Team Mckibbins - MR2 Biohazard wins again! | Congratulations to the team for yet another Endurance Race win, this time at legendary Road America!   | McKibbin's Irish Pub | Team Mckibbins - MR2 Biohazard wins again! | RACE RECAP – ROAD AMERICA, ELKHART LAKE WI, October 18 & 19 2014
by Tommy Guttmann, Team MR2 Biohazard - Mckibbins ...
 
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Team Mckibbins - MR2 Biohazard wins again!
Congratulations to the team for yet another Endurance Race win, this time at legendary Road America!

RACE RECAP – ROAD AMERICA, ELKHART LAKE WI, October 18 & 19 2014 by Tommy Guttmann, Team MR2 Biohazard - Mckibbins Racing.
That it’s been two years since we were at Road America, is what I was thinking about as our plane started its descent into O’Hare…and how both races back then had ended in heartbreak. We had been the class of the field, TWICE! Each time just maintaining a comfortable lead but sadly DNF’d barely 30 minutes from the end. Jinxed twice.
Now, Ricky and I were flying in, while Troy had completed the long 18hr tow up from Virginia, collecting Kevin and Ed along the way.
We arrived at the track in the late afternoon, to cold, wet rain. It was the kind of dampness that cuts right through the layers of rain clothing and makes you wonder WTF you’re doing in here, and how this was ‘fun’! A few quick glances around the paddock, had me musing how the level of competition, was quite serious now and we’d have a far tougher challenge than during our first visit. It was clear that there were some fast teams here now and everything would have to be absolutely perfect, with no hiccups whatsoever with our car, driving, stops or strategy.
Our team had already unloaded and since Troy makes sure the Bio car is painstakingly prepared. There was only some minor, final fiddling going on and a bit of paddock banter with our good friends and fellow MR2 racers, Racing Strong Motorsports, who joined us for dinner at the Paddock Club in Elkhart Lake (good food but AWFUL service, BTW). The good times and social aspect of camaraderie with racing buddies is a large part of the appeal of all this madness, but let’s not kid ourselves…despite selflessly sharing knowledge and providing helping hand when needed, ultimately, any other team is ‘the competition’.

Race 1, Saturday, 9AM-4PM: It had just stopped raining. Ugh…wet track! Kevin usually starts and as he pulled out of the garage to line up for the start, we noticed a fuel leak under the car! Disaster! While it only took 15 minutes of scramble to change and plug a hose on a tank vent fitting, the race had already started!

By the time he got going we were two laps down…in dead last! There were 80 or so cars, which meant lots of heavy traffic and Kevin had to contend with very greasy conditions as it took awhile for the track to dry out after the rain had petered out. Despite the challenging conditions, Kevin drove very clean and fast, but again…a problem. He’d been black flagged for passing under yellow. This was a bad call, and we have the video to prove it, but at the time there was no argument and we incurred a 3 minute penalty! (a full lap+).
During his stint the track dried out and he set FTD for the day. I was up next, and drove a ‘mostly’ uneventful stint; chipping away at the laps, passing car after car and trying to work closer to the front while keeping things clean through the dense traffic. I really enjoy the rhythm of this track, but didn't want to risk things by making hero passes, especially so early into race, when we had no hope of actually winning anyway (plus I was inspired by the Corner Worker’s Choice Award we had received at Calabogie earlier in the season).
Kevin had gotten us up to something like 22nd when he handed over to me, so I continued the trend, and got up to 8th or so at the end of my stint. Obviously, the faster cars run closer to the front, so it gets harder and harder to make up ground the closer to the lead one gets… I did have one small ‘moment’, when a VW blew up ahead of me near the end of one of the fastest sections, into T12 Canada Corner! For a nanosecond, I thought he had merely locked up, but then I realized what had happened. I was already threshold braking into the corner, so it was exciting trying to slow even further, drive through the fluid dumped when he had crossed over the racing line, and then decide which route to take around his spinning car with my greased up tires. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWgyY7vMhRs Eventually, I pitted under a FCY for another big clean-up out of T14 and Ricky got in, only dropping back down to 12th during the 5 minute driver change/fuel stop.
Ricky drove a very clean, fast stint, continuing to chip away at the leaders and got us into 3rd, but on the very same lap as the 3 cars ahead! He handed over to a ill Ed, who had never even been here before and yet he managed to bring the car home in 6th! At the end of the day, a pretty good result considering where we had started, as well as the penalty we had been assessed.
I extrapolated that otherwise, we’d likely have won. Nonetheless, I kept having recurring thoughts of the misfortunes we had here in 2012, and was hoping we could get finally get rid of the ‘monkey on our back’ for Sunday’s race.
After some brief, post-race loving for the car (brakes, verifications, nut’n’bolt check, etc) we again went for dinner with our compadres from RSM. By now, our group had blossomed to 15 people, and went back to a pub we’d been to in 2012, ‘Three Men and a Grill’ for some Gator Tail and Oktoberfest…great food, service and good friends!

Race 2, Sunday, 9AM-4PM: Kevin started again, but this time under dry conditions and we were going for the win! He had a bit of fun over the first few laps, as we had started in 3rd, right behind our friends from RSM, but it didn’t take long for things to get sorted out properly! By lap two, the RSM car was in the lead and we were right behind in 2nd! It was funny when Troy saw the cars go by nose to tail, and radioed Kevin to say; “We’re in 2nd place, right behind Bill’s RSM car”…to which Kevin replied: “Not anymore!” This was only lap 3! Kevin stayed in 1st, and beat his previous FTD, with an even faster one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEtoc8JLd3Q

Kevin, handed over to me again, pitting under yellow, so we didn’t lose any positions! I kept the car in 1st, trying as hard as possible not to get balked behind slower cars, and to keep the pace. Rather uneventful, but sooooo much fun! Ricky got in next, and what ensued was a strategy battle with the fast, turboed Acura of Holy Rollers team, paddocked next to us. We were on the same lap, running 1st, but we had to stop for fuel more often than some of our competitors. Troy had worked out that we’d have to make 1 more pit-stop during the course of the day than they would.

We were hoping for another FCY, but with each passing moment our fuel was depleting. Things were getting a bit tenuous by the time Troy got in and we were trying to strategize the timing of our final stop and driver change, when the Holy Roller car retired with a broken caliper.

We used the opportunity for Ed (now even sicker), to ease the car home, with a 2 lap margin of victory over 2nd place! Fantastic! We won at yet another, legendary, Bucket List track! And finally, retribution for the victories that had been snatched away from us at Road America!