Two podium finishes for WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, VirginiaMay 12-13, 2018 – Virginia International Raceway Alton, VirginiaRound two of the ITS SARRC Championship series was held at Virginia International Raceway with Willie Phee finishing third in the Saturday and Sunday races.Qualifying for each race was held in the morning with the race the same afternoon. In Saturday qualifying Phee would end up eight on the grid. “Qualifying was a bit difficult as this was the first race for me this season and with a 52 car field it was tough to get a clear lap,” said Phee.At the start of race one Phee would get a jump and move into fifth by turn two and into fourth by turn 11. Phee would maintain fourth for a couple of laps but would get pushed back to sixth on lap four.Phee would move back into fourth on lap eight and eventually move into third at the finish. The margin over fourth place at the line was 3/100th of a second.“That was the most intense race I’ve ever been in. The top six cars were nose to tail for the entire race. With such a big field, I knew lapped traffic would come into play. It hurt me early in the race when I dropped back to sixth but it ended up helping me at the end as I was able to keep in contact with the leaders and make a last lap pass for third” said Phee. Video of race one can be seen here: https://youtu.be/L199ZSJTuaoQualifying for Sunday’s race would be much better for Phee as he would better his time from Saturday by nearly two seconds. His time would put him third on the grid for Sunday’s race.Phee would get another great start and move into second in turn one and into the lead with another great pass into turn 11. Phee would start to pull away as the send and third place cars battled, however a full course caution on lap three would bunch the field up.“My plan on the restart was to bring the field to the start fairly slowly and try to use the power of the TSX to get a gap going into turn one. Unfortunately, I was in fourth gear instead of second at the restart and the pack got a run on me going into turn one”.Phee would drop one position in turn one another position in turn three and would eventually end up in third position at the finish. “Towards the middle of the race the brakes started going away and the car was really difficult to get stopped going into turn one. After the race the team inspected the pads and both of the front brake pad material cracked and separated from the backing plates”. “As usual the OPM crew did a great job of keeping the car dialed in all weekend.”The next race is the Round three ITS SARRC Championship series scheduled for June 9-10, 2018 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina.The WRPMotorsports team is sponsored by Optima Batteries, Sparco USA, Total Lubricants and OPM Autosports. Photos courtesy Angie Phee and Bob Casullo
May 12-13 , 2018 – Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Virginia
WRPMotorsports Driver finishes on the podium of day 2 of Round 3 of the ITS Championshipseries at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North CarolinaRound three of the ITS SARRC Championship series was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Willie Phee finishing fifth in the Saturday race and on the podium in second place in the Sunday feature race.Qualifying for both races was held Saturday morning with the best times from either qualifying or the Saturday race setting the gird for the Sunday feature race. Phee would start both races from the fifth position. “This was my first time racing at Charlotte, and I expected it to be somewhat similar to Daytona, but the track was vastly different. Daytona is a 2.5 mile oval with 31 degree banking and Charlotte is a 1.5 mile oval with 24 degree banking. Everything happens much quicker at Charlotte and the banking was very rough compared to Daytona” said Phee.At the start of race one Phee would drop one position to sixth but would move back into fifth place on lap 12 of the 14 lap race where he would finish. “I had a really difficult time getting through NASCAR turns three and four which would slow my momentum for the lap. There was a big bump in the middle of turn three that made the car want to push to the outside and with the short radius of the turns the g forces where very high”. Race two was set for Sunday just before lunch and Phee would move up one position on the start to fourth but ended up dropping back to sixth on lap three. Phee managed to get back into fifth on the next lap and would move into fourth on lap eight. A full course caution would come out on lap 10 and would bunch up the field for a restart one lap later. At the restart on lap 11 Phee was glued to the second and third place cars and coming out of turn one on lap 12 the second and third place cars would make contact with each other allowing Phee to move into second place where he would finish out the 19 lap race.“I ended up second after the Miata and the “Z” car got together on the straight between turns one and two. It was very narrow with concrete walls on both sides of the track. Amazingly even though the Miata spun I don’t think he hit anything, I manage to squeeze by once a gap opened up and just tried to run consistent laps to the end” said Phee. “I also changed my line going into NASCAR three and four and had much better exit speeds in race two”.Video of the race two incident can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/NuUA5KiZI48 “I have to really thank the OPM crew for helping work on setting the car up over the course of the weekend. We ended up going softer on the suspension settings and ran a lower aspect ratio tire on Sunday that seemed to help the car get through NASCAR three and four.Tom and Mike were a big help in getting me comfortable in the car”.The next race is the Round four ITS SARRC Championship series scheduled for July 28-29, 2018 at Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, Georgia.The WRPMotorsports team is sponsored by Optima Batteries, Sparco USA, Total Lubricants and OPM Autosports. Photos courtesy of Motorsports Photography by Clark McInnis http://cmcinnis.wordpress.com/
July 28-29, 2018 – Road Atlanta Raceway Braselton, Georgia
June 9-10, 2018 – Charlotte Motorspeedway Concord, North Carolina
Willie Phee finishes on the podium of day 2 of Round 4 of the ITS Championship series at Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, GeorgiaRound four of the ITS SARRC Championship series was held at Road Atlanta Raceway with WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee finishing eighth in the Saturday race and on the podium in second place in the Sunday feature race.Qualifying for both races was held Saturday morning with the best times from either qualifying or the Saturday race setting the gird for the Sunday feature race. Phee would start both races from the fourth position. “I was hoping to have a good weekend at my home track and it started out that way but the DNF in race one was disappointing. To bounce back for a podium on Sunday was great” said Phee.At the start of race one Phee would move up one position into third and hold that position until lap five. “I felt like I was getting a flat rear tire so I brought the car into the pits and had the crew check it out. They didn’t find any problems so they sent me back out” said Phee. Phee would come out of the pits just in front of the lead cars. “As soon as I went through turn one I knew there was still a problem, so I cruised back into the pits and had the crew take another look”. It turned out the left rear hub failed and was causing the car to be very unstable in the turns.Phee would DNF (did not finish) race one but was credited with eighth position in the class and 17th overall.Race two was set for Sunday just before lunch and Phee would maintain fourth position for the first two laps, move into second on lap three and slowly pull away from the third place car and finish second overall. “I had a decent start and slotted into fourth for the first couple of laps and get a great double draft down the back straight and moved from fourth to second with a pass going into turn 10A. I just tried to be consistent with my lines and tried to keep hitting the apexes and managed to get a gap on the third place car”.Phee would indeed have consistent laps with 11 of the 14 laps in the 1:43’s and a five second gap on the third place car at the finish. “The OPM crew did a great job getting the car ready for Sunday after the hub failure on Saturday. I also have to thank Trevor Degioanni from MCS Suspension for helping with the suspension set-up on the car. The next race is scheduled for August 25-26, 2018 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.The WRPMotorsports team is sponsored by Optima Batteries, Sparco USA, Total Lubricants, MCS Suspension and OPM Autosports. Photos courtesy of Motorsports Photography by Clark McInnis http://cmcinnis.wordpress.com/
WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee scores a win and a second place finish at of Round 13 of the SARRC Championship series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AlabamaRound 13 of the SARRC Championship series was held at Barber Motorsports Park with WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee finishing first in the Saturday race and in second place in the Sunday race.Each day would have a separate qualifying session each morning with the race being held later in the afternoon. Phee would qualify second in class and third overall for the Saturday race. “I was surprised I qualified as well as I did as I had flown in from California and arrived in Atlanta at 2am. I managed to get a couple hours of sleep and then picked up the truck and trailer and drove to Birmingham at 5am, got to the track just in time for a brief test session and then qualifying started” said Phee. “I was pretty tired after qualifying so I took a short nap and got ready for the race”. At the start of race one Phee was on the inside of row two, got a jump and up to second as he entered turn one. He would move into the lead by turn five and would hold on to the overall lead until lap three when the Civic of Kevin Koelemeyer would get by in turn 11. “I could see Kevin was getting a run on me through the kink and I knew he was in a faster car in a different class so I breathed the throttle to let him go by into turn 11”. Phee would catch traffic on lap five and that would allow the second place ITS Miata of Chuck Hines an opportunity to close the gap. On lap six Hines would get by Phee at the exit of turn three when Phee was held up by a lapped car. Phee would get back by Hines in turn five and would hold onto first in class and second overall. “That was a great race, the lapped cars made it a challenge along with the lack of sleep but the OPM crew did their always excellent job with car prep and helped me finish on the top step of the podium” said Phee.Sunday qualifying would end with Phee second in ITS but ninth overall five places behind the first place ITS Miata of Chuck Hines. “I tried the same strategy as Saturday qualifying, going out near the rear of the 32 car field, but I could never get a clean lap. I even tried coming down the pit lane to try and get an open space to put a lap in but I still caught traffic.” Said Phee.Phee would move up three positions by the end of the first lap and was closing on his main competition. By lap six Phee had narrowed the gap but lapped cars once again came into play and Phee would get held up and drop back to seventh overall. On lap 10 of the 15 lap race Phee’s car would lose power on the exit of the uphill turn three, the car would regain power about 75 yards down track. “I radioed the crew and told them the car shut off when I noticed that the fuel light was on. I didn’t know if I had enough fuel to make it to the finish so I just backed off and tried to save fuel for the last five laps” said Phee. “The car would stumble again on lap nine so I knew it was going to be close on fuel at the finish”.Phee had a big enough gap on the third place car to nurse the car home to a second place finish in class and 10th overall.Photos courtesy of Gary Jablonski
August 25-26, 2018 – Barber Motorsports Park Birmingham, Alabama
WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee finishes second at the SARRC Invitational Challenge at Roebling Road Raceway in Bloomingdale, GeorgiaRound 14 of the SARRC Championship series was held at Roebling Road Raceway with WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee finishing second in the championship race and finishing second in the 2018 ITS Championship standings.Qualifying would take place on Saturday with a session in the morning and a second session in the afternoon. The morning session should be the faster of the two session, unfortunately Phee would have clutch issues in the first session. “I broke a clutch line during the Friday test day and I thought it was fixed but it wasn’t” said Phee. “I couldn’t get the car into fourth gear on the out lap. I came into the pits and had the team do a quick brake bleed but it still didn’t fix the problem. The team said just stick it in fifth gear and try to get a lap in”. Phee would end up second in class and third overall in the session. “I couldn’t believe it when the crew radioed me that I was second in class. It was a strange feeling in the car to run the entire track in fifth gear, but I was able to turn in a good enough time for third overall”.The OPM team would replace a bad clutch slave cylinder in time for the second session and Phee would improve his time but not his position on the grid. “In the heat of the day and with all five gears I was able to improve my time from the morning session but still ended up third overall” said Phee.At the start of the race Phee would be inside row two and would maintain third going into turn one. The Miata of Chuck Hines started on pole but would end up second in turn one behind the ITR BMW of Steve Saney. On Lap two Hines would drive down into turn one and take over the lead. Phee would try to follow him through but would stay in the third position. On lap four of the twenty lap race the ITS leader would miss a shift coming onto the front straight and Saney and Phee would get by. Phee would continue to apply pressure to Saney and would get by on lap 11. “It was a good race, it was hard to get by the ITR car because it was so much faster down the front straight. When Chuck had his problems I knew I needed to try and get the ITR car between us. I was faster in the infield but he was faster on the straight, I was finally able to stuff it inside him in turn five, but the car pushed up into him and we made side to side contact”. Phee would move past the BMW but Hines in the Miata would follow him through.Phee would hold onto the lead for the next four laps but Hines would get back into the lead on lap 15. At the finish it would be Hines over Phee with Saney a distant third. Phee would end up second on the day and second in the 2018 SARRC Series Championship. “I really have to thank the OPM crew, especially Nick and Jeff for getting the car repaired after the test day clutch issues. I wasn’t sure if we would get the car fixed for race day but as usual they did a great job in getting the car fixed” said Phee.
November 3rd, 2018 – Road Atlanta Raceway, Braselton, Georgia
WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee finishes third at the American Road Race of Champions at Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, GeorgiaThe season ending American Road Race of Champions (ARRC) was completed at Road Atlanta Raceway and WRPMotorsports drive Willie Phee would come away with a 3rd place finish in the championship race. Qualifying would be held on Friday and would consist of two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning session would be held in wet conditions and WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee would qualify fourth in class and seventh overall in the wet conditions. “I didn’t have a great set of rain tires and it was the first time for me in the wet at this track, so I wasn’t that disappointed in my result” said Phee.The afternoon session would be dry with rain threatening and Phee would improve his qualifying position to third in class and third overall. “The track was a bit damp but I figured it would dry out near the end of the session, plus I was hoping the rain would hold off, it did and I was able to get within two tenths of second and start inside the second row” said Phee.At the start of the race Phee would be inside row two and would get a great run off of turn 12 and get alongside the pole sitter going into turn one. Phee would slot into second up the hill into turn two. Phee would get another great run in turn seven and move into the lead before the end of lap one. Phee would hold onto the first position until lap five when the pole sitting BMW would get back by going into turn one. Phee would hold onto second place for two more laps but would miss a shift at the start of lap seven and drop to third when the car went into limp mode. “I missed a shift on the front straight and I thought the car blew up. I was coasting all the way through turn one and up the hill when I tried recycling the kill switch and the car started back up”. Phee would maintain third position for the rest of the 20 lap race “I thought I had something for Matt in the BMW when I got into the lead but when I missed the shift and the car went into limp mode it really hurt my chances to try and run with him. Overall I’m happy that the car finished without any problems” said Phee.“As usual the OPM crew did their best to have the car in great shape for the race. And had it not been for driver error we might have had a better finish” said Phee. For the 2019 season the WRPMotorsports TSX will be converted to run in Super Touring Under (STU) so the team an participate in the SCCA Runoffs scheduled for Virginia International Raceway in October 2018.