Cayman Interseries - Slick Performance In Rainy Conditions Gives Davis Win At The Glenn
WATKINS GLEN, June 12, 2011: A slick performance in rainy conditions gave reigning Cayman Interseries Champion Lee Davis a flag-to-flag victory in his red and black No. 33 Cayman S, that carries the colors of the Advan Porsche 956s and 962s and Luna C Clothing, in a challenging Sunday morning sprint race at the SVRA Historic Enduro 200 at Watkins Glen International.
With a steady rain falling as the race began, Davis passed pole sitter Mark Sandridge on lap one of the just-over 15-minute sprint and never looked back as he won his first Cayman Interseries race since sweeping March’s season-opening event weekend at Sebring International Raceway.
“I have never raced in the Cayman in the rain,” Davis said. “That was something I have actually been looking forward to do because the cars handle so well. We decided to go out on slicks because we thought it was starting to dry up, and it was looking pretty clear, and of course it starts pouring down rain right when we go out, so most everybody was in the same boat.”
Both Davis and Sandridge went the distance on Hoosier R6 slick tires.
“It was really weird,” Davis said, “For such a short race, it was wet all over the track at different points. At the beginning it was raining pretty hard in turn one and up through the esses, and it was dry in the back. Then it stopped raining in the front and started raining in the back, the whole track was wet at some point and then started to dry up. You had to go where it wasn’t shiny and slide across those concrete patches.”
The concrete-patched sections presented the biggest wet-weather challenge to Davis and his competition.
“On the second lap, it was getting pretty wet and I was really trying to go up through the esses as flat as I could go while missing those patches,” Davis said. “At the top lefthander my left wheel went across a concrete patch, it slid a little bit, I was going pretty fast, but it caught and I am glad it did because there was nothing much I could do.”
Sandridge, who drives his white and red-and-yellow striped No. 49 Cayman S that pays tribute to his IMSA championship-winning 1994 Team Salad Porsche 911 RSR, said just trying to stay with Davis was his biggest challenge of the race.
“Trying to catch Lee Davis was my hairiest moment,” Sandridge said. “Through the esses it wasn’t actually as bad as I expected but when I got over on the back side you just hit a little bit of that concrete and – boom – It would send you sideways. I wasn’t really prepared for it to be as slippery as it was, it was intermittent, sometimes it would rain and sometimes it wouldn’t, so you never knew if there was some consistency there or not.”
Sandridge stayed within reach of Davis in the race’s opening laps.
“The first four or five laps I thought I was feeling comfortable, but Lee must have found something that he liked,” Sandridge said. “He drove the daylights out of the car, he just ran away from me. He’s obviously braver than I am!
Third place went to debuting driver Wayne Nykyforchyn (pronounced “Nicky-Fortune”) who opted for Hoosier rain tires on his white and red No. 11 Cayman S that displays the livery of the Marlboro/Joest Racing Porsche 956 that was driven to victory at Monza in 1983 by Thierry Boutsen and Bob Wollek.
“It’s great,” said Nykyforchyn, who finished on the podium in his very first race of any kind. “Completely unexpected, I like driving in the rain and it sort of paid off I think. I had rain tires and I think everybody else was on slicks, so we had a little strategy going. We did a little rain dance before the race and it worked out in our favor. I was looking for the wet line, absolutely, staying off the famous concrete here at Watkins Glen. When you crossed it, it was pretty slippery, you just tried to stay away from it, and it worked.”
Chuck Smithee, driving his No. 25 Mobil 1 Porsche GT-1 themed Cayman S, finished fourth, just behind his SpeedSport Tuning teammate Nykyforchyn, while Bill Dennis rounded out the top five in his bright red No. 5 Cayman S that pays tribute to the famous Bob Akin/Coca-Cola Porsche 935s and 962s.