Webb & Sampson Suffer DNF at Buttonwillow Raceway
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Webb & Sampson Suffer DNF at Buttonwillow Raceway

October 13, 2007 (Buttonwillow, CA) - After experiencing victory in their last outing at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, the Sampson Racing Communications team was disappointed that the failure of $5 wheel spacer took them out of the October 13 round of the Western Endurance Racing Championship after only five laps of competition. This was especially true after so much effort went into improving the mechanical performance and reliability of the car in the weeks preceding the race.

The list of upgrades to the Mazda RX-7 since the last race was extensive. The original analog gauges were replaced by an AiM MyChron MXL data acquisition system and LCD display, the springs and shocks were swapped out in favor of a Tein Super Racing fully adjustable racing suspension, the tired OE transmission was upgraded to a Jerico four-speed racing gearbox and even indiglo number plates adorned both doors. And what a difference it all made. Tein's 16-way electronically adjustable dampers at all four corners were pre-tuned by Tein to match spring rates calculated to be ideal for the RX-7's weight and suspension design. What was a car that felt disconnected and a bit unstable now felt solid and confidence inspiring. The Jerico racing gearbox transformed shifting from a chore to a pleasure. And the new MyChron dash features pre-set warning levels for all systems it monitors, meaning that the driver can concentrate on driving instead of watching gauges. Not to mention the night-piercing PIAA racing lamps the team had installed for the previous race but hadn't yet been able to use in competition.

Positive results from the car improvements were quick in coming. In the morning practice session team principal Shawn Sampson turned a lap that put the RX-7 at the top of the time sheets in the EO class. Qualifying wasn't quite as kind to the team, however, as Scott Webb was balked by slow traffic and a full-course yellow for all but his warm-up lap, only managing to put the RX-7 20th on the grid of 25 cars (6th in class). Despite the threat of rain, the skies remained clear for the start of the race, occurring just as the sun set. By the time the field crossed the start/finish line for the first time Webb had already passed two cars, and he made quick work of traffic from that point forward. At the end of lap one Webb was up to 12th, and by lap four Webb had passed five more cars to find himself in 7th overall and 3rd in class.
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