|June 28, 2003
Nalley Audi and Tom Williams Audi team up to bring STaSIS to Road Atlanta
The weekend started out smoothly for the STaSIS team. Vic Rice, also driving an ALMS GT Porsche this season, showed great speed during the test day and practice days. He held the fastest practice time for many laps eventually settling out 14th among the 48 competitors. Jon Prall, learning the track for the first time, finished up 13th in the practice session.
Qualifying looked good for the STaSIS team as Jon Prall put himself in 4th spot with his second lap. He held 4th until the last two laps of the session. He was bumped to 5th and then 10th as six drivers squeezed into the 0.600 seconds between 3rd and 4th position in the last lap of qualifying. It was a tough break but Jon had started form 10 and fought for the lead at Mosport.
It was one of those great weeks when the crew had everything working like clockwork. They concentrated on preventative maintenance and fine tuning of the chassis throughout the first two days. Then it all went awry. Two transmissions failed in the two most critical sessions of the week. Vic Rice lost his first transmission on the second lap of qualifying and his second transmission on the second lap of the race. He won the Hole Shot Award for passing nine cars on the first lap, but that was the end of his race.
Jon Prall had to start from the pit lane. Road Atlanta had prevented any team from starting their motors until two minutes before roll out. A kinked fuel line delayed the start of Jon's motor just long enough for his competitors to drive past and leave him a required pit lane start. With a dramatic four wheel burn out and a full head of steam, Jon proceed to work from 44th to 20th in the first four laps. On lap five he cut a tire in an incident and had to pit for a new tire. He eventually recovered to 25th position.
This is the second time STaSIS has been hurt by multiple transmission failures in a weekend. To make it truly painful, the failures have occurred during qualifying or the race. "Racing is the ultimate test. You can't push the deadlines and you can't cut corners. It beats you down and dares you to give up. Good teams grow through their defeats. You can bet that STaSIS will be better and stronger because of this weekend" says Paul Lambert, team owner. They will certainly have a new transmission package.
"The Drivers Championship is a bit of a long-shot" says Jon Prall "but winning a few races would make up for it. It might even bring that championship possibility back." "The Audi is the platform to win with this year, and we are coming back to our home track. It would be a mistake to count us out"