WRPM 2015 Race Update
WRPMotorsports
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WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee Starts the 2015 Season With Two Podiums at the Road Atlanta SCCA Majors Race   WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee would finish 2nd in STU in both SCCA US Majors Tour Races at Road Atlanta Raceway. Rounds 7 and 8 of the SCCA US Majors Championship Race Series would be held at Road Atlanta Raceway. The Saturday race would be held in sunny but cool conditions and WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee would qualify 4th in class and 12th overall for the 25 minute timed races.  Phee would start on the outside of row 6 but would move up to 8th by the end of lap one and eventually finish in 5th overall and 2nd  in class by the end of the race.  “We are still working on the set-up of the TSX and while the car was consistent I still need to try and get used to the weight of this car compared to the Integra” said Phee. “The car is fast but it’s a challenge to get the car stopped and through the corners.  I can’t just throw it in there like I could with the Integra, so I have to adjust my driving style to get the most out of the car”. Sunday’s race would be held in wet conditions with Phee starting outside row 3 in 6th  position overall and 2nd in class.  At the start Phee would move into the lead in the STU group and hold the top spot until the end of lap 2 when he would give up the lead and eventually maintain 2nd position to the flag. “I saw an opportunity to move into the lead as I got to turn 3 and managed to hold onto 1st in class for a couple of laps” said Phee.  “The wet conditions certainly made it difficult but the car performed well and I really didn’t have any issues”.     “I’m really looking forward to the next race at Daytona as it will be the first time I will have raced the TSX at a track other than Road Atlanta”. The next race is scheduled for May 2-3, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.   The WRPMotorsports team is sponsored by Optima Batteries, Sparco USA and OPM Autosports.  Photos courtesy of Motorsports Photography by Clark McInnis http://cmcinnis.wordpress.com/ 
March 21-22, 2015 – Road Atlanta, Braselton, Georgia
Race Results
May 2-3, 2015 – Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
Four Races, Four Pole Positions, Three Wins and a Second Place for WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee at Daytona International Speedway   WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee would finish 1st in the Saturday ITS (Improved Touring S) race, 2nd   in the Sunday ITS race and win both STU (Super Touring Under 3.2L) races at the famed Daytona International Speedway for the SECS Championship races. Rounds 5 and 6 of the SCCA Southeast Championship Series took place under warm and breezy temperatures at Daytona International Speedway. The scheduled for the weekend would consist of two qualifying sessions in the morning on Saturday with one ITS race Saturday afternoon and three races on Sunday with finishing positions in the earlier races determining starting positions for the second set of races.  Phee’s first qualifying session would be for ITS at 8:00am and the conditions would be ideal to try and set a good time.  “Phee would take pole position with a 2:14.8 lap just .4 off of the lap record and a clear .5 ahead of the second place car.  “I really wasn’t sure how the car would perform at this track but obviously it performs quite well here based on the times” said Phee. STU qualifying would start at 10:00am and would feature a couple of different classes mixed together for the session. In STU the challenge was going to be getting a clean lap as the faster cars were as much as six seconds a lap faster than Phee’s TSX.  “The TSX was kind of in the middle time wise so I just tried to find some space for a couple of clean laps and was able to put the car on pole in STU by a considerable margin”. Race one for ITS and starting from pole Phee would lead the field into turn one and hold onto the lead for the first four laps of the nine lap race.  Phee would drop back to second for the next two laps, regain the lead at the finish line but drop back to second in turn one.  On the last lap Phee would make his move exiting the bus stop chicane on the back stretch and daft by to take the overall win in a group of 45 cars. “That was a great race, I knew how important the draft is here so I tried to get a bit of a lead but the 2nd and 3rd place cars hooked up and ran me down so I figured I would just try to make it a battle between me and the 2nd place car and we were able to pull away with about four laps to go.  I tried a couple of test drafts to see where I needed to be exiting the bus stop and it worked out perfectly at the finish” said Phee. The first STU race would start at 8:00am Sunday morning and the officials decided to split the start between the faster cars and the STU/STL group.  Phee would get another brilliant start and gap the group in wave two until a bobble in the infield allowed the pack to catch up.  Phee would drop back to second in the group but would fight back as the first place car start to get into lapped traffic.  Phee would make a similar draft pass and eventually pull away and take the win. Sunday’s second ITS race would again see Phee start form pole position and lead the field for the first five laps of the 14 lap race.  Phee would drop back to second and maintain second position throughout the entire race and would eventually come up just short at the finish and end up second overall.  “It seemed like we had much more traffic to deal with in the second race” said Phee.  “I tried to get a gap in the beginning and was stretching out a bit of a lead when I got in too deep in the bus stop and allowed the pack to catch me.  Once I made that mistake I figured I would just wait until the last lap to try and draft by for the win, unfortunately traffic would play a role and I was unable to complete the pass”.  Race two in STU and Phee would start from pole again in his group.  At the start Phee would lead the field and gradually pull away until a full course caution on lap four would bunch up the entire field.  On the restart Phee would continue to move through the field and eventually finish 12th overall and first in class after starting in the second group in 37th  overall. The second STU race was an opportunity to really manage traffic.  At the start I tried to put in a couple of fast laps to gap the pack but when the full course caution came out all that was erased.  I did manage to have a couple of back markers between me and the 2nd place car so at the restart I just tried to open up the gap again”.  “As always the OPM crew did a great job all weekend prepping the car but I have to thank Trevor Degioanni from Robinson Racing for his help with set up changes and keeping me motivated in the radio”. The next race is scheduled for July 25-26, 2015 at Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, GA.   The WRPMotorsports team is sponsored by Optima Batteries, Sparco USA and OPM Autosports.  Photos courtesy of Flag to Flag Photography by Dave Greene http://www.flagtoflagphotography.com/
Race Results
WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee Dominates at Road Atlanta with Four Wins in Four Races   WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee won both ITS (Improved Touring S) races and both STU (Super Touring Under 3.2L) races at the Road Atlanta Raceway. Rounds 13 and 14 of the SCCA Southeast Championship Series was held at Road Atlanta raceway in 90+ degree temperatures and cloudless skies.  The scheduled for the weekend would consist of one qualifying session for each class on Saturday morning and two races on Saturday afternoon and two races on Sunday afternoon.  The challenge for Phee would be the turnaround between the two races as ITS would be the first group and STU would be in group two leaving only about 10 minutes between the finish of one race and the start of the next race.  Because both of the 20 minute qualifying sessions were also back to back Phee would have only a few laps to qualify in the first session before having to change tires and refuel for the second session.    Race one for ITS Phee would start outside of row one and move into the lead in turn one and hold onto the top spot for the entire race.  “I knew I need to get out front early as the 2nd through 4th place cars would be charging hard to move up.  Luckily I was able to open up a gap in the first few laps and the next three cars would be battling over second place.  That also allowed me the just concentrate on putting solid laps in”.  The pole sitting Mazda would eventually work his way up to second and would mount a brief challenge to Phee going into turn three but Phee would shut the door and the Mazda would fall back and end up battling the 3rd  and 4th place cars. “That allowed me to open up another gap and hold on for the win” said Phee. Race two on Saturday was for the first STU race and would start immediately after Group 1 finished and the track was cleaned up.  Phee would only have approximately 5 minutes after leaving impound from race 1 to get to the grid for the start of race two.  Unfortunately as good as the OPM crew was at getting the tires changed, the re-fueled and the cool box packed with ice, Phee would be about 20 seconds late to the grid and would have to start at the rear of the 28 car field. “As good as the OPM crew is we just couldn’t make it to the grid on time, but luckily the first start was waived off as the back of the field was not bunched up enough for the starter”.  The second time around the field would take the green flag and Phee would immediately begin working his way toward the front.  Phee would move up to 10th by the lap three, sixth by lap five and into fourth overall and the lead of STU by lap eight and would finish first in class and fourth overall at the finish.  “I knew I had to be patient with the slower cars at the back of the field but I didn’t want to wait too long before try to get to the front of the class” said Phee.  Phee would put in a fast lap that was nearly a second quicker than his morning qualifying time. Sunday’s second ITS race would see Phee start from the inside of row two and move into second before the end of lap one.  Phee would drop back to third as he battled with the second place Mazda from the Saturday race.  The first place Nissan pulled out a three second gap as Phee continued to battle with the Mazda.  The Mazda would move into the lead on lap four and open up a six second gap on the now second place Nissan. “I knew I couldn’t let the Mazda get a bigger gap so I had to get around the Nissan, once I did I could see that I was slowing gaining ground on the Mazda”.  Phee would steadily close the gap and make his move for the lead on lap 11 and slowly pull away for his third win of the weekend. “I really thought I would have a harder time catching the leader but once I did it was fairly easy to make the pass and pull away” said Phee. Race two in STU and Phee would start from outside row two and hold onto the position for the majority of the race until with two laps to go Phee would spin in turn three while trying to avoid a lapped car.  “The crew was telling me that I was catching the overall leader and I was trying to make a run at the overall but I ended up spinning in turn three with a couple of laps to go”.  “I had a big enough gap on third place that once I got going again he was just in front of me.  Unfortunately the clutch started slipping on the back straight so I was trying to nurse the car to the finish and collect third overall but the clutch cooled down and I managed to get by the 2nd place car at the end of the back straight on the last lap”. Phee would complete his sweep of the weekend with his fourth first place finish.  “The car was on rails all weekend, I don’t think we changed any settings on the car after the test day on Friday.  It’s the fastest I been in the car at Road Atlanta.  The OPM crew did a fantastic job all weekend especially with the quick turnaround between the two races.  Trevor Degioanni from Robinson Racing continues to provide great recommendations on suspension settings and has been a big reason for the performance gains”. The next race is scheduled for August 29-30, 2015 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.   The WRPMotorsports team is sponsored by Optima Batteries, Sparco USA and OPM Autosports.  Photos courtesy of Motorsports Photography by Clark McInnis http://cmcinnis.wordpress.com/ 
July 25-26, 2015 – Road Atlanta Raceway, Braselton, Georgia
Race Results
Transmission Problems Plague WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee at Barber Motorsports Park WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee would suffer transmission failure while leading the ITS (Improved Touring S) race at the Barber Motorsports Park. Rounds 15 and 16 of the SCCA Southeast Championship Series were held at Barber Motorsports Park in mixed conditions.  Phee would qualify outside row one in second position for the ITS race.  Phee would slot into second position at the start and move into fist at the start of lap two when the leader overshot turn one.  Phee would hold onto first position until lap five of the nine lap race when his car developed shifting problems.  Phee would come into the pits and retire the car on lap 6. “It was a disappointing weekend especially with the transmission problems while leading” said Phee.  “As I was coming out of turn nine the car suddenly went into limp mode.  I tried recycling the ignition and kill switch but the car just stayed in limp mode”. As it turned out the crew was able to get the car running for the next session but they didn’t know the problem was a damaged speed sensor caused by the broken gear in the transmission.  Phee would attempt the check out the car in the next session, unfortunately that’s when the transmission problem was discovered.  “I went out to shake down the car and as soon as I got onto the track I had no third gear.  At that point I knew I would be unable to race the TSX the rest of the weekend” said Phee. Phee would borrow one of the OPM Motorsports Miata’s to use to complete the qualifying requirements for STU and would circulate in both STU races to get the points needed to qualify for the National Championship Runoffs to be held at Daytona International raceway. “What started out as promising results in qualifying in the TSX considering it was the first time at the track with the car turned into a disappointment with the broken transmission” said Phee.  “I'm encouraged for next year and hopefully I can add another podium finish at this track”.  I am especially grateful for Tom Fowler at OPM for allowing me to borrow his Miata and get qualified for the Runoffs”. The next race is the SCCA National Championship Runoffs scheduled for September 25, 2015 at Daytona international Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.   The WRPMotorsports team is sponsored by Optima Batteries, Sparco USA and OPM Autosports.  Photos courtesy of Motorsports Photography by Clark McInnis http://cmcinnis.wordpress.com/ 
August 29-30, 2015 – Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds Alabama
Race Results
September 25, 2015 – Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
Engine Problems Prevent WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee from a Top Five Finish at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs   WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee in his first National Championship Runoffs appearance would run as high as fifth until a broken piston would end his day on lap 12 of the 14 lap championship race in the STU (Super Touring Under) class. The 52nd running of the SCCA national Championship Runoffs would take place at Daytona International Speedway.  WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee would be competing in his first ever Runoffs in the STU class in a 2004 Acura TSX prepared by OPM Autosports based in Cumming, Georgia The qualifying procedure for the Runoffs is unique in that it is spread out over four days and different times during the day.  Having just raced at Daytona in May this year Phee had a plan for qualifying.  “I figured that the early session on Monday would be the best time of day to put in a quick lap, and the fourth session on Thursday would be at about the same time as the race on Friday and would give me an idea about track conditions for the race” said Phee.  Unfortunately that plan went up in smoke when on day one of qualifying the TSX refused to start.  After several attempts to diagnose the problem it was determined that the ECU had somehow gone bad.  So the team over-nighted a new ECU and had the car running again for day three of qualifying.  Day three qualifying would be in the wet with a drying track near the end of the session.  “I considered coming in for dry tires near the end of the session but the track just didn’t seem to be drying quick enough”.  In spite of the wet conditions Phee would turn the 5th fastest time in the session but the time would only be good enough for 17th overall. Day four qualifying would be dry and Phee would improve to 14th overall in the 18 car field.  “While the car was better we still had a problem with the ECU not reading the Hondata tune we had for the car.  The crew was able to get the problem fixed for the race and luckily the car was running at top performance”. Phee would line up 14th for the start of the afternoon championship race and would move up to 10th by lap two when a full course caution would slow the field.  On the restart Phee would move up three more positions to 7th and hold that position until lap six, when another full course caution would bunch the field. On the next restart Phee would gain another position and move up to sixth and would move into fifth at the start of lap 12 when the motor would let go in turn two ending Phee’s charge from 14th on the grid. “What a huge disappointment after all of the electrical problem’s we had in qualifying to have such a great run and have the motor let go and end our chances at a great finish.  The OPM crew worked very hard to get the car running right and I felt like the cautions helped keep me in the hunt for a top five finish.  But it wasn’t meant to be”.  For a complete video of the race you can click this link https://www.scca.com/videos/1972510  and watch the entire race. The WRPMotorsports team is sponsored by Optima Batteries, Sparco USA, Total Lubricants and OPM Autosports. 
Race Results