The 2019 World Racing League season kicked off at Barber Motorsports Park this past weekend. After winning the 2018 class championship the team was eager to get 2019 started to chase after another title. Our driver lineup in the #213 Mazda MX-5 was me, Jason Workman, Erick Melton, and Hunter Cestoni. Saturday started off well with a good first stint from Erick in the morning. The class was ultra-competitive, so we had to really be on our game the entire day. Hunter jumped in following Erick's opening stint and continued our hunt for a podium finish or better.
We eventually found ourselves in the lead in a back and forth battle with another MX-5 in our class. I got in and had a good run with some fun wheel to wheel racing. The car was handling very well and allowed easy driving through some of the heavy traffic. We were back and forth for the remainder of the afternoon and it would come down to fuel strategy. Good strategy calls from the team allowed us to pit under a safety car which gave is a nice buffer in the lead. Jason brought the car home first in class and sixth overall. The perfect way to start the season.
Sunday was a new day and once again Erick would take the green flag. We had three hours before an hour "quiet time" due to mandatory local noise ordinance. The green flag flew and Erick got a clean start. Towards the end of his stint a small mistake put him into the wall at a pretty high rate of speed. Concerned with his wellbeing we were relieved to hear he was ok and then inspected the car once it was towed back in. The Casey Carden Motorsports team jumped onto the car with duct tape, hammers, and tools to get the car back on track. Despite the heavy impact and large amount of cosmetic damage the car seemed straight.
It wasn't pretty but the car was driving fine so off we went. Jason was the first back in before the break and reported the car felt fine. We weren't in a hunt for a win but we wanted to chase a podium or at least finish in a car that looked like it should have been written off earlier on. I hopped in the car later in the afternoon to find the car was indeed in pretty good shape. The only real issue was our driver side mirror fell off so it was a little sketchy in some of the heavier traffic situations. I just had to mentally note where cars were, who was coming, and leave appropriate room. We ended the day forth in class which was a great accomplishment for the team. It’s one of the reasons I love endurance racing and the never give up attitude you have to have.
Overall it was a very strong weekend for Casey Carden Motorsports. On Sunday our sister car finished first in GP3 so overall an amazing weekend for the team and valuable championship points. The next WRL Southeast race will be at Daytona in May.