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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jackson-Dawson and Scion Take a First and Second at NASA Season Opener With Debut of Reworked Scion tC Racecar at Willow Springs

Team Also Racks Up Two Firsts in Time Trial Competition in TTC Class

TORRANCE, Calif. — With a new racecar come new challenges, but testing and tuning seemed to pay off for Jackson-Dawson and Scion this past weekend, when the team debuted their all-new Performance Touring C (PTC) racecar. The team took the win on Sunday against good competition from Mazda-backed RX-8s. On Saturday, the team took second, and in Time Trial C (TTC), the team secured wins on both days. The first and second place finishes in PTC mean that the team has accrued 190 points and starts out the season tied for first in the series standings.

The car is a totally new animal, going from a somewhat mild naturally-aspirated tC to a TRD supercharged and intercooled boost-swallowing monster. The forced induction ups the power, but brings challenges along the way, as the entire car gets stressed more.

"It’s never easy fielding a new car, or one that’s radically altered, but we put in a tremendous amount of work in the off-season," said driver and team manager, Dan Gardner. "Ideally you want to go out there and win every race, but that’s unrealistic. There’s going to be some serious competition this year, but it’s going to bring out the best in us."

Up until the day before competition Gardner was unsure if he’d be able to drive. An injured ligament in his right thumb was still on the mend, but athletic tape and Ibuprofen proved enough to allow Gardner to get the job done.

Injury wouldn’t be the only hurdle the team would have to overcome. During a TT session on Saturday, Gardner partially dropped a wheel on the inside of turn 8 at close to 130 mph. The car got loose, pitched sideways, and then flew off the track with enough momentum to find a wall. Gardner would come away unscathed, but he was unsure the extent of the damage to the tC.

He limped the car into the pits and put the tC in the garage. The right front fender had been crushed, the door dented, and the side mirror torn off. The car was in need of an alignment, and a couple remounts of wheels and tires. Fortunately that appeared to be the extent of the damage.

Co-crew chief, Brad Allen got to work, and did a thorough inspection to check for broken or bent suspension bits. The team pounded and pried out the fender, finished the remaining work, and had the car ready to go in an hour.

“It was a huge off,” said Allen. “We got lucky that there wasn’t more damage, but this is just a part of racing. Dan was ok, and the car would be ready in time to race. That’s about all you can hope for.”

On Saturday, Gardner qualified second and held the position to finish second. The event had a huge amount of cars in the small-bore run group that included BMWs, Hondas, Mazdas, and others. It was good experience managing tremendous amounts of traffic as the tC proved fast enough to catch dozens of cars before the race was done.

Sunday began with an inverted grid qualifying race based on finishing position from Saturday. Gardner stepped it up a notch and took the win in the race, running a best lap of 1:34.5. His finishing position would place him on the pole in the final race in PTC. He would also be third on grid overall, with an out-of-class BMW M3 and Mazda RX-8 in the front.

Gardner patiently waited in the second row, and then got a fantastic jump on the green, which rocketing the car to the front of the pack along the inside of turn 1. He passed the RX-8, but two BMWs would pull ahead going into turn 2. The Mazdas appeared to be working together as Gardner feverishly tried to fend them off. He would hold them both off for half the race, before the out-of-class car would get the best of him, driving around the Scion in turn 9.

The JD team almost took the position back again, but a couple key moments in traffic wouldn’t allow it to be so. Still, Gardner was fighting off the PTC RX-8, trying to slice through traffic, and put cars in between. About two-thirds through the race, Gardner would successfully build up a cushion, as the RX-8 didn’t get through traffic quickly enough. In the end, Gardner would finish three seconds ahead of the in-class RX-8 to take the win home for Scion.

The next NASA race is at California Speedway on March 21 and 22, and the team will continue development on the car in the time leading up to race day.

The JD Scion tC team uses

• Scion-supplied OE parts

• TRD-supplied supercharger and intercooler, front big brake kit, and limited-slip diff.

• Nitto 235/45R17 NT-01 tires

• Enkei RPF1 17x8 wheels

• Dezod-supplied AEM standalone engine management, plug and play harness, injectors, fuel pump, end links, and stainless clutch line

• Church Automotive Testing dyno tuning

• Moton Suspension coilover shocks

• Vogtland springs

• Progress Technology rear swaybar

• Motul brake fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, and super coolant

• Racepak IQ3 logger dash

• AEM sensors

• Kaminari carbon fiber roof

• Royalty Auto Body body work

• America’s Tire Co. tire mounting and balancing

• Recaro Pole Position Seats

• Centerforce clutch and low inertia steel flywheel

• AIT carbon fiber hood

• Wild Pony Motorsports-supplied camber/caster plates

• Goodridge stainless brake lines and oil cooler fittings and lines

• Carbotech XP10 and XP8 brake pads

• G-Force 5-point harnesses, racing suit, gloves, and helmet

• DC Sports Header

• Energy Suspension bushings and motor mounts

• HoseTechniques silicone hoses

• M-Workz alignment and corner balancing

• turn3 clothing

• NST shifter bushings

Jackson-Dawson Communications (JD) is a 25-year-old privately held company that provides creative and strategic services to a range of national clients. Core competencies include retail training, event marketing, marketing services, business theater, video and media production services, meeting planning, print graphic and design services, staging service and vehicle management.

With corporate offices in Detroit, MI, Jackson-Dawson also maintains offices in Torrance and Irvine, CA, Manhattan, NY, and Spring Hill, TN. Jackson-Dawson owns and operates several divisions: Peloton Creative Group, BenMar Communications, Drivers Talk Radio and Drivers Talk Testing.

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