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BK Racing 2001 Wrap-Up

2001 was a year of change for all of us. The tragic events of September 11 are still in the forefront of most of our minds and life will never be the same as it was before. Add in our personal concerns (Harriett’s dad passed away in February and granddaughter Ashley’s battle against a brain tumor continues) and this past year was very intense indeed. Life does go on, however, and we must remember that "the only constant is change".

Although not nearly as dramatic (what possibly could be?), B.K. Racing had it’s ups and downs in 2001 as well. We started the season coming in second in GT-1 and second overall at the Tom Nehl National at Roebling Road despite a spin that dropped me almost to the back of the field. Three weeks later at Road Atlanta we found out about life cycles on rotating engine parts when a connecting rod left the premises via the oil pan during qualifying. That’s when I experienced the ramifications of those shifts I missed as I was learning how to use a Hewland transmission!

Rather than rebuilding the high-dollar Pro-built 8200 RPM engine, Mike Harrison (M & H Engineering in Columbia, SC) convinced me I’d be better off running a (relatively) low RPM version that would last longer and let me get seat time in the car. Mike built me a "mule" that’s red-lined at 7500 rpm and was about 20% the cost of the original engine. Because it’s almost 100 hp less than the "hoo-hah" engine, it forces me to drive the car in the corners rather than wait on the straights to get by folks. Not a bad thing at all.

We got Lucifer back together for the June 10,11 National at Road Atlanta, qualified on the front row alongside Bill Reid’s very fast GT-2 Celica, then led four laps on our way to our first GT-1 National win, second place overall. In August we went to Virginia International Raceway (an absolutely beautiful facility near Danville), qualified fifth and finished third at the Oak Tree National. Two weeks later we ran the second Mid-Ohio National (site of the Runoffs) with a number of the top drivers in the nation, qualified eighth and finished seventh. Since we had no reasonable chance of winning the Runoffs with the "mule" (and we demonstrated we could finish eighth last year), we decided to earmark that money toward getting ready for 2002.

In November we entered the SPO class at Road Atlanta’s American Road Race of Champions, qualified on the pole (faster than I’d run in June), lead every lap in the race and lapped all but the second place car. Over Thanksgiving weekend we took the car to an NCCC weekend in Savannah and broke the event record by 1.5 seconds. Certainly a positive end to the year.

Over the winter we’ve taken the car completely apart to check things over and found some key items that should make us even faster this year. We’ll be running a limited schedule in the Southeast to qualify for the Runoffs and continue to learn the car, then re-install the "hoo-hah" engine for the August Mid-Ohio weekend and the National Championship race. If you happen to make it to one of our races, stop by and see us in the paddock area.

See you at the track…