After coming off an exciting 2008 season, 2009 showed great promise and opportunity. Royal Purple graciously agreed to sponsor and build a relationship with Chris after he walked away victor of Speed Channel’s “Setup” Season 2 reality show representing their company.
Many decisions regarding Chris’ career direction needed to be considered and made in anticipation of collecting the “Setup” Season 2 prize money that he had won. The show aired in 2008, however, the deadline for payment came and went with unfortunately no payment received. While trying to show restraint and work with the show’s producer to collect the earned funds, it became clear that the producer had no plans of paying, and legal actions would need to be taken. This presented a definite distraction behind the scenes, but would not lower Chris’ morale and determination. Life must go on and a true show of Chris’ commitment to his racing career was to follow.
As the economy took a turn for the worse and people tightened their budgets, Chris took a chance on himself and his talent. He invested all his savings into purchasing a used Porsche Boxster and built it into a Grand-Am Continental Sportscar Challenge ST Class racecar. Most of the assembly was done on the west coast at Pierce Motorsports and was completed in three months time. Chris had learned a lot while driving for the Banner Racing Grand-Am Rolex GT team in 08′ and knew a great group of people who could work with him to form a strong young team. A test was next on the agenda to shake down the car and begin the long process of its development. The test at Willow Springs Raceway was a success and plans then turned to entering the car in its 1st race…Barber Motorsports Park.
Follow this link to read about the team’s full race weekend recap:
The event at VIR (only Chris’ third race in the Grand-Am Continental Series) put the skills of the entire crew to the test. Chris got behind the wheel in the first practice session and laid down a few quick laps before turning over the car to his new co-driver. The driver unfortunately lost control of the 986 Boxster and put it into an embankment in “The Esses”. Faced with seemingly insurmountable damage to continue the weekend, the crew worked diligently to make repairs and source needed parts. The team worked super late that night and by morning Chris had never been so proud of his teammates as they fixed the racecar with expertise and efficiency. Though the car was miraculously mended back to race-able conditions before the start of the race, the co-driver made the heart wrenching decision not to continue thus ending the squad’s 2009 race season.
As a fun reward after such a challenging experience, Chris and his crew members learned of an autocross event being put on by the VIR track and entered the Porsche deciding that each member would get the opportunity to drive the car. Chris signed up for a separate event called the Volkswagen Challenge and turned the top time of all competitors. The reward for his efforts was the winning of a special edition VW guitar, a small but encouraging win to boost the team’s confidence for the great things to come in the following 2010 race season.
A major thank you again goes out to Royal Purple Synthetic Lubricants for its involvement in the season. The creation of the race car was largely helped by the knowledge that their support and commitment would be firmly standing behind him to further his career.