LEXINGTON, OHIO – It may seem a bit of a stretch to call an event in Ohio a home race for a team from Milwaukee, but it is a homecoming of sorts for JCR Motorsports in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class races at the Grand Prix of Mid-0hio, July 27-30.
That’s because long-time sponsor Kenda Tires is headquartered in Columbus and the team was a part of the Maria’s Message Safe Driving Days that took place on Wednesday (July 26). Both of these factors make Mid-Ohio feel like home for the team and its two drivers. Those drivers are Jeff Courtney in the #99 Kenda/RecStuff.com/JCR Motorsports Maserati GT4 and Fred Roberts in the #89 RPM Canada/Enercare Wolseley Canada Maserati GT4.
“It is like a second home here for us,” Courtney said. “We know a lot of people here and it’s a very welcoming environment. At the same time, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform well because it is in Kenda’s backyard. They are a long-time sponsor of our team and we want to perform well for them. We have a lot of appreciation for what they they do – and what they have done – for us.”
“Mid Ohio is our third weekend in this car so we need to continue to focus on braking confidence in the absence of ABS and defending hard for those first few laps as our tires come up to temperature,” Roberts said. “A long wheel base and tight turns aren’t always a good mix for us, but we will work hard with our engineering to see what we can do to get more good results.
“It should be a fun, hot weekend at ‘MO.’ “
That weekend started on Wednesday with Maria’s Message Safe Driving Days, which took place at Thirty-One Gifts in Columbus. This was an all-day driving session for teens to teach them key driving skills and to send them a message about distracted driving.
“Kenda Tires got us involved in Maria’s Message and we’re honored to be a part of it,” Courtney said. “We did a meet-and-greet, had our cars out there and gave a talk to the students. We like to support this event because I believe in it. Kenda Tires is very involved in the event and in the Columbus community, and it’s a great fit for us.”
“We have sponsored Jeff for many years in a few different series,” said Jimmy Yang, President Kenda Tires. “We are excited to have another opportunity to use Jeff’s position with the World Challenge to help elevate Maria’s Message. Maria’s Message is a great program for the community and we are honored to be a part of teaching young drivers life-long skills for the road. “
“To be able to have the students listen to a professional race car driver at Maria’s Message one day, and then see him race at Mid Ohio the next day, it’s a pretty unique experience that helps drive the message home,” said Kellie Rhodebeck, Automotive Marketing Kenda Tires. “I don’t think having the Maserati there hurts either!”
On the track, JCR Motorsports comes into Mid-Ohio on the heels of a podium finish for Courtney in one of the two races in the previous event at Road America and a class pole for Roberts. Courtney has also finished second twice this year, at both races in Virginia, as well as racing to a fifth-place finish in Canada. Mid Ohio, with its tricky turns and high-speed straights, provides opportunities for more success for JCR Motorsports.
Courtney’s World Challenge effort is propelled by Kenda Tires along with RecStuff.com, the authority in trailer parts, an online retailer that specializes in trailer tires and wheels along with other components for trailers.
The #89 car has support from RPM Canada; Enercare, one of Canada’s largest home and commercial services and energy solutions companies; and Wolseley Canada, the leading wholesale distributor to plumbing, HVAC/R, waterworks and industrial markets in the country.