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Conrad Motorsports Bark River Recap

Mechanical Gremlins Can’t Stop Conrad Family Fun in Bark River

BARK RIVER, MI – After a successful trip to ERX Motor Park, the STEEL-IT sponsored 3-truck Conrad Motorsports team headed to the Upper Peninsula, where Bark River International Raceway played host to Rounds 5&6 of the Midwest Short Course League on August 11-12. Cody Conrad in the #97 Kenda Tires PRO 2 looked to build on his best finish of the year, and the girls were excited to take their improving skills to another track.

As has become the norm in 2018, rain forced the cancellation of scheduled events at Bark River on Friday night. All three drivers were slated to take the course – Cody in practice and Hope and Faith for their Round 5 race. PRO 2 Practice was cancelled and the short course kart races were rescheduled in the traditional Saturday/Sunday slate.

Faith started on the front row in Saturday morning’s short course kart main event with Hope starting 11th in the stacked field of 20 karts. There was a lot of carnage on the first lap in the horseshoe turns, which is treacherous when crowded. Faith and Hope got bottled up a bit but were able to safely navigate the wreckage, emerging in 7th and 13th, respectively.

Hope moved up quickly through the field, and passed her sister in the first half of the race. At the Competition Caution, it was Hope in 8th and Faith in 10th. The sisters both improved their positions and ran strong in the second half of the race. Hope finished in 7th with Faith just two spots behind.

On Sunday, Faith once again started up front with Hope in 10th. It didn’t take long for the sisters to find each other on the track: at a lap two caution Hope was in 9th and Faith was 10th. Fast competitors pushed their way around the Conrad sisters in a rough first half of the race. At one point, Faith put up quite a fight when her older sister tried to pass:

“I was really excited to pass my sister even though she passed me right back,” said Faith. “I wasn’t real happy when someone hit me and spun me out, but at least I could drive out of it and keep going this time.”

The capable Conrad Motorsports crew had the truck back together and ready to rumble on Sunday morning. In qualifying, Cody beat his Saturday time by four full seconds. He started on the outside of the fourth row for Sunday’s main event. The race got off to a great start, with Cody running strong in 6th. But once again mechanical gremlins spoiled the fun as a broken water pump belt ended the day just a couple laps in.

“I’m frustrated on the poor luck we’ve been having,” Cody said. “But they’re all lessons learned going into the big four races and final showdown in Crandon.”

“I just have to keep lifting the kids spirits up,” said team owner Jerry Conrad. “We had some bad luck with two of the vehicles this weekend but we have to keep going. The kids are still smiling at the end of the day and that’s what we want; it’s family fun with lots of work.”

Next up, the team heads back to Crandon, Wisconsin for the biggest race in short course racing: the World Championships and AMSOIL Cup. Hope has a chance at the short course kart class points championship, and Faith and Cody will be looking to score their first podiums of 2018 and end the season on a high note.

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RAIN PROVIDES FOR UNIQUE SETUPS FOR NO. 31 PORSCHE 718 CAYMAN CLUBSPORT MR
LEXINGTON, Ohio (May 4, 2019) – For racing drivers Jeff Courtney and Fred Roberts, they know working with a new race car could take a learning process as they entered this weekend (May 3-4) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in their debut in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series with the No. 31 Bodymotion/JCR Motorsports/Recstuff.com/Kenda/X-Analytics/Enercare Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR sports car.

And then throw in the always-demanding rain conditions at the tough 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio circuit and Courtney and Roberts were dealing with a machine that could provide an “E” ride at Disney World.

“Fred and I hadn’t driven a Porsche in quite awhile and we had a lot of new elements to deal with this weekend at Mid-Ohio,” said Milwaukee’s Courtney, last year’s GTSA Sprint series champion in the World Challenge tour. “We have been racing the bigger and less sophisticated Maserati for several years in the GTS class and we needed to get up to speed with the new Porsche Cayman GT4. And then add the rain element, and it gets a little dicey at a hard track like Mid-Ohio.”

After qualifying in the rain on Saturday morning, the Bodymotion/JCR Motorsports crew made changes to the No. 31 car’s setup in preparation for a dry track in the Mid-Ohio 120, a two-hour feature for the GT4 and TCR machines.

“I think we took a gamble on the Porsche’s setup,” said Roberts, the Toronto driver. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t what we need for the track conditions. And the rain was difficult too. Overall, we got the car through practice, qualifying and the two-race race and we learned a lot in the past two days. I think everyone learned with the new car and the various conditions. We kept the car on the pavement today and many others did not.”

Courtney opened the two-hour race in the No. 31 Porsche 718 Cayman Clubsport MR GT4 machine and moved up in the 37-car field from his 23rd starting position into the top-15 in the first 30 minutes. Unfortunately, a pit stop infraction caused Jeff to come back to the pit for “drive-through” penalty, losing spots he originally passed.

But the Wisconsin veteran continue to slide up the field before turning the driving chores over to Roberts. The track conditions were becoming more difficult with a steady rain hitting the track. The team changed to rain tires and the overall pace of the race slowed as well.

“It was tough to maneuver with the rain,” said Roberts after the race. “Cars were sliding all over, and many were going off the track. I wanted to make sure we kept the car on the racing surface. Late in the race, the track did dry out and we needed to jump to the slicks then. Overall, it was a tough weekend with the new car and the crazy weather changes. But we will move on to the next race now and prepare from this weekend.”

After the event, Courtney mentioned the learning curve between the team members and drivers to coordinate a good, solid unit for the future of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series.

“We knew coming into the race weekend that it would not be easy since we were new with the team, the car and the series,” Jeff said. “And you add the weather conditions and bad things can happen in tough situations. We’ll take this learning process from this weekend and analyze everything. Then we’ll have that information to work from as we get ready for the next race.”

At the checkered flag Saturday (May 4) in the Mid-Ohio 120, Courtney and Roberts finished 16th in the Grand Sport division.