Motorsports is fascinating on many levels. The struggles of man and machine are part of the game but as a season progresses human drama can a take hold.
Team members have lives off the track as well as on. The two lives converge as we Uber to the next flight. To say you can turn one off and the other on is to not understand human nature or life in general. Business goes on-the wife and kids are still in action, you’re fast in practice and have a failure in qualifying. The team must push, the drivers must endure; the next phone call or session can easily change the mood under the visor or how a wrench turns.
Racing is a roller coaster of highs and lows-performance gains, performance lost, parts failures, and the human reaction. Race to race teams develop the equipment looking for more performance. New drivers join the field and new cars are built. Racing is never predictable and not always fun. A wise man once said, “the harder the fight – the sweeter the victory and that’s racing in a nut shell.
Our most recent round was held at the beautiful Road America where for the second race in a row we shared the card with the NASCAR Xfinity series. And just as the previous Mid Ohio round we had a number of one off drivers getting additional seat time for their NASCAR event. With a stacked field the usaautomotivesupply.com Stevens Miller Racing team faced 28 entries on the four-mile plus Wisconsin circuit on a truly beautiful summer weekend.
Our hopes were high – the third appearance of our new Mustang now with past winner Dillon Machavern behind the wheel. After totaling the car at Detroit and a catastrophic engine failure at Mid Ohio our expectations were high and Machavern did his best to deliver. The car was fast-very fast! But teething problems held Dillon to a seventh in qualifying and seventh in the race.
Team owner Joe Stevens said, “ We know we have a car that can win races… yes it is frustrating-but we’ll get it fixed. Our engine partners PREFIX are the best in the paddock and Rick Talbot and his team will not rest until we’re 110%.”
Following the race Machavern said, “Working with Stevens-Miller Racing was really great, everyone is really good to work with and that’s not true under every canopy. The Berryman, Liqui Moly, PREFIX, usaautomtivesupply.com, Mustang was really fast; it’s too bad we could not show it during the race. I was able to move up to fourth but with the throttle sticking I had to slow my pace to get to the finish. I’m hoping we can do more races with Stevens-Miller, my dad and I really enjoyed the experience.”
After the disappointment of Mid Ohio where Ethan Wilson suffered not one but two major equipment failures, Road America found Wilson back behind the wheel of his bright orange Berryman, Liqui Moly, usaautomotivesupply.com, Western Grinding, Lifograph, PREFIX powered Dodge Challenger. Wilson Qualified 12th turning his fastest lap of the weekend. Wilson said, “Qualifying was super tight with five NASCAR drivers joining us it made for a lot of fast cars – take them out and we’d be seventh about where we’ve been all year.”
In the race Wilson got a great start and was on the tail of the lead pack as they separated from the field.
“The conditions were really tough at the start,” Wilson said. “I got a great start but the track was still wet in areas so I decided to back down my pace and take the points.” Wilson finished in eleventh now sixth in the championship.
“We were proud of Ethan,” Stevens said. “He turned his fastest lap in qualifying going a full second faster than in practice. He did the same in the race, turning faster and faster laps with his fastest lap on the last lap. “
Although satisfying Wilson’s weekend was overshadowed by the fact that his father Dave Wilson was not at his side. “I was just not in the place I wanted to be, my dad had to have major surgery last week and I really missed not having him at the track. He’s my coach both at the track and in my life. I learned a lot this weekend about racing, about life, and most of all; how important my dad is to me. I’m so glad he’ll be with us at Watkins Glen.”
Stevens said, “It was a trying weekend for the whole team, our third car Anthony Honeywell broke a rear end and he had to miss a session. Ethan’s car had a front hub problem and we had to completely rebuild the front end. Chas Howe and his guys had an upgrade kit on hand and the team got the rear changed and the front done while Rick and his Prefix team kept after the Mustang. All in all I’m very satisfied with the seventh, eleventh, and twelfth for Anthony. My guys just keep their heads down and didn’t let how the cards were falling affect them. “
Stevens said, every team member must face and fight through their drama – it’s the way life is – at work, at home, and at the track. We’re a team, a family, we stand together and that includes our sponsors and guests. We have to recognize the personal element in what we do.
“We’re flat out in the middle of four races in eight weeks. It’s hard on everyone and it’s going to be a fight at every race but my guys are ready to give it hell. See you at Watkins Glen!”