Charleston-based racers wrap up season
The MINI of Charleston Racing team recently concluded the 2012 Grand AM/Total Performance Showcase racing series with an excellent showing at the final race at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.
Lime Rock is famous for being one of the shortest road race courses in America, at only 1.5 miles in length and nine turns, but it has extreme elevation changes and for the B Spec cars is almost flat out all the way around the track, averaging just below 83mph.
The first round of qualifying found the MINI of Charleston team on the pole with Johan Schwartz of Charlotte, N.C. faster by better than 1.5 seconds to the second qualifier. Schwartz’s first drive ever in a B Spec MINI was extremely impressive, carrying the Sawaya Segalas/Endurance Karting/Instrument Mart 2008 MINI Cooper thought a pouring rain and never setting a wheel off track.
Summerville’s Robbie Davis had a business commitment and was unable to make the first qualifying session and would have to wait until Saturday morning to make his first ever laps at Lime Rock.
Saturday morning qualifying found the track dry and right for Schwartz to again set the session’s fastest lap.
Halfway through the 20-minute session, Davis figured out how to move his MINI into the second starting position. Saturday afternoon’s race was set with a MINI of Charleston front row.
On the start, Schwartz took the lead and moved out of trouble as Davis was hit in the rear by Todd Buras’ Ford Fiesta in turn two. Davis spun off the track and slid back into traffic, contacting fellow MINI driver Ed Magner. Both cars continued, but were a long way behind the leaders.
Up front a tight battle raged and Schwartz ended up placing second, only 0.143 seconds behind the leader.
Meanwhile, Davis climbed through the field to place fifth, his first race of the season not on the podium.
The race capped a solid year for the Mini of Charleston team, which saw Davis earn two victories in the series and members of the team claim three second-place finishes and two third-place finishes.
“What a great starting season to what is going to be the tightest, most competitive class anywhere,” said team manager Brad Davis. “MINI of Charleston wants to thank MINI USA, Grand AM and the SCCA for helping get this great class off the ground in 2012 and look for great numbers of cars competing in 2013.”