COTA World Racing League, Casey Carden Motorsports race review

COTA World Racing League, Casey Carden Motorsports race review

09.12.2018: Casey Carden Motorsports entered the 2018 World Racing League finale at Circuit of the Americas in a must win situation. The Texas venue would host a test day followed by twin 8 hour races. The first race of the weekend on Saturday would determine the fin


Casey Carden Motorsports entered the 2018 World Racing League finale at Circuit of the Americas in a must win situation. The Texas venue would host a test day followed by twin 8 hour races. The first race of the weekend on Saturday would determine the final points positions for the World Racing League National Championship.

Additionally the Saturday race is also labeled the United States Endurance Racing Championship in a winner take all format highlighted by nice rings for the class winners. Sunday's race was simply for fun. The field was stacked with 24 GP3 cars and 89 cars overall in the field.

For this event the championship contending 213 Mazda MX-5 would be piloted by Jason Workman, Scott Turner and Erick Melton. The 214 Mazda MX-5 would be piloted by Assen Rachev, Chris Paiz, Jeremy Mizer, and Will Tally. Practice was successful as all of the drivers were up to speed and it looked like each car could challenge for the win.

Saturday's race was started by Jason Workman in the 213 and Chris Paiz in the 214. Both drivers started the race with great pace and more often than not in the first hour both cars were in the top 3 and even leading at some points in the first hour.

At the 90 minute mark both cars pitted, the team opted to have Jason Workman double while Will Tally got behind the wheel of the 214. Workman and Tally both showed great pace as the race went into the third hour. Unfortunately Tally would be caught up in a racing incident and the team would have to effect repairs in the pit lane putting the car a few laps down. Despite the damage, Tally returned to action and was putting in solid laps.

At the end of the third hour, Workman would pit and turn over the 213 to Scott Turner in great track position. Tally would turn over the 214 to Jeremy Mizer.  Scott Turner would keep the car on the lead lap and in the top 10 during his stint while managing traffic and saving fuel to help put the team into a window to do one less pit stop. Mizer would make up a lap putting the 214 back to within 3 laps of the leader.

Just after the halfway point, Scott Turner relinquished the driving duties of the 213 to Erick Melton while Mizer would turn the 214 over to Assen Rachev. Rachev continued the charge forward for the 214 and was marching his way through the field, with fast pit stops, solid traffic management and fast lap times the 214 was up to 8th in class after 6 hours. Erick Melton moved the 213 into the lead for much of his stint.

As the race wound down with about 1 hour and 50 minutes remaining the cars needed to hit pit road Chris Paiz would take the wheel of the charging 214 while Jason Workman would close out the day in the 213. With this last stop for the 213, the team was about 17 minutes short on fuel to get to the end.

Workman quickly took the lead as pit stops cycled around and began to open the gap to second place further and further. This was necessary for the team as a splash and go would be necessary and the 213 had to win in order for the team to win the championship. As Paiz continued his charge, a brake cooling issue attributed to the earlier incident would lead the 214 to give up the charge and retire with 45 minutes to go from a solid 7th position.

The 213 had a 2 minute lead as the team readied for the splash and go. However, a full course caution would come out. While initially the team thought this yellow would eliminate the gap, the overall leader had just passed second place in GP3. The team was able to come in and splash and still maintain the lead under yellow. The race would finish under yellow and with that Casey Carden Motorsports would win the GP3 National Championship in World Racing League as well as the United States Endurance Championship.

After a long night of prep work, Casey Carden Motorsports was ready to tackle Sundays WRL event at COTA. Scott Turner would start the 213 and Assen Rachev would start the 214. Scott and Assen put in solid first stints. Assen would lead at times and lay down some solid laps. Scott would run a fast pace while saving fuel as the team was taking a split strategy approach.  While running in a multi way battle for the lead, Assen was hit in the left front  by a GP2 Lexus.

At the 90 minute mark the cars would come to pit lane, Erick Melton would jump in the 213 and Jeremy Mizer would take the wheel of the 214. Mizer would keep the 214 up at the sharp end of the field, while Erick Melton settled into a rhythm and began turning his fastest laps of the weekend. As the stint progressed both cars were some of the fastest GP3 cars on track. Unfortunately the racing gods were still not on the side of the 214. Mizer suffered a brake failure with the caliper bolts breaking in the left front. Unfortunately Mizer did everything he could do to prevent a major crash but still hit the wall. This resulted in another early retirement for the 214.

Wtih 3 hours of the race complete Jason Workman was set to take the reigns of the 213. As the race was marred with caution periods, fuel mileage began to help us in a lot of ways but one untimely yellow left us off of the lead lap do to position of the overall leader relative to our class leader. Workman was able to race his way into the top 3 and held that position through his first stint.

Workman spent about 2.5 hours in the car with a few splash and go pit stops during yellow but with about 3 hours to go it was time to turn the wheel over to Erick Melton who would double stint to close. Melton once again was turning his fastest laps of the weekend and closing the gap to the leader but with nearly a 3 minute lap it was an unrealistic challenge to catch the leader which was another Mazda run by a Pirelli World Challenge team. At the end the checkered flag flew and it was a second place finish for the 213 car.

Casey Carden Motorsports had a record year in competition across four series. The team amassed 23 wins and 33 podiums in 45 race starts. The team logged over 12,000 race miles during 14 different race weekends.

The team would like to thank the drivers, the crew led by Charles Carden and our sponsors Federal Tires and GLOC Brakes.

- Casey Carden, also photos


09.12.2018 / MaP

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