Tuesday, June 3, 2014
When we arrived, Detroit weather gave us a proper welcome with rain and flooded streets. On the way to our hotel, we saw a local, in a pick up truck, decide not to forge a flooded intersection in his pick up truck.Even though in a rental, we decided it was best not to either.
The next morning during load in, tractor trailers were getting stuck and digging ruts into the islands grassy areas. Big Caterpillar tractors had to be brought in to pull them out, while truck loads of wood chips were sprayed like water from a fire hose to help dry out the area.
Saturday morning was an early one, since qualification was slated for 7:05 in the morning. After it was over, Andy qualified 9th and I, 18th, a little over 1.5 secs behind. Less than 2 hours later, it was show time.
The race started off wonderfully for me. The lights went out, the pack sprinted forward and I had a jump on Eric Davis, who was in front of me. I pointed my nose to his right but decided not to go for it, because it would have been a gamble to get through him and the wall. I found my way behind Buzz McCall from GTS Sport and rode his tail for 2 laps before getting by him and pulling away.
I was following my friend, Andy Pilgrim, in his No.8 GT Cadillac CTSV-R during this time. I knew he was gone at the restart so I would try to hang with him as much as possible. With 5 minutes left in the race, the green flag flew.
Still behind Pilgrim we raced into Turn 7, I noticed a Dodge Viper in front of him. As we came into Turn 8, my eye caught a very slow white Aston Martin on the inside. I remember thinking, “that is a terrible place to stop.” As I made my turn in to Turn 8, a loud bang shook my body, another bang filled my ears and then a 3rd bang rang out as I now understood my car to be in the tires. I don’t know what happened exactly, but I do know the white Aston Martin crashed into me, and plowed me into the tire wall with 2 minutes left. 2 MINUTES! I was... not happy.
I was running 12th at the time and because of that, I finished 18th... Andy moved up 1 spot to 8th.
Sunday came around after the crew spent the better part of Saturday fixing my car. I have the best crew who loves their job and will give it their all. I am EXTREMELY thankful for each of them. They are some of the best guys I know. just after 0800 there was a warm up session for the Pirelli World Challenge cars and I wanted to shake down my car during that time. I only ran 6 laps. I wanted to save the car for the race, but make sure that it was functioning properly. I ran about 8/10th’s pace and was happy.
Race time came. On the outside wall this time, there was no where to go but straight forward. If someone ahead of me were to stall, it would be a traffic jam. The lights went out and everyone took off. Friend Nick Esayian did have a stall forcing Tom Landry to stay parked behind him. I got underway smoothly and was battling for position until the pack of cars started to string out. Laps 1 and 2 felt good as the tires heated up and the engine was purring.
Lap 3, everything changed. I was following the Tremec Camaro through Turns 1 and 2. My line was within the norm of what I had been running all weekend. As I started into Turn 2, the turn where a “jump” is in the middle of, I felt the front end of my car wobble. Maintaining throttle, the car compressed on the other side and I felt the back end of the car begin to want to travel around the front. I floored the gas pedal in hoops of squatting the back end down but physics was already in motion.
My car spun around backward and was headed for the concrete wall. My right rear quarter panel hit first, then the front right, and back to the rear again. I was at a loss. Teammate Andy Lee, had mechanical problems with his cars throttle body. It would stick open or closed at the most inopportune times. He couldn’t finish either.
It was a rough weekend all the way around. Detroit beat us up and spit us out. However, #20 and #40 in the Pirelli World Challenge Series don’t lay down. We will be back Detroit, and we will be gunning for you.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
The Navy SEAL Legacy Foundation focuses support on education, funeral, health & wellness, living and quality of life expenses for the SEALs and their families. For more information about the foundation or if you want to donate to their cause, click here.
The morning came early for the jump team as we checked out of our rooms and loaded up the vehicle to head to the airport at 0500. After dropping off the jumpers the DZ crew headed to the Gold Club of Houston to set up the DZ. The designated jump time approached and with some deconfliction from Houston International, the jump team came over head at 5500 feet above ground level and the 5 jumpers exited the airplane one right after another.
The first 2 jumpers out performed CRW (Canopy Relative Work) making a bi-pl
ane formation with a 4x6 foot flag showing a trident waving in the wind off the lower jumper. The next 2 jumpers out of the plane immediately deployed their chutes and separately lowered the huge flags they were carrying. The Foundation provided a wonderful 600 sq. foot SEAL Legacy Foundation Flag to be flown, and it was accompanied by a 1100 sq. foot American Flag from the jump team. The 5th jumper, with a smaller chute on his back and a camera strapped to his head, flew around the others capturing aerial pictures of others.
After landing, we switched gears and showed our best golf game as we were paired with groups and entered into a scramble. A BIG thank you goes to the Foundation for all their hard work in making the event happen, for what they do for the SEAL Community and to those that came out to support the event and gave to the charitable cause.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
For the first time this year, the teams had an optional promoter test day for practice. Every team took advantage of the opportunity to put more laps down, and work to achieve the perfect set up on each car. As a driver, I very much appreciated the extra lap time. My previous experience here last year during Grand Am's Continental Tire Series race wasn't the best I could have asked for. With rain during every practice session, the track dried out for the race and the first 20 minutes was spent learning the track.
I brought last years knowledge and track notes to the race this year. With a few gear changes, the line was pretty much the same, so the bulk of practices was fine tuning my awesome Camaro's handling.
Qualification day came and with all the practice the teams have had, it was going to be an all or nothing run. With some mix up from the officials about which list was being used to line up the cars in pre-grid. I ended up having to run to meet my car in the pitts. I was standing next to my car, putting my helmet on, when an official in a panic, as if it was a last minute thought, told one of my crew to drive the car to my position. As I was walking down to meet the car in pre-grid, the officials blew the whistle, and all of the cars rolled onto pit lane. My crew chief and I had a conversation at the Officials trailer after making sure we didn't get docked points or fined for their mess up,
After earning my fastest time ion the track during qualifying, I still ended up 20th on the grid while Andy was sitting 4th. The Top 10 place holders were all within .8 seconds of one another. It was game on.
A clean race ensued for the remaining time of the 50 minutes and it was awesome. Andy finished 4th, and after getting railroaded and spun by a GT Audi R8 in the middle of Turn 8, I ended up 15th. I won't forget that car number or his name. We have many more races to run. Got to love multi-class racing...
Saturday, April 19, 2014
The second weekend of Pirelli World Challenge Racing was set in beautiful Long Beach, CA. Known as the “Roar By The Shore”, 20 GT and 20 GTS manufacture cars totaling more than 20 Million dollars would race through the streets showcasing themselves in the ultimate fashion.
Friday morning’s practice session tested both the drivers and crew. The #20 and #40 car, were giving both my teammate Andy Lee and I some hassle with the way they were handling. With roughly 10 minutes left in the practice session, the cabin of my car filled with smoke and my cars clutch decide to stick to the floor as I was flat out, racing down the front straight. I put the car in neutral so the engine didn’t blow and coasted to a stop in the run off by Turn 1. A late night by the crew was spent in the paddock dropping the transmission, disconnecting the drive shaft and replacing an OEM part that within the slave cylinder that failed.
Saturday arrived and the qualifying was that afternoon. The #20 car qualified in P8 while #40 qualified in P16 after what ended up being a grueling qualification round. I only did 6 of the Fields 8 laps because once again, the cabin of my car filled with smoke and the clutch stuck to the floor. After I got towed in to the paddock a 2nd time, I spoke in depth to my trusted crew members Dave Stevens and Tristan Brannon to find out what the hell was going on with the car. After a quick investigation it was found that a hose from the previous nights clutch repair was too close to the exhaust, burned through and the fluid went everywhere causing the smoke filled cabin. Not the qualifying round or position either of us drivers wanted, but then again Long Beach has never been nice to the BestIT team.
Sunday morning came quick. There was a 15 minute “warm-up” period for the PWC cars and both Andy and I were staged ready for it. Andy had been having a brake issue in qualification with his Crown7 / BestIT Camaro and wanted to check its status after some tweaks were made by the crew. I had to find out if the clutch was back working properly and I wanted to get more seat time on track.
The afternoon was gorgeous as temperatures hung in the mid 70’s and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The Indy cars race had passed, the drifting expedition was over and the Stadium Super Trucks had done their exhibition. The Streets of Long Beach were all ours now.
After the safety crews picked up the pieces, hauled the cars off the track and cleaned up all the fluids. Yellow turned to green and the race was back on! Andy wonderfully wove his way back up to the Top 10 during the race and kept his car out of trouble earning him P7. I wove my way back up to P11, was starting to make my run to break into the Top 10 when I was called by race control to Pit and have my rear bumper removed. During my progress of moving up in the ranks, my back end swung out in Turn 5 making contact with a tire wall and damaging the rear end. At that point I knew Top 10 was out of the picture. I made my pit stop and watched the crew yank and jerk the rear end off to get me back racing. I was released by my team mate, and then told I had to come around again because the WC Official hadn’t given the thumbs up.
After I pitted a second time, I was just racing for points now, not place. I ended up 17th.
Congrats to my teammate Andy Lee for earning the “Clean Pass” Award!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
The St. Petersburg FL., Grand Prix started the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge race season with the same unpredictability as the races themselves. With qualifying taking place Saturday morning, #20 Andy Lee qualified P3 while I, Geoff Reeves, qualified P11 for BestIT Racing.
Race #1 was to happen that afternoon, but severe weather rolled in producing heavy rain and Tornado warnings in the area, The track was shutdown by SCCA Officials and ultimately the race was cancelled. Questions as to how / when it could be made up were asked, but PWC Officials couldn’t answer at the time.
Sunday morning arrived and “Race #2” brought beautiful skies and a dry street course. Drivers were anxious, the crews were ready and the fans wanted to see some racing!
The grid lined up utilizing the Saturday mornings qualifying times. At 11:20am the starting lights went out and the sound of race ready high horsepower engines echoed off the downtown buildings.
BestIT Racing’s Andy Lee jumped out to the P1 position and battled against Blackdog’s Lawson Aschenbach (Chevy Camaro) and Reset MD’s Jack Baldwin (Porsche Cayman) keeping them in his rear view mirror.
I got a good jump at the start moving up 3 spots from P11 to P8. I got caught on the outside of Turn 4 a few laps in, was passed by a string of cars and trailed back to P14. However, with each lap that passed I made up ground reeling in my competitors and picking them off 1 by 1. 17 minutes into the race, now back in P11, I was trying to make my way around the #96 Ford Mustang. I followed the GT class BMW into Turn 10 on the inside line to over take my competitor who had already given up the racing line to the BMW. Unfortunately, the Mustang must not have seen me and turned in as soon as the BMW passed.
My Camaro’s front right fender and wheel made contact with the driver side door of the Mustang resulting in a bent “A” arm on my passenger side rendering the car un-drivable. I limped the car back tot he pits. My amazing pit crew looked at it, tried to make it operational, but couldn’t. My debut race was over.
Teammate Andy Lee however was in the middle of an intense battle up front of the GTS Class. After holding P1 for the entire race, the leaders were about to lap a slower car with just a few minutes left to go in the race. Lee went inside to pass and the slower car bumped sides, slowing Andy down just enough for the Blackdog Camaro to sneak around him giving Andy P2.
To see this season opener, tune into NBC Sports Sunday April 6th at 5:30 pm!
The team is now headed to Long Beach, CA for the Toyota Grand Prix April 11-13, 2014!
Monday, February 10, 2014
On February 8th, San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium was packed with an awesome crowd of a different kind. The Monster Energy Supercross was in town and the "Q" was going off! Shadow Works / Frog - X Skydiving Team was invited by MONSTER ENERGY to jump into this adrenaline filled event and add to the action sports excitement.
The fun began in the early afternoon as 4 jumpers exited the aircraft and landed before a packed crowd in front of the Monster Energy 18-wheeler Event Rig. After the jump put on a fantastic demonstration, the audience asked questions and took pictures with us and the Monster Energy girls.
As motocross superstars practiced for the evenings race, the team regrouped and prepped for the demo in front of a packed house. Darkness fell and the pre-event festivities began with fireworks, a presentation of the colors by the U.S. Marines, and the Shadow Works / Frog-X Team dropping out of the night sky. After a perfect performance, the team was immediately brought to the winners stage and interviewed live FOX Sports Channel.
Monday, December 23, 2013
The crowd roared as the flag got closer to the stadium. Timed perfectly to the words of the National Anthem, as the last notes were sung, the jumper touched down on the field.
It was a sight to see as fans stood on their feet to applaud while some Chargers players come over to high five the team.
Monday, November 11, 2013
The Shadow Works Frogs revisited their roots in Fort Pierce, FL. skydiving in to the annual UDT / SEAL Muster on Saturday Nov 9, 2013. The team battled high winds coming off the ocean, setting down in front of a packed house opening and closing the SEAL Demonstration. Nix White started the show bringing in the American Flag to the National Anthem. Closing the show, Marc Hogue, Larry Barbiero and Keith Pritchett each under single canopy landed right in front of the crowd. Afterwards, the team took pictures with the audience, let kids help them pack their parachutes and answered questions about skydiving.
The team was honored to take pics with SOCOM 4 Star Admiral McCraven, Norm Olson (man who started the Chuting Stars, later to be known as the U.S. Navy Parachute Team) and SEAL Medal of Honor recipients Mike Thornton and Tommy Norris.
The following day, the team kicked off the Annual Golf Tournament with a duel drop into both of the Admiral’s Cove gorgeous golf resorts. After landing, the team dropped their parachutes for golf clubs and joined UDT / SEAL supporters of the for an epic day of scramble golf and more.