Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Racing History - by Marv Weidner

Driving on the race track began for me in 2004. It had been a dream of mine since 1964 when I began with a learners permit driving demo Mustangs in my Dad’s Ford garage in Toledo, Iowa. I no longer ask why it took me 45 years to get to it, it just did. Kids, career, you name it came between me and the dream.

The first car was as you would guess, my street car, a sweet 1986 cabriolet. We had some fun learning how to drive a Porsche on the race track. Here we were as I progressed through the DE ranks and learning how to drive the corners.

The way I got to the track and the way I continue racing is because I'm married to the most supportive spouse on the planet! Marty purchased the first weekend on the track with The Driver's Edge here in Texas. Here she is posing as a Track Babe!
Racing was the only thing I could think of doing next so we built the #55 as a purpose-built race car. It started as a 2.2 and progressed to a very bad ass 2.7. We first put it on the track at MSR Houston in August 2006. That fall Marty and I traveled to get more track experience and we ran DE’s at Road America, Hallet, Texas World Speedway and Pueblo.

Then in 2007 we got serious about racing. Racing licenses in SCCA, NASA and PCA came with experience and so did success. With my great friend, coach, crew chief and fellow racer Brian Kamery, (Kamery Race Engineering KRE) I had 23 starts, 17 podium finishes with 7 first place class finishes spread across all three race organizations. It was a GREAT FIRST YEAR! A serious blast of adrenaline came from finishing first in class in the 90 minute PCA Enduro Race at TWS in March of that year and being voted Rookie of the Year. Another highlight was to set a track record in ITA at MSR Houston. Door handle to door handle, wheel to wheel in the corners, racing is like fire in my middle aged veins!

It was a great year, but it ended hard. In November at No Problem Raceway during a PCA race weekend, I won my class in the Saturday race and felt really good about everything – the car, my driving and how we beat the competition, including several cars in higher classes. During the Sunday race, I was leading my class and several others when a higher class car passed me, took two off on my left, came back on the track at full throttle hitting me in the left rear quarter and spinning me into the wall at about 95 mph. Needless to say, the car didn’t fair very well with a double impact. The car was for sale at the time of the wreck and became a near total loss.

Time to move on. Earlier that fall, in September, we had commissioned a new car. Racing and cars bring great joy and some real heart ache too. This time it was the ache part. The car builder (not KRE) had promised to be on the track in May, but didn’t start building until late December, so the deadline was missed by a good six months. The builder compounded that by having problems bringing the 3.0 engine up to 300 BPH. He discovered after months of trying to figure it out, that the spring height was too short for the very serious cams we put into the engine. He corrected the problem but there went my 2008 race season. Here is the car:

2009 started with shoulder surgery and more waiting to race. The car issue came to a great resolution when Dr. David Vanhooser from Enid, OK and I met at MSR Houston at an SCCA race in January. He owned a very serious 3.8 RSR but wanted a car that was as well built, but with less power. I had a great car now making a little less than 300 BPH and he had a car making over 400 BPH. We made an even swap, with complete honesty along the way, are both happy with the deal we made.

With the shoulder healing well, we will be on the track in the fall of 2009 with the goal of a full race season in SCCA in 2010. See you at the track!