car out in front.