Ignoring the Deluge, 67 Teams Join Chump Car Sebring

Team Jacky Ickx’s Gulf-liveried Mitsubishi was a dominant force at Sebring.

Though Irma’s rampage left much of Florida in shambles, Chump Car’s dedicated drivers braved the weather to compete in 2017’s Sebring 14-Hour. Fortunately, their gamble paid off; the storms subsided by the time they hit the track, and only mild wind damage had affected the facilities. This allowed a full field of 67 to compete and enjoy some momentary relief from Mother Nature’s wrath.

The greyish-blue clouds hung ominously over the iconic racetrack, and at the drop of the flag, the Green Gage Camaro blitzed ahead to make it clear they were serious. Unfortunately, it was the KSR/Flat Out Racing SC300 which would nip away at their heels ’til they yielded, along with ChumpTech’s Mercedes 190E and the Cone Crushers Porsche 944. There was a varied field battling under leaden skies.

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With the help of Randy Pobst at the wheel at a series of flawless stops, KSR’s SC300 shot to the front, with the Cone Crushes Porsche 944 trailing neatly behind. The two leaders shot ahead of the Green Gage Camaro by two laps, which had its run interrupted when the GCS Motorsports BMW 325i spun in a blind corner, leaving the Camaro with nowhere to go. The crunch could be heard from halfway around the 3.74-mile track.

The front runners were later joined by ChumpTech Mercedes-Benz, which would eventually challenge KSR’s Randy Pobst and the two put on a wild demonstration of car control for the viewers—showing that there’s always a good dice to be had in Chump Car. This group continued ahead and left the other contenders trailing in their wake, with the run becoming a little processional up front.

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To break up any monotony, the E Racing BMW 325i stopped at Big Bend and burst into flames. A faulty fuel line was the culprit, and though the driver emerged just a little warmer than he wanted, the car was unsurprisingly retired for the rest of the day.

The E Racing 325i with its scorched exterior. Photo credit: E Racing

Even pit stops for most of the teams under a full-course yellow wasn’t enough to put the leaders’ positions in question. As the sun set on Sebring, the front runners were still comfortably leading away—the KSR/Flat Out Racing SC300 enjoying a commanding lead.

It was that team, helped along by the measured style of Randy Pobst, that eventually crossed the finish line 14 hours after, with the Cone Crushers 944 following, the Team Jacky Ickx 3000GT in third, the Nine Four Motorsports Lexus next, and the Team Infiniti J30 rounding out the top five. It was a surprisingly drama-free race considering the torrential downpour many expected, but even in the deluge that rattled the tip of America’s southeast, the enthusiasm for Chump Car brought a sizable field to compete, drive sideways, and forget about some of life’s harsher realities.

The KSR/Flat Out Racing lineup, with the venerable Randy Pobst third from the left. Photo credit: Bill Strong

For the full results of the 2017 Sebring 14 Hour, you can find them here.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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