2019 TrackBattle - Road America Official Results
Abrin Schmucker - Competition Director
For the final round of the 2019 #GRIDLIFE Trackbattle season, drivers ventured north to Elkhart Lake Wisconsin. For many, this would be the first time on the historic 14 turns at Road America. This track is one of the most coveted strips of pavement in the world. Living up to its nickname as the National Park of Speed, Road America is equipped with world class facilities and spectacular scenery for. A camper’s delight too, the paddock was full of old RVs, families, puppies, and good vibes to go around. The race weekend here, was split into two parts. First, a traditional time attack round where drivers were hoping for good finishes in the final qualifier event before the TrackBattle Brackets taking place on Sunday.
Friday began with drivers feeling out the track, and learning the house rules of Road America. Identifying good passing zones, while managing risk on course was key to having a safe weekend. Navigating the treacherous “kink” at speeds faster than most cars see at Gingerman Raceway, this track was both a thriller and nail biter.
Shortly after the lunch break for the day, all eyes were on William Au-Yeung in his world-renowned Vibrant Performance Civic. While everyone else was continuing to feel out the track, Will was ready to let it rip despite having never driven this track before. Taking full advantage of his warmup to learn the course, Will ripped out of turn 14 and up the hill past start-finish to start a flying lap. Exactly 2:11.302 later, the civic crossed the line again. In a single hot lap, Will had managed to break the existing track record (2:12.9) for a production-based car set by Leh Keen just days earlier. In fact, Will’s time was so fast that race control’s first reaction was to doubt the time set. “That’s impossible. A Civic CAN NOT go that fast. He must have short-cut the track somewhere”. Conveniently, every corner of this circuit has CCTV cameras, and we were able to curb his skepticism after reviewing the footage.
Saturday morning saw the arrival of the bulk of the time attack field, and Will’s main competition, James Houghton. The rivalry between James and Will is nothing new to GRIDLIFE, or to anyone that follows North American Time Attack. Both drivers took the track before lunch and that’s when disaster struck. Will was the lead car on track, and suffered a mechanical failure that put him into the wall at turn 1 at about 160mph ending the session. Thankfully, he was uninjured but would be relegated to the sidelines for rest of the weekend. James continued to battle mechanical gremlins for the rest of the day but was able to take the track on the final session. Hoping to put down a solid time on his first lap, he took the track and on his first lap was able to take the overall best time of the weekend with a 2:11.090. Another mechanical failure on track in the field resulted in ending the A run group, so that the rest of the field could take the track before the hard 6pm stop time. Smooth sailing resulted in about 10 extra minutes at the end of the day on track, and A-group was called back to grid. Many drivers knew that this was their last chance, and James was first in line. Drivers were promised one hot lap before the checkered flag and to make it count. As the checkered flag waved, James finished the weekend with an unprecedented time of 2:08.107!
Competition in TrackMod was equally intense, with the season all-stars taking the track together for the first time this year. Despite a dominance performance by Luke McGrew and his Viper ACR all year, the Corvettes of Jeremy Swenson and Feras Qartoumy looked like they had the edge on this 4.0 mile circuit. Bucking the trend of American muscle at Road America, Canadian racer Chris Boersma brought his wild B-series powered Civic to battle as well. Consistently, these 4 are among the fastest group of drivers in class. When all the dust settled on Saturday, Jeremy Swenson left the field behind with a 2:15.623. A time so fast, he even scared himself a little, remarking “Welp, I’m never gonna do that again.” as he got out of the driver seat. Feras, Luke, and Chris managed a 2.17:157, 2:17.864, and 2:21.126 respectively.
In Street Mod, the three way battle between Dewey’s “BoogeyMan”, Blue by You, and Shawn Krebsbach continued on. However, this was the first time that we’ve really seen the true potential of Dewey and his Subaru. Besting the field by nearly 1 second with a 2:21.895 he was able to take the top spot in class. BBY finished with a 2:22.694 and Shawn finished with a 2.24.632.
In the inaugural year for Street GT, we saw 3 strong competitors all year. This event was no exception. New to GRIDLIFE this year, fried chicken enthusiast Coby Shield worked hard to establish himself as the driver to beat. Here, he managed a 2:27.768, with Cars and Coffee Survivor racing and Chris Bickford doing 2:29.492 and 2:31.167 respectively.
In the hotly contested street class, parity among cars and drivers was truly incredible. All 3 cars on the event podium were in the 2:31 range with Joshua Halka and his WRX taking the top spot. 0.006s behind him, Austin Hertel and his 370Z managed a 2:31.283, with Charles “Spaz” Miller not far behind with a 2:31.877.
After all of results were tallied, the season long points champions were crowned.
Once the track went cold on Saturday night, drivers to the chance to unwind and hang in the garage for some pizza, White Claw, and Mario Kart. TrackBattle Brackets were set for Sunday. Only a few hours of silence and darkness separated this chill evening from these incredibly intense head-to-head matchups. Stay tuned for Sunday’s coverage.
Here is your overall event podium:
777 | Joshua Halka | 2:31.277 | WRX
34 | Austin Hertel | 2:31.283 | 370z
56 | Charles Miller | 2:31.877 | Evo IX
130 | Coby Shield | 2:27.768 | Camaro
0 | Cars and Coffee Survivor Racing | 2:29.492 | Mustang
123 | Christopher Bickford | 2:31.167 | Corvette
FCP Euro Street Modified
70 | Eric "Dewey" DeWitt" | 2:21.895 | Impreza L
715 | Blue By You Racing | 2:22.694 | Mustang Boss 302
221 | Shawn Krebsbach | 2:24.632 | Lancer Evolution 9
3 | Jeremy Swenson | 2:15.623 | Corvette
106 | Feras Qartoumy | 2:17.157 | Corvette Z06
5 | Luke McGrew | 2:17.864 | Viper ACR
41 | James Houghton | 2:08.107 | Integra
113 | William Au-Yeung | 2:11.302 | Civic
911 | Ben Johnson | 2:21.646 | S3