Double Points Finish for Schmied to Start 2022

March 16th 2022 – Birmingham, AL.

Kenny Schmied and the Will-to-Win Racing #983 Porsche Cayman began a new season of WRL competition last weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Fighting hard from a grid spot near the back on both days, Schmied and co-drivers Chris Paiz and Kenton King charged through the field, netting a P8 finish on Saturday, and a P9 finish on Sunday. “It’s great to bring home some points for both of these races, and given that it was our first race in the new Porsche Cayman, I’m proud of it and I think there are even better finishes to come.” said Schmied.

During the offseason, the team replaced the old #983 chassis ‘Bart’ with this new 1,000-mile example nicknamed ‘The Wasp’. The team had planned to develop the car in the aero department before Barber, but shipping delays meant the car was nearly in stock-form for the weekend. “It’s always a challenge when you start with a new car and begin developing it. Bart was a 2x championship car and had been developed over several years into the race-winning machine it was. We’ve got some big plans for The Wasp, but with covid related supply shortages and shipping delays, unfortunately we weren’t able to begin that process before Barber. These things take time, so I’m excited to see what the car is like as the season progresses.” Schmied said. 

MB8_6808Schmied and Kenton King had never been to Barber before, so Friday was spent bringing the two up to speed at the twisty circuit. Somewhat hampered by a glitching MOTEC and VBOX system, the team were on their back foot throughout the earlier sessions in the day with respect to data analysis. The team worked hard to correct the issues, and by the afternoon the MOTEC system was working well, allowing Schmied and King to review their lap data and set about the business of going faster. Using Chris Paiz and coach Bryan Leonard’s laps as a baseline, Schmied and King were quickly finding pace, but ultimately the team would qualify near the rear of the field for Saturday’s 9-hour race.

Chris Paiz took the reigns for the start on Saturday, quickly moving up the ranks and setting the team up for a long afternoon grind of picking cars off one by one. Successfully navigating the first two stints, Paiz brought the #983 up to P10 before handing the reigns to Schmied. Schmied got in the car second for a 2.5 hour double-stint, which was cut a few laps short due to some nausea. “I’ve only experienced nausea in a race car in two places – Laguna Seca, and here at Barber. The elevation change itself is fine, but near the end of my double-stint as I was cresting turn 4 and turn 13, I started to feel unwell. I let the team know early that I was struggling so that Kenton King could be ready to go if I needed a quick pit stop. Thankfully I was able to keep it together and drive most of my stint, but when I found myself making mistakes and concentrating too much on the nausea near the end, it was the right time to get out of the car.” Schmied said. Schmied ultimately pulled in for the driver change about 5 laps ahead of schedule and had managed to bring the #983 from P10 to P8 during his stints.

Schmied handed the reigns over to Kenton King who drove a double-stint maintaining the car’s position. With the race half over at this point, most cars ahead were laps ahead, and most cars behind were a lap or two behind. “We’ve got a solid position here in P8. I wish we could move up the field a little more, but it gets more and more difficult to climb the ladder as the race goes on. We spent a lot of time earlier in the race passing cars, but that also has the effect of separating you from the front runners while you navigate that charge.” said Schmied. After a solid double stint by King, Paiz got back in to bring home the checkered flag in 8th place. “I’m not sure anything better than P8 was on the table for today given where we started, so we maximized our potential and I can be happy about the finish.” Schmied said.

Feeling better, Schmied took the reigns on Sunday morning for an extended three-hour session in the car starting from P24. The race schedule at Barber calls for  a ‘quiet hour’ between the hours of 11AM and Noon on Sundays. With the green flag falling at 8AM, keeping Schmied in the car for the first three hours would minimize the time lost to driver changes before the field is gathered back up for the quiet hour. “It’s going to be my longest continuous session in the car, so I’m equally excited but also a little nervous after that nausea yesterday.” said Schmied.


Passing three cars on the first lap, Schmied quickly settled in and began his charge through the field. At Barber, they don’t do ‘hot pulls’ under local yellow, so every time a car needed to be recovered on the track, the course will throw a ‘Code 35’ flag, and the field must slow down to 35 mph until the safety vehicles are clear of the track. “The Code 35’s were well-spaced this morning, giving me a few chances to catch my breath, take a sip of water, cool off my hands. I think three hours straight at Barber would have been a little tough, but with a few of those breaks thrown in, I felt a lot better this morning than I did yesterday afternoon.” Schmied said. Schmied would finish his three hour session having brought the car from P24 to P13.

Kenton King was in the car next for the restart after the quiet hour. “This is the only time this weekend where the gaps in the field will be reset, so the Sunday restart is a critical part of the race.” said Schmied. Wheeling the car well, King charged at the restart, bringing the car up to P10 before handing the reigns over to Chris Paiz for the final double-stint of the day. Paiz continued to gain positions over his double-stint, and the #983 would ultimately finish the 7-hour race in P9. After the weekend results, the #983 currently sits 16th in the GTO National Championship.

“I think we had the pace today for a slightly better finish, but with only 7 hours on the clock vs the 9 hours we had to work with yesterday, it’s not really surprising that we couldn’t move up to 8th today. An hour or two more on the track and we would have had it for sure, maybe even a P7. The car felt great, the track was fast all day, and us drivers had found great pace, but I think given the shorter format of Sunday’s race, the P9 is still a great finish. It’s definitely nice to have two points finishes during the cars first weekend on the track.” said Schmied.

Schmied heads next to Road America in early May for his second of seven events for the 2022 season. “Last year was my first time at Road America, and I really enjoyed the track and the time I spent in Wisconsin. We had two very good results there last year, so I’m looking forward to racing there again this year. Hopefully we can have a similar finish to last year and really start raking in the points.” said Schmied.

Photos from the event can be found below or at the photo gallery page here.