P.J. Groenke Miller MotorSport Park Recap
Crew Chief Sean Asselin departed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course immediately following Round 12 of the 2015 Pirelli
World Challenge Championships and embarked on the 1,729 mile drive to Tooele, UT for the Pirelli World Challenge Ford Miller Motorsports Park presented by VP Racing Fuels race weekend. P.J. Groenke Racing headed home for a short three days of work at Porsche and travelled to Salt Lake City, UT on Thursday, August 20th brimming with anticipation to race on the full 24-turn, 4.5 mile Miller Motorsports Park Road Course for the very first time!
P.J. Groenke Racing and the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper took to Miller Motorsports Park Road Course on Thursday, August 20th for the final Test Session of the day in order to learn the course and prepare the set-up for the Official Practice Session taking place on Friday, August 21st. At the end of the session it was apparent that the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper was not up to speed setting the 9th fastest lap time of 2:30.573, a full 3.162 seconds off the fastest lap time of the session. Something with the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper was off as P.J. Groenke Racing left Mid-Ohio Sports Cars Course with the 3rd fastest lap time and now we were not even close…Altitude? Set-up? We reviewed data and modified the set-up of the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper and took to the track for the Qualifying Session improving our lap time to 2:30.313, but we were no closer to the Pole Position lap time qualifying in 9th place and an even further 3.351 seconds off the ultimate pace.
Round 13 began with a rolling start. Carrying as much momentum as possible onto the front straight I moved the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper up to 6th place through “Sunset Bend” and carried on through the flat out corners “Dreamboat”, “Work-Out” and “Scream”. The new set-up on the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper was awesome through the corners, but we now realized where we were losing all of the time to our fellow competitors as I was passed by one competitor after another on the long front straight. Battling as hard as I could through the corners to maintain position I crossed the finish line with the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper in 8th place.
Round 14 took place on Saturday, August 22nd and P.J. Groenke Racing looked to move up the field in the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper. Positioned in my starting box, clutch to the floor and engine RPMs up to 4,000, I launched the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper off the line as the Pirelli World Challenge red starting lights shut off moving up to 5th place from my 8th place starting position but was forced to the outside of “Sunset Bend” dropping back to 7th place. Once again the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper was easy pickings for the rest of the PWC TCB field and we crossed the finish line in 10th place. Crew Chief Sean Asselin performed a multitude of tests on the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper following Round 14 and could find nothing wrong, nor the cause of our 7mph deficit on the front straight which was discovered when overlaying data with a fellow MINI Cooper.
Round 15 took place later that day closing out the Pirelli World Challenge Ford Miller Motorsports Park presented by VP Racing Fuels race weekend. P.J. Groenke Racing and the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper once again found ourselves struggling for pace and an intense battle ensued for 9th place swapping positions from 11th to 9th to 11th and back to 9th time and time again during the 40 minute race. The checkered flag flew signalling the end of the race and I managed to fend off the other competitors and bring home the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper in 9th place. This was definitely not the result we were looking for, but P.J. Groenke Racing and the Verax.ca, Tundra, Mulligan Gold MINI Cooper did end the race weekend with the Invisible Glass “Clean Pass of the Race” award for Round 15.
Onwards and upwards, I cannot wait to race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the very first time to close out the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge Championships!
About P.J. Groenke
P.J. Groenke has been racing professionally in Canada since 2001 and across North America since 2013. Highlights of Groenke’s racing career include winning the 52nd Annual Indian Summer Trophy, finishing as a semi-finalist on Discovery Channel Canada’s Star Racer in 2006, and sweeping the Canadian Touring Car Championship races at the Vortex Brake Pads 200 race weekend with back-to-back victories in 2011. Most recently, Groenke finished 6th in the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B-Spec Championship with three top five finishes including one podium, 13 top ten finishes, one Optima Batteries “Best Standing Start” award, two Sunoco “Hard Charger” awards, and captured his very first Pirelli World Challenge Pole Position at Road America.
P.J. Groenke is sponsored by Verax.ca, Tundra Technical Solutions, Mulligan Gold, Clairhaven Ltd., Clorox Pool&Spa, Martinrea International Inc., Pelto Agri Investments, and Warp Speed Computers Inc. Other sponsors include ARS Access Restoration Services, Affinity Luxury Car Rentals, Alpha Laboratories Inc., Amsterdam Brewery, Confident Paintless Dent Removal, Diplomat Trucking Ltd., Eventscape Inc., Payne Capital Corp. & Hawthorn Equity Partners, Proprint Services Inc., Ro-Ro Property Management Corp., and 4XM.ca/4Print.ca. For more information, please visit www.pjgroenkeracing.com.