The Fitzgerald Chronicles: Mid Ohio (Grand Am Cup and Rolex)
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Opening Practice
Last weekend I raced at Mid-Ohio at the Grand American Road Racing Association's most recent event. I was scheduled to drive in both the Rolex and Grand Am Cup events, the latter with my usual team Fast Metal Motorsports in the #30 Momo Porsche 997 presented by Macallen Building and Clair Porsche.

In the Rolex event I raced in the GT category in the Beachman Racing Corvette. It was a four day event beginning with a promoter test day on Thursday. The weather outlook was a little bit uncertain early in the weekend, but the reports indicated that it would be nice for the two races on Saturday and Sunday.


On Thursday morning I was able to get out in both the Porsche and the Corvette. The Porsche was handling well as usual, but was slow on the straights - as usual. All season we have been struggling with horsepower issues and Thursday was no different. The past three races were at tracks that would probably be considered handling tracks, but Mid-Ohio has a couple straights that showed us just how far off we really have been. There was reason for optimism, however, since we had a new motor on the way that would be in the car for Saturday practice and qualifying.

The Corvette, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. I was impressed by how well it handled right off the trailer. The Beachman Racing team had clearly done their homework. The only difficulty during the first session was that I was seated so low in the car that I couldn't see over the steering wheel. In fact, I was staring straight at the bottom of it. I hung in there so I could at least get an initial impression of the car, and my impression was definitely positive. The handling and the braking were both excellent.

Starting on Thursday night the weather took a turn for the worse and Friday it was wet most of the day. Thursday afternoon I was out in the Porsche when some very strong winds came and the session was quickly halted. I was in turn one when the first gusts showed up and they actually blew the car sideways as I headed down the straight toward the keyhole. I was one of the last cars to arrive in the pit lane - or I should say what was left of the pit lane. Easy ups and other equipment were flying all over the place. It would have been funny except a few people were hurt pretty badly by flying debris.

Both teams decided not to go out in the wet weather on Friday morning since the forecast was for dry conditions over the weekend. I spent Friday morning fashioning a seat insert for the Corvette so that I could get up high enough to see out the window. Several hunks of foam and a roll of duct tape did the trick.
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