Satellite Racing takes home 2 more 1-2 finishes at the SCCA Daytona Sun Stroke regionals with drivers Tom Manallio and Jim Elder. Manallio, long time team friend, was driving officially as a Satellite driver for the first time while his car under goes the conversion from formula 500 to Formula 600. Both decided to take on the task of tackeling the always tricky Daytona International Speedway and the late Florida summer heat associated with it. The weather would quickly play a major part in the weekend casuing Elders car to overheat during Saturdays race. He managed to nurse the car around to justpick up the 2nd position. Manallio had a near flawless run and brought the field home in 1st with quite a gap behind. Rounding out the podium was Charles Thompson in the Sidewinder Racing effort. The heat got the better of Elder however as he was suffering from severe dehydration after Saturdays on track activities.
After running through the hardship session early Sunday morning the team knew the over heating issue had been solved. Elder was free to push the car knowing it is at full strength again and would be able to handle it. He however was not in as good of shape. Still suffering from the effects of Saturdays race, Jim was able to, stubbornly, jump back in the car and right back on pace. Even despite everybody on the team telling him to take it easy. At the start of Sundays race Manallio was able to fend off an early challenge from Thompson in the Sidewinder. Thompson was able to grab the inside line into turn 1 but Tom held steady on the outside and was able to force the Sidewinder into lifting as they came through the first chicane. Thompson sat in Toms mirrors for the first few laps until Tom got heat fully in his tyres and began to pull away. We did manage to dig up video of Sundays race start from a fan in the infield. While Manallio was up fighting with the faster class cars, Jim was having to fight his way back through the field after missing the call to the grid and having to start at the back of the field. After picking off 5 cars at the drop of the green, Jim quickly found his way back up to 2nd place just a few laps later. Jim set sights for Tom who was now a long ways up the road.
Tom was still upfront thinking he had a hefty lead over the field around the halfway point in the race. After being caught up briefly by lap traffic he took a glance in his mirror to see the sister Satellite car of Elder right in tow. The 2 went on to scrap it out (no team orders here). Jim had managed to grab the lead going into the final lap and put a couple car lengths between he and Manallio. Tom soon found his way back by however but Jim would edge passed again just in time for the checkard flag. Both drivers put in an extremly strong showing for the team and we couldn’t be happier with the results.
“This car just pulled and pulled” Manallio said after Sundays race. “Normally mine would top out and fall flat but this thing just never quit. I’ve never gone so fast around here. The top speed, acceleration, the brakes, handling, everything was phenominal. You can’t ask for any more then that!” The teams luck quickly ran out though as Toms truck decided not to start whilst trying to leave. Thanks to the local autoparts store for running out a new starter to the garages at the track and the team jumping on it everyone was back on the road and headed home just an hour or 2 later. With the 2011 season of SCCA winding down the team has already set it sights and goals for 2012. They are admittedly a bit lofty goals but we expect nothing less then the best from our small group. The 2011 season for the virtual team still has much work to do though. Stay tuned here for updates of the team from the VLMS-ERL and TPG racing series.