Wednesday
Apr182007

TEAM NEWS: COURTNEY GETS HARD CHARGER AWARD, BEST FINISH FOR WOODHOUSE PERFORMANCE AT LONG BEACH

Photo by John Thawley LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 15, 2007)- Woodhouse Performance took to the streets of Long Beach for Round two of SPEED World Challenge GT Series Competition Sunday, and brought home their first award of the season with driver Jeff Courtney in the No. 99 Kenda Tires/ProMPI Dodge Viper. Courtney was given the Sunoco Hard Charger Award as the driver who gained the most positions in the race. Courtney picked up 15 positions on his way to a 14th place finish.

"It feels really good to win the Sunoco Hard Charger Award," said Courtney after the race. "We had our learning curves here with this being a track that I had never been to before, but the crew was great at keeping me calm and confident all weekend long, and putting a strong car underneath me. I was able to get out there and drive the wheels off the thing and pass a lot of cars. It was great to be able to do it here at Long Beach since we had sponsors ProMPI and MPI Coin on hand for the race, so it worked out great that they were here to celebrate with us."

Courtney steadily and aggressively made his way through the field from his 29th place starting position, having moved up nine spots on the first lap of the race. By lap nine the Kenda Tires/ProMPI Dodge Viper had passed 12 more cars and on lap 23, Courtney found himself in the top-15. He made his final pass into the 14th position on lap 27 and crossed the finish line a lap later in the same position. He sits 11th in points after posting top-15 finishes in the first two races of the season.

Teammate Brian Smith qualified the No. 13 Kicker/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper in the 11th position with a time of 1:26.438, picking up over a second from his fastest lap time in final practice. An unfortunate start to the race caused Smith to fall back in the pack only to be caught behind several cars that had stopped when Lawson Aschenbach got spun in turn one. Some great driving by Smith and other World Challenge competitors kept a crash from occurring, but it came at the cost of time for Smith. Later in the race a flat tire from contact with slower cars in front of him would further the deficit to the leaders. It was not the weekend the Woodhouse Performance team was expecting. However, Smith and the team are confident they can overcome and gain ground in the next race at Miller Motorsports Park.

"It was definitely not the day we were expecting here at Long Beach," said Smith after the race. "Although I had never raced here before, I did a lot of studying of the track and felt comfortable that I would be able to finish well here. The start and ensuing issues after the start kept us from being able to accomplish that. We are disappointed, but have 100 percent confidence in the Woodhouse Performance team that we can overcome this and continue to be strong competitors in the points and compete for top-10s in the rest of the races this season. We're looking forward to Miller as the place to get back on the track we were on at Sebring."

Smith sits 17th in points after the event, and looks to Miller to regain the momentum he began at Sebring when he finished in the top-10.

SPEED Channel will air the race broadcast on Saturday, April 21 at 3pm.

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