The 2010 SCCA National Championship Runoffs capped off a quality E Production season for Sydney Davis in the #46/JAWS Racing/Mazda Miata.
The week started off with a practice day that was spent getting a feel for the car on the track. This was Sydney’s second trip to the Runoffs at Road America, but much of last year was spent underneath the car.
“Our goal this year was to get through the week without having to work on the car,” Sydney said. “The main thing I wanted was to keep the same motor the entire week. Last year was heartbreaking going through two motors in two days.”
This year, the same motor was used all week, and although it was down on power, Sydney made the most of what she had.
“She out qualified several cars who could just blow past her in a straight line,” Alex Davis, Team Principle and her father, said. “She understands the concept of keeping the momentum through the turns to maximize what horsepower.”
After three days of qualifying, Sydney found herself 21st out of 30. Not the spot she was hoping for, but still considered it a success.
“I was convinced I could qualify top 10,” she said, “but once I got on track, I understood what we were up against. I think I could have squeezed a second or two more out of myself, but you live and learn.”
The horsepower difference was very noticeable at the start, as three cars got past her on the front straightaway. By Turn 5, she had regained one spot, and took another back going through the Carousel.
“The car was hooked up from Turn 5 on,” Sydney said. “I could brake later than everyone, and just eat them up through the back section. Especially through the Carousel, Kink and into Canada Corner.”
When a full course caution came out for a wreck in the Kink, Sydney had her eyes on the final car that had passed her on the start. Coming to the start/finish line, she was ready to go, until the field slammed on the brakes.
“I had a great run going up the hill and knew I might actually have a chance to at least stay with the group,” Sydney said. “But everyone slammed on their brakes, and I lost all that momentum.”
With the hiccup, five cars passed Sydney before the start/finish line. But her never-give-up attitude kicked in and she passed three of the cars going into Turn 1. The next three laps, she worked on the two cars in front of her.
“I followed them for a lap, just to see what their line was,” Sydney said. “It was difficult because they had so much more horsepower in the straightaways. I had to be careful in the back section not to close on them in the wrong place. So I set up my passes, got around them, and checked out. They never even got close to me after that.”
When the dust settled, Sydney finished 13th.
“I was so proud of her,” Alex recalled. “She raced a helluva race with the car we gave her. She has definitely made great strides in her short career, and I can’t wait to see what she can do in the future.”
The team plans on making several major changes to the car over the winter in an effort to be more competitive.
“We are going fuel injection next season for sure,” Sydney said. “We are also talking shocks and maybe a few other things. It will come down to what we can afford, but we are moving in the right direction, regardless of how much or how little we spend.”
The team is taking a break for the winter and will return to racing in January.
“We are thinking about going to the Double National at Sebring,” Alex said. “I’ve always wanted to go to the track, and I know Sydney wants to drive it. We just have to see how the financials work out.”
Sydney finished the 2010 season 10th in E Production National Championship Points and 3rd in Southwest Division Divisional Championship Points.
For more information on Sydney and JAWS Racing, check out her blog at http://jawsxracing.wordpress.com/.