#GRIDLIFE 2019 Grassroots Racing TrackBattle Season Begins in Mid-Ohio
On the first weekend of April, #GRIDLIFE returned to where it all started: grassroots racing. Sixty-eight (mostly) bright eyed and bushy tailed drivers and their team members arrived at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in time for Saturday’s 7 a.m. driver’s meeting, the first of the 2019 TrackBattle series. That is where we heard Motorsports Director Adam Jabaay describe the event’s relaxed atmosphere perfectly, “This weekend is for draining wallets, inducing smiles and making best friends.”
Starting at Mid-Ohio
It was the kick-off event for #GRIDLIFE’s 2019 TrackBattle season and the third consecutive year at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, one of the most fun, challenging and rewarding tracks in North America. This weekend also marked the debut of #GRIDLIFE's new wheel-to-wheel series, the GRIDLIFE Touring Cup (GLTC), which showcases a wide array of cars and makes viewing and competing even more exciting. Fans who were unable to make it out to the track were glued to the livestream.
At #GRIDLIFE, competitors are also friends, and new enthusiasts are welcomed with open arms. After all, racing is about more than fast cars. It's about the friends you make along the way. Mid-Ohio is the perfect place for beginners to let their right foot get heavy with guidance from a dedicated instructor and multiple classroom sessions, because knowledge is power (literally). While the track rats blew the dust off their cars at blistering speeds around the 2.25-mile track, new drivers gained invaluable experience by maneuvering the 13 technical turns. Clear to partly cloudy skies and low-to-mid 60-degree temperatures had the cars running at their prime and the competitors racing with confidence.
If the cars at Gridlife Mid-Ohio are clues to what is to come for the event’s 2019 season, then we are in for one hell of a ride. James Houghton broke the FWD record on Saturday while he was testing his Unlimited Class Acura Integra's handling, and then on Sunday, he smashed the overall Time Attack record with a 1:23.8 lap time, then sped on to set the bar even higher at 1:23.4 later in the day.
Luke McGrew dominated the Track Modified Class with a quick lap time of 1:28.9 in his Dodge Viper ACR. "The weather held out really well,” he said. “The track conditions got better on day two; good enough for me to dip into the 28s, so I'm super happy about that!”
James Forbis' best lap time was 1:31.43, which placed him first in Street Modified. He had a blast piloting his Z06 Corvette around the course. "Everyone was driving the wheels off of their cars and having fun,” he reflected. “Thank you to the #GRIDLIFE staff and volunteers who make these events run smoothly. You give us racers one hell of a place to play. I haven't been this excited to run a series in a long time.”
Brian Leazenby deemed the weekend as fan-freaking-tastic. “I learned a lot, pushed past my previous limits and am even more excited for the rest of the season than I was before,” he said. His test pilot, Ron Spear, tagged along in the Mustang to help Leazenby achieve his goals. Leazenby came out on top of the Street GT Class with a 1:35.8-second best lap. He’s already looking forward to #GRIDLIFE Midwest.
Chris Neuman, behind the wheel of his BMW M3, smashed last year's Street Overall and RWD record by three seconds with a 1:36.0. "Austin Hertel and I had the best battle. He was right there with a 1:36.4 of his own," he said. "The competition is so much fun, and I can't believe how fast this class is getting. This car is a monster!"
Last year’s Mid-Ohio TrackBattle was the only Spec Fit lap record that escaped Matt Williams in the 2018 season. Mother Nature heard his cries and kept the track dry through the weekend. His car proved itself as the fittest of the Honda Fits. The fastest lap of 1:52.201 earned him first place in the Specfit Sundae Cup.
After such an invigorating and awakening weekend, you better believe we are looking forward to following #GRIDLIFE's 2019 season. Be sure to flip through the gallery for more race car action from mid-Ohio.