in The Mitty at Road Atlanta
Two-Time Reigning Champ Tops Tough Field To Win Weekend’s Three Races in Luna-C Clothing Cayman S
Two-time reigning series champion Lee Davis swept all three Pirelli Cayman Interseries Endurance Cup Championship races in record fashion this past weekend, April 27 – 29, at Road Atlanta in a convincing performance on his home track at the 36th Annual Classic Motorsports Mitty.
After winning Saturday’s opening sprint race in his No. 33 Cayman S in the colors of Brun Motorsport Porsche 956 and Luna-C Clothing, Davis picked up two more wins on Sunday, including a cool-under-fire solo drive in the weekend’s featured one-hour enduro race.
On the opening circuit of the 32-lap endurance race early Sunday afternoon, Davis had his cool-suit box come loose but it did little to stop a solid six-second margin of victory over friend and close-competitor Mark Sandridge.
“I was feeling really good and had a good start,” Davis said, “Then when I was headed around Turn 4 I noticed something gray flash in my peripheral vision on my right. I recognized it as the cover to my cool box. Didn’t think much of it until Turn 6 when I went to the brakes and something smashed into the dash and then flew up against the shifter when I turned in. It was my entire cool box! We hadn’t run it all weekend, but decided to put it in for the enduro. Apparently, we didn’t get it fastened down all the way, and the thing was flying all over the place!”
Davis never lost the lead and his crew removed the cool-suit unit when he pitted for his mandatory stop on lap 13. He rejoined the race in third place and moved by fellow race leaders Chuck Smithee and Wayne Nykyforchyn to take the lead for good seven laps from the finish.
“Finally, a caution came,” Davis said. “I pitted, we removed the cool box and stuck with our plan of me finishing the race, so I stayed in the car, set a good pace, and focused on clicking off laps. The second half was much less eventful, albeit pretty hot!”
Sandridge finished second in the enduro after Porsche Napleton Racing repaired his white and red-and-yellow striped No. 49 Cayman S, which is themed after his 1994 IMSA Champion Team Salad Porsche 911 RSR, that was damaged in an incident in Sunday morning’s second and final sprint race.
Davis also won the Sunday-morning sprint in a wire-to-wire run, beating Bob Schneider in his white No. 40 Cayman S modeled after the famous Martini & Rossi “Baby” Porsche 935. Schneider turned in a typically-strong performance to hit the podium in both of the weekend’s sprint races.
Schneider, Smithee and debuting driver Charles Harris, who drives a No. 58 Brumos Racing-themed Cayman S, all drove in cars prepared by Chris Smith Racing, one of the premier race shops located near Road Atlanta. It was the first Cayman Interseries race weekend for CSR and the team had at least one competitor on the podium in every race.
Three Caymans from CARS (Classic Auto Restoration Services), a top race shop located in Omaha, Nebraska, were also on the pace at The Mitty. The hands-down crowd favorite was the pink No. 23 Cayman S modeled after the famous “Pink Pig” Porsche 917/20 and driven by Lori Cassling. Another colorful CARS entry was the orange No. 2 Cayman S driven by Cassling’s brother-in-law Mike Cassling that pays tribute to the famous Jagermeister Porsches. Henry Davis, who drives a silver No. 21 Cayman S in the colors of the memorable Martini & Rossi Porsche 917s, turned in a typically strong performance in what was the first 2012 Cayman Interseries start for all three CARS competitors.
Lee Davis set records for his Sunday sprint winning average speed of 86.528 mph and his Saturday morning qualifying time of 1:32.939, the fastest ever Cayman Interseries lap at Road Atlanta.
Smithee, driving his white No. 25 Cayman S that pays tribute to the Le Mans-winning Mobil 1 Porsche GT-1, finished third in both Sunday races as one of the weekend’s top Sportsman class competitors.
For their efforts, Davis and Smithee split the weekend’s Pirelli Tire Bonus Awards, with each driver earning a set of Pirelli P Zero racing slicks. Smithee’s strong weekend also saw him snag the WeatherTech Floor Liners “Ultimate Protection Move of the Race Award” for his double-podium appearance. The JRZ Suspension Engineering “Fine Tuning Award” went to Harris who showed the most improvement throughout the weekend in his first outing in the Cayman Interseries.
Nykyforchyn, making his first Pirelli Cayman start of the season in his No. 11 white and red Cayman S that runs the livery of a Marlboro/Joest Racing Porsche 956, picked up right where he left off in last year’s Daytona finale with another Sportsman division podium on Sunday.
Ed Napleton also showed well in his Mitty debut in his distinctive No. 1 Cayman S that features a special carbon-fiber gray “prototype” livery while Tom Bloom ran his first Pirelli Cayman Interseries race weekend in more than a year in his white and red No. 16 Cayman S themed after a Dyson Racing Porsche 962.
Debuting 18-year-old Off-Road Racing Champion Rafael Navarro IV showed strong pace and car control in his first race ever in a mid-engine car in the yellow No. 55 Cayman S that carries the livery of a David Piper Racing Sandeman Porsche 917K.
“All in all, the weekend couldn’t have gone better,” Lee Davis said. “It was great to welcome some new folks to the series like Rafael Navarro and see some new guys on the podium again, like Chuck Smithee. It was really special to get all three wins at my home track and have family and friends there to witness it. The only downside was a missing competitor, Bill Dennis. We dedicated the weekend to Bill. He was such a great guy and it just wasn’t the same without him there. He is missed.”
Dennis passed away on Sunday, April 1, while competing in an HSR event at Roebling Road near Savannah, Georgia. One of the most likable drivers in the paddock, he was instantly popular in the Cayman Interseries as a great competitor and friend, both on and off the race track.
In addition to Davis dedicating his winning weekend to Dennis, the entire field did a tribute lap in their friend’s honor prior to the start of the Saturday sprint race. The lap was paced by Bill Riddell, a winning Cayman Interseries competitor and close friend and teammate of Bill Dennis. Riddell led the tribute pace lap in his green No. 80 Cayman S that is modeled after a David Piper Racing Porsche 917K.