August 25, 2014
Tulsa, OK – Sopwith Motorsports claimed a runner-up finish in the first of two events at the 1.8-mile Hallett Motor Racing Circuit on Sunday despite an ailing engine.
Team driver Stephen Cox qualified third in class the fifth overall in the weekend's first event. At the drop of the green flag, the Sopwith/Impact Racing/Boschett Timepieces Datsun 280z moved up three positions in the first two laps and was challenging Thomas Hawley's Mazda for the lead when the engine began to overheat in Tulsa's soaring 102-degree temperatures. The resulting power loss caused the Sopwith car to begin defending its second place position rather than attacking for the lead.
"In the final few miles I had coolant spraying up on my windshield and the temperature gauge was buried at 270 degrees," Cox said. "But it's pretty tough to pull in when you know you can win the race. The leader is right in front of me and we're gaining on him. How do you quit?"
During the break between the first and second race events, the team continued to work on the engine heating issue. "We tried everything to cool it down. We worked with the fan system, the thermostat, air flow… we even got desperate and took the hood off at one point. But it's always been a problem with this motor no matter what we've tried and I really think it's an internal engine issue."
Sopwith qualified on the outside of the front row for the second event and quickly took the lead both in class and overall, stretching the lead comfortably in the opening miles of the race. But again, engine temperatures soared in the Oklahoma heat. Cox maintained his lead as long as possible but was eventually forced to retire from the event.
The team returns to oval racing in the Boschett Timepieces/Acorn Cabinetry Chevrolet stock car on September 20th at Minnesota's Elko Speedway. The event will be televised by Time Warner SportsChannel 32, TUFF TV and Untamed Sports TV.