FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—January 18th, 2017 (Las Vegas, NV) – Last weekend marked round one and season opener of the 2017 SCCA US Majors Tour at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The GRR Racing team set out with the goal of earning their first points in the GT-1 category while driving their Edelbrock powered Scion FR-S. “We’re excited to make our debut in GT-1 as we prepare for the new car to be finished, points are most important for us this weekend,” Crew Chief Anthony Philleo shared.
On Saturday, group 5 would take to the track at 2:30pm, with a field of 5 entries for GT-1. The team had been facing several issues with their setup during their practice sessions. “It is really frustrating to have these unexpected gremlins come after us in the first event of the year”, driver Michele Abbate states. First an alignment issue was resolved after noticing the car was not handling as well as it typically does. Next, Anthony spotted grease all over the rear end of the car. “Both axle boots were found with small holes in them, causing the grease to spew out everywhere”, Anthony explains after making the necessary repairs to keep Michele on the track.
With additional engine issues Abbate limped the car through the race as best she could, finishing in 3rd after two other cars in her class did not finish. Unfortunately, Abbate did not receive points for this finish because she did not finish half the laps, even though she did receive a checkered flag. “This was such a heartbreaker for us, but, we’ve got to stay focused and do our best through this challenging weekend”, said Michele. Teammate Tim Adolphson finished in 2nd, after battling it out with Ken Davis.
After working late hours into the night, trying several solutions to remedy the unhappy motor, Anthony and Michele gave it all they had to come back strong on Sunday for the final race. With engine temps rising and an unknown cause, the team mustered a 4th place finish over all after crossing the finish line a few laps down. “This weekend was one of the toughest we’ve ever faced; It’s unfortunate, but sometimes that’s racing and times like this make winning that much better” GRR Racing Crew Chief Anthony explains. Adolphson rounded out another 2nd place finish, even after hard contact with a GT-2 car that sent him into a spin. “Tim had a great race, and I was pumped to see him wheeling the #88 Craig Raudman Racing Zitovault Impala to two podium finishes”, Abbate said with excitement. “A huge thank you to Tim and his team for their help and support throughout the weekend; it was awesome to share garage space and team efforts on and off the track”, said the entire GRR Racing team.
With symptoms of what appears to be a blown head gasket, the team has decided they will pull the motor to inspect, swap, and build a stronger one for the platform. “We look forward to learning from the motor we have now, so that we can make improvements to our next power plant for the GRR Racing Scion FRS”, Abbate says with pride.
Although it was a tough weekend, there is all season for the team to come back strong. When the going gets tough, the tough get going and that is exactly what the team plans to do in the next few weeks as they prepare for the next events on their schedule.