STaSIS Engineering's A4 Quattro Race Team arrived at Mid Ohio with both cars ready to rock after a month of R&R at home in Sonoma, CA, at Infineon Raceway - Sears Point. The team was disappointed to lose Chip Herr in the # 18 STaSIS A4 - we wish him well with his new opportunity with the Air Force Reserve team. However, we were extremely excited to have our old friend and Audi Club supporter Fast Freddy Baker of Bedford, Ohio driving with us!! What a hoot! Mid Ohio is Freddy's home track, and he has four SCCA National titles to show for it! (Too bad full face helmets are required, as it's hard to get your cigar lit in the new SA 2000s...)
Mid Ohio is one of the most challenging tracks in the country to drive; fast straights, blind corners, uphills, downhills, "madness", even an airborne track out at the exit of 11 - a 2.25 mile long track with 13 - 15 turns (chicane vs. no chicane), and considerable elevation changes make this another complex course for the drivers and the cars to master. Mid O is also extremely tricky in the rain as you transition from grooved, polished concrete to asphalt.
Very Competitive in early practiceâ€¦rain!!
Rick and Freddy rock in the rain! At one time in the first practice, Freddy was first in the wet! At the end, he was nipped by Stretch & Davis - and Rick was up to 3rd or 4th - .only 11 drivers out of 32 even ventured out in the rain. Once it dried out in session two, Rick had the 12th fastest time, with Freddy in 15th. Rick was really getting comfortable with the track, and Freddy was getting comfortable in the car!
Both STaSIS Audis were running extremely well, however the weight and horsepower advantage of the BMW Mazdas and Acuras really shows hereat Mid O. Pobst put out a blistering track record 1:33:463, but Rick qualified a solid 17th with a 1:35.684 and Freddy was positioned in 21st with a 1:36:456.
This time the start of the race was NOT spectacular!! Well OK, if you like a NASCAR collect 'em and crash 'em start it was OK. Freddy's car wouldn't start for the formation lap, and the group left without him. The team got out to him and got him started right away, but he would have to start from pit lane, after the field started in the usual standing start! Where is DW for a "?Boogedy, Boogedy, Boogedy"? start call?! Pobst jumped the start...and the field was off! Unfortunately a couple of the front runners tangled, got sideways and slowed in Turn 1; the ensuing pile up eventually removed about ten cars from the race including Chip and our friend Dino Crescentini.
Rick had a great start and was "tiptoeing"? around through turn one watching for debris. He said, "It looked like a Dukes of Hazard rerun"? when he got around the corner. Rick managed to miss everything and drove a great race, bringing the car up to 11th place, four laps from the finish before losing an alternator belt, which took out an engine sensor. He was done for the day. Freddy started from the back via Pit lane, which fortuitously enters the track just past Turn 1! "?That was a godsend", according to Team Manager Dean Treadway, as many of the cars originally staged around Freddy were fighting for position and ran into the crash scene with nowhere to go. Freddy felt better and better in the car as the race went on, and his lap times show it. He said, "If I had had one more turn, I would have caught the BMW for 10th!!"
The STaSIS cars were packed up and headed for home. We're looking into a new 1.8L turbo engine package from Cosworth for at least one of the cars, and in discussion with Audi North American Motorsports about upgrading to a B7 chassis for 2006, so everything is looking pretty exciting for the rest of the season. We're not sure how the logistics will work, but Freddy had a great time in the STaSIS quattro, and is looking forward to racing in the streets of Cleveland!
A month to recover, then the Grand Prix of Cleveland!!
Thanks to all of our sponsors, supporting families and friends.