WRPM 2012 Race Update
WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee continues his podium
streak with 5 podiums in 5 races at the SCCA sanctioned
Barber Motorsports Park Double Rational.
WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee would finish 1
in both STL races, 2
both SARRC races and finish out the 2012 Pro-IT season with a 2
finish. In addition Phee would garner two pole positions over the weekend
with both coming in
the SARRC regional
“What a fantastic
weekend” said Phee,
“I wasn’t sure about
trying to run five
races over the
weekend but it
worked out and I
couldn’t be happier
with five podium
It was an especially
due to the
intermittent rain in
qualifying and the Saturday STL race. When the weather was dry, Phee would
qualify no worse than fourth for any of his races.
Qualifying would be held over three days with an afternoon session on Friday
and two morning sessions on Saturday and Sunday. The morning sessions
would prove to be the quicker sessions since the weather and track were
Phee would qualify on pole and eighth overall for the Saturday afternoon
SARRC race. In SARRC race one Phee would be starting outside row four.
The first start was waived off, but on the second start Phee would hold on to
lead for the first eight laps until lapped traffic would hold up Phee and allow
the second place car to catch up. “I had a decent lead, but once I got into
lapped cars it really held me up. This track only has a few places to try and
make a pass, so catching slower traffic in certain sections really help me up”.
Phee would lose the top spot on lap eight but continued to stay within striking
distance of the leader. Phee would hold off a late race charge from his team-
mate and finish second in class and 10
Qualifying for the afternoon STL race was held in overcast conditions and
Phee would qualify fourth in class and 14
overall. STL race one would be a
rain race as the skies opened up just minutes before the cars were sent to the
grid. At the start Phee would settle into third spot and slowly up his pace to
eventually move into the top spot as the rain subsided.
“When the race started it was raining heavily, but it let up about half way into
the race and I started to increase my pace” said Phee. “A couple of the front
running cars spun off and it allowed me to take the lead”. Phee would end up
in class and ninth overall at the checkers.
Pro-IT qualifying was held Saturday morning and Phee would qualify second
in class and fourth overall. The Pro-IT race would be on Sunday at 10:30 and
would be held in sunny conditions. Phee would start from the back of the grid
due to the short turn around from STL qualifying that was just prior to the
“I knew it was going to be close with qualifying and the race so close
together, but the field was small so I didn’t give up much track position”. The
first five laps were crazy as the multi-class pack was three and four wide in
several spots on the track.
With three different classes racing each other and lap times within a half
second of each other the racing was extremely tight and aggressive for the
first few laps. “I moved up to second in class and had a great seat watching
the top four cars race each other”, said Phee. “With all of the back and forth
passing it allowed me to stay in touch with the leading BMW”. “After six laps
the field sorted itself out and I managed to hang onto second and finish just a
few seconds behind the leader”. At the finish Phee would end up second in
class and fifth overall.
Qualifying for SARRC race two was Sunday morning and Phee would again put
the OPM Autosports Acura Integra on the pole for the second time this
weekend with a one second gap on the second place Nissan.
SARRC race two was held just after lunch and Phee would start on the inside
of row five. At the flag Phee would move to the inside in turn one but drifted
wide in turn two allowing a couple of cars to get by but by the end of lap one
Phee would have a four second lead and would continue to pull away until five
laps to go.
“In the turn five horseshoe two of the ITS cars got together and spun out
wide, I saw an opening on the inside and dove for it and ended up with a big
gap on the rest of the field. At the half way point I had a big enough gap that
I was just trying to maintain a pace to the finish. Unfortunately with about
five laps to go the car had a fuel pick-up problem. It started cutting out in a
few of the right hand turns. I figured I would just short shift the car and keep
the revs down in order to save fuel. But it eventually got so bad I wasn’t sure
I would make it to the finish. With one lap to go I had to give up the lead
and try to nurse the car to the finish”. Phee would end up second in a race he
was clearly dominating.
“It was disappointing to give away a clear victory but sometimes mechanical
problems prevent you from claiming the victory” said Phee.
Qualifying for STL race two would also be Sunday morning and Phee would
qualify third in class and 14
overall. For STL race two Phee would start
outside row seven. At the start Phee would get a good jump but get pushed
out wide in turn one. By the end on lap one Phee had dropped back 4
positions and was in fourth place in class. “I knew I had 18 laps to try and
close the gap so I just tried to be consistent with my lap times and not lose
sight of the leaders” said Phee. Phee would run consistent lap times and
slowly close in on the leading duo as they battled for first place. On lap 10
Phee would be on the bumper of the second place car and make a double
pass for the lead in the turn five horseshoe.
“I had a run and I could see both of them battling for the lead. I figured I
would just drive down the inside and try to get a least one pass made, but I
ended up getting both of them”. Phee would go on to an eight second gap by
the end of the 19 lap race finishing first in class and 11
“It was a fantastic weekend, to compete in five races and get five podiums
was amazing. The OPM crew did their usual great job of keeping the right
tires on the car, ice in the cool box and the car prepped and ready to go. I
don’t think we changed the settings all weekend which is a testament on how
well Tom Fowler sets up the car. I can’t thank him enough” said Phee.
The next race is the American Road Race of Champions scheduled for
November 2-4, 2012 at Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, Georgia.
September 1–2, 2012 – Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama
May 19-20, 2012 – Road Atlanta Raceway, Braselton, Georgia
WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee continues his podium
streak with a Win, 2
place finishes at the SCCA
Regional/National at Road Atlanta Raceway.
WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee finished 1
in the SARRC Regional race, 2
in the STL National race and 3
in round 3 of the Pro-IT Championship held at
Road Atlanta Raceway.
Three races in one day
Qualifying would take
place on Saturday with
2 sessions for the
SARRC race and two
sessions for the
“With two sessions for
each race I knew the
would be faster so I tried to put in some fast laps early and hopefully have a
good starting position said Phee”. Phee would indeed put in two fast laps and
would qualify on the overall pole for the SARRC race and was initially on pole
for the national race.
“I figured the times would hold up so I decided not to run the afternoon
sessions unfortunately I ended up second in the National race by only 4 tenths
of a second”.
Qualifying for the Pro-IT race would take place early Sunday morning just
before the SARRC race. “With only one session and the fact that my first race
was immediately after the qualifier ended I knew I had a just a few laps to get
a flyer in”. Phee would end up qualifying 2
in class just a tenth off pole.
“It was great to have 3 strong qualifying sessions, and get my first pole was
especially rewarding” said Phee. Unfortunately due to the quick turnaround
from qualifying to the first race Phee ended up late to the grid and had to start
from pit lane. “That was a real disappointment, to get my first pole and then
not get to start at the front of the pack made me angry”.
Phee would turn that anger into an impressive drive from last place to 1
class and second overall by the end of the 18 lap race. “I started the car form
pit lane on tires that hadn’t been run all weekend so it took a couple of laps for
the tires to come up to temp. Once I felt like the car would stay underneath
me I just put my head down and started charging toward the front”. Phee
would go from 15
at the start and move into the ITA lead by lap 3 and
eventually would finish 8
overall by the end of the race.
The STL National race would be in mid afternoon and Phee would line up 2
class and 8
overall. Phee would start second and maintain second place until
lap 11. “As I was braking at the end of the back straight into turn 10A the car
locked up and started
sliding towards the
gravel trap. Luckily I
was able to get the car
stopped just before
going into the gravel
and maintain my
position” said Phee.
It turned out one of
the front running cars
lost an engine and laid
oil down in the racing
line. A full course
caution was out for 2
laps while the track
was cleaned up.
“Unfortunately at the re-start I didn’t have radio communications and was late
for the green. The third place car got by me going into turn seven but I
managed to get back by before the end of the lap. I slowly eased away and
maintained second position to the finish” said Phee.
The last race of the day would be Round 3 of the Pro-IT Championship Phee
would start 2
in class and 7
overall. “I held on to second for a few laps until
a BMW got by on the run to turn six. I stayed a few seconds back but he was
slowly inching away” said Phee. By the end of the race Phee was closing in on
place overall car but would run out of time and ended up 3
in class and
“The OPM crew did a great job of making changes to the car as the
temperatures went up during the day. They kept improving the cars handling
and made the weekend much easier for me” said Phee.
The next race is scheduled for July 14-15, 2012 back at Road Atlanta Raceway
in Braselton, GA.
July 14-15, 2012 – Road Atlanta Raceway, Braselton, Georgia
The 2012 Podium streak continues for WRPMotorsports driver Willie
Phee with a Win and a trio of 2
place finishes at the SCCA Double
Regional at Road Atlanta Raceway.
Road Atlanta was the site of a double SARRC and Pro-IT weekend in which
WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee would finish on the podium in all four races he
entered. In addition
he would qualify in
pole position in three
of the four races as
“The OPM crew did a
fantastic job of
setting up the car”
said Phee. “We
didn’t change a thing
on the car all
weekend other than
changing out the
sessions. This was
one of the best
weekends I’ve ever had in the car and I have to thanks Tom and Ryan at OPM for
having the car so hooked up”.
Saturday qualifying for round 2 of the SARRC race was at 8:00am on Saturday. Phee
was in the top three in qualifying for most of the 20 minute session and then set the
pole time on the last lap of the session. Not only was Phee’s time fast enough for pole
in class he was also P-2 overall ahead of several faster ITS and ITR cars. “I was mid
pack in qualifying for the first few laps and started to catch traffic. I decided to go into
the pits and wait for some clear track. Luckily it worked out and I set the fast lap on
the last lap of the session” said Phee.
Qualifying for round four of the Pro-IT series was up next and Phee would qualify
second in class and fifth overall for the 27 lap race at the end of the day.
Round 2 of the SARRC race got under-way right after lunch with Phee on the outside
of row one. Phee would hold on to second overall until the back straight when the
faster ITS cars would get by. Phee would hold on to first in class for the next three
laps until a slight bobble in turn seven allowed the second place car through at the end
of the back straight. Phee would continue pressuring the leader and actually got along
side in turns 10 and 11 with three laps to go.
“That was a test to see if I could get by at the end. If it was the last lap I would have
kept my foot in it and ran through turn 12 to the checkers but I figured I could get a
run on the last lap and get by in turn 10. I knew if I could stay close on the last lap I
had a chance to make the pass. Unfortunately I got help up by a lapped car in turn
three and the leader was able to get a one second gap that I couldn’t close by the
finish” said Phee. “It would have been nice to come out on top, but I had a great race
with the Nissan for the entire race”.
Round 4 of the Pro-IT race was the last race of the day and Phee would start on the
third row, second in class and fifth overall. At the start Phee would drop back to
seventh after a slight bobble in turn one but would maintain 2
in class for the rest of
the race. Phee would slowly work up to 4
in class by the end of the race. “The race
was uneventful but I did manage to keep the leader in sight for the entire race, I just
couldn’t make up any
time during the race”.
Sunday would be a
repeat schedule of
Saturday with round
three of the SARRC
race first up and round
5 of the Pro-IT race
Phee would again have
two strong qualifying
sessions and would
end up in pole position
for both of the
afternoon races. “I
have to thank the OPM
crew for another
fantastic job of setting up the car” said Phee.
At the start of the SARRC race Phee would open up a small gap over the second place
car and maintain first position until lap seven when a slower car slowed his pace and
he would give up the lead in turn 10. Phee would follow for a couple of laps and re-
take the lead and hold on for the win. “I had a great race with my team-mate Mike in
the other Integra. When he got by I figured I would just follow him for a few laps and
see where I could make a pass. I could see we were catching some slower traffic and
I decided I’d rather be in front so I made the pass in turn 10 with five laps to go and
held to lead to the finish”.
Round 5 of the Pro-IT race had Phee on the inside of row two and he would hold on to
third overall for the first three laps until he was passed exiting turn seven. Phee would
hold on to second in class for the remainder of the race. “I was fighting the BMW as
hard as I could because I knew once he got close enough on the back straight he
would blow by me. I was fun for a few laps and then once he got by that was it. I
settled into a pace and slow pulled a gap on the third place car and held on to second
for the rest of the race” said Phee.
“It was a great weekend with four podiums and three poles’, and the car was super
consistent all weekend” said Phee.
The next race is scheduled for September 1-2, 2012 at Barber Motorsports Park in
March 16-17, 2012 – Road Atlanta Raceway, Braselton, Georgia
Three races three podiums for WRPMotorsports Driver Willie
Phee at the SCCA National at Road Atlanta Raceway.
WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee finished 3
in the Saturday STL National
in the Sunday STL National race and 3
in round 2 of the Pro-IT
Championship held at Road Atlanta Raceway.
Three races held over
two days in mixed
conditions made it a
Qualifying for the first
STL National race one
would be in dry
conditions and Phee
would qualify 4
STL class just .2
behind the 3
Next on the days
schedule would be
qualifying for round 2 of the Pro-IT Championship and Phee would qualify 3
The first race Saturday morning would be in wet conditions for the 18 lap
National race. “We were the second race of the day but the track was still wet.
We made the decision to go out on slicks and wait for the track conditions to
improve during the race” said Phee.
At the start Phee would drop back due to the slick conditions while the cars on
wet tires would move up. The race would only run for two laps when a full
course caution would come out and bunch up the field. That allowed the track
to day up a bit more but still not enough to take advantage of the dry tires. On
the restart Phee would move up to 5
and was closing in on the leaders when
place car spun off in turn 1 and the 4
place car nearly followed him into
the gravel trap. That would move Phee up to 3
when the second full course
caution came out.
On the restart with 4 laps to go two cars spun in turn 10 causing Phee to drop
back one position to 4
. “I thought I was safe in third, but when the two cars
got together I had to check up and the 4
place car was by me. Luckily the
leader ended up going off in turn one on the last lap and I moved into 3
at the finish” said Phee.
The second race Saturday afternoon would be Round 2 of the Pro-IT
Championship and would be held in dry conditions. Phee would start outside
row 10 for the 45 minute race. At the start Phee would maintain his 3
and run consistent lap times until lap 19 of the 25 lap race.
“I had a fuel problem with 7 laps to go. The car was leaking fuel out of the
filler neck and I wasn’t sure I would have enough fuel to finish the race. I
radioed the crew and they said to stay out and try to conserve fuel. I started
short shifting and coasting where I could to try and make it to the finish. My
lap times were about 4 seconds slower for those last few laps. Luckily I had a
big enough gap on the 4
place car to end up 3
at the finish”. “I was below a
quarter tank with 7 laps to go and I didn’t think the car would make it to the
finish but somehow I made it to the end” said Phee.
Sunday would be a cool
clear day and the second
round of qualifying for the
Sunday STL National race.
Phee would improve from
in the first qualifying
session to 3
two and would start in
row 7 for the Sunday
At the start of the
National race Phee would
be in a good position on
the inside for turn one.
Phee would close in on
the top two runners until lap 3 when the leading SSB Mustang got between
Phee and the STL leaders. “Luckily he realized I was battling with the two cars
just in front of him and he pointed me by going into turn 3. I closed in on the
second place car and got by on the front straight on lap 5 and maintained 2
for the rest of the race” said Phee. Phee would run consistent laps for the rest
of the race and finish just 5 seconds off the lead at the finish.
“Except for the fuel leaking problems I had in the qualifying session and the
Pro-IT race it was a good weekend. The car was very consistent all weekend
and in the second National race the crew actually put an older set of tires on
the car and it still ran consistent 46’s every lap except for two”.
“As usual the OPM crew did a great job of keeping the car consistent and
solving the problems we had over the weekend” said Phee.
The next race is scheduled for May 19-20, 2012 at Road Atlanta Raceway in