Productive Weekend for Schmied at Road Atlanta

July 11th 2022 – Braselton, GA.

Kenny Schmied and the Will-to-Win Racing #983 Porsche Cayman brought home a double points finish at the WRL races at Road Atlanta to continue their championship charge in 2022. Starting in the rain after a weather delay on Saturday, Schmied wheeled the #983 into good position, and a solid drive by Kenton King in the afternoon stints brought the car home in 5th place for a decent points haul. Sunday was a bit trickier for the team as they struggled to make the same progress and carry the same pace as Saturday, and Kenny’s afternoon stint was cut short due to another weather delay ending the 7-hour race an hour early. The team managed to bring the #983 across the finish line in 9th position to round the weekend.

Schmied was excited to head back to Braselton GA to the track he fell in love with in 2020. “Road Atlanta won my heart a few years ago, and every time I come here I love it more and more. The turns, the elevation change… it’s such a fun challenge and a real romp through the Georgia hillside.” Schmied said. In 2020 and 2021 Schmied had solid results in Braselton, so he was looking forward to more points this weekend. Schmied would be sharing the #983 with Mark Martin and Kenton King.

MB8_6808Qualifying on Friday didn’t quite go as planned with the team qualifying P24, but lately at the WRL races, qualifying has gotten much more competitive. “A lot of the teams are putting their pros in and using tires designed for single lap pace vs. longevity on Fridays now. That didn’t used to be the case in WRL, and we don’t run our pros to qualify our cars or run a different compound of tires on Fridays. So we as a team have to be confident in our long-run pace.  If we don’t crush it and get a lap in the top 10 in qualifying, that’s fine and our race pace and average lap times will move us up the rankings rather quickly once the racing gets started.” Schmied would start the race for the team on Saturday after setting the car’s quickest time on Friday.

With lightning and a heavy downpour arriving early on Saturday morning, a two-hour weather hold delayed the start of the days running. Schmied – who has only ever driven on a drying or spitting track – was excited for the opportunity to drive in the wet. “It’s got to happen sometime, so I’m just going to get out there and do my best and keep the car under me.” Schmied said. Due to the rain, race control deemed the start would be a single-file start rather than the usual double-file procedure. After several pace laps, the field bunched up for the start.

Taking the green flag, it took Schmied a lap to get the Hankook RS4 tires up to temperature, but Schmied quickly displayed speed in the wet and in the first ten laps made up 6 spots against his competitors before racing was briefly halted due to a full-course yellow. Upon resuming the race, Schmied continued the charge making up more spots until he was given one of the biggest tests in his motorsports career to date. Now on a drying track and coming down turn 12 at full racing pace, an incident just ahead of Schmied had resulted in another car blocking the exit of the turn. Schmied had to quickly navigate the #983 into the grass in order to avoid hitting the other driver [External Link: Video Here]. While Schmied avoided heavy damage on the car, a hit to the left side wall exit of 12 tore up the rear bumper cover and filled the front grille with grass. Unfortunately shortly after Schmied made it through, another car behind got into the car that was stopped across the track and a red-flag stopped all running until the incident could be cleaned up.


Shortly after the red flag ended, the field was black flagged and so the cars lined up in the pit lane in preparation for the race to resume. Still having grass in the grill and needing to make some temporary repairs to the rear bumper, the team petitioned WRL to allow the car to pull into its pit box so that the grass could be removed from the grille of the car. WRL allowed the team to perform this procedure, but said the #983 would need to rejoin the race at the end of the queue. The team – feeling like this was a fair compromise – elected to accept the offering. Schmied pulled the #983 into the pit box, and a few zip ties and a cleaning of the grill later, Schmied rejoined at the end of the safety car queue ready to resume the race. [Photo at Right: WRL official holds #983 in the pit box until the field vacates the pit lane.]

Upon resumption of the race, Schmied would continue to charge hard and would be in the car for over three hours total before handing over to Kenton King to bring the car home. Kenton would continue the charge and keep the #983 clean from contact and penalties, and the team would finish the race in P5. “I’m so glad I got the chance to start the race in the rain.” Schmied said. “I was pretty trepid about it this morning, but I had an absolute blast in the rain. It seemed like I was the only one really taking the wet line, and it was helping me massively in the beginning of the race. I can’t wait to drive in the wet again!”.

With Sunday’s race only being 7-hours long, Mark Martin and Cameron Lawrence wheeled the #983 into a good position before the two-hours of quiet time between 10am and 12pm. Resuming the race with Kenton King behind the wheel, the #983 would continue to move up the ranks on Sunday before Kenton would hand the car over to Schmied for the final two stints of the race. Struggling for speed in a car that was a bit off pace, Schmied fought hard to maintain the car’s position. Sadly Schmied would lose several places during his stint, and unfortunately Schmied wouldn’t have the chance to make those places back. “I was pushing hard trying to make back some of the ground I had lost, when lightning near the circuit caused a red-flag with about an hour to go. Unfortunately the race wouldn’t resume. I was hoping we could grab a few more spots back, but I just didn’t have the time I needed to get it done.” Schmied and the #983 would end Sunday’s running in P9.

“Saturday was better than Sunday, but we got points for both races and I can be really proud of my performance in the rain on Saturday morning. It was a blast to explore the limit of grip and fly past other drivers who weren’t trying to find the pace as aggressively. Sunday was a bit more challenging, as the car felt a bit off-pace in the afternoon sessions. Not sure what was happening, but I was 8mph off my top speed on the back straight. I wish we could have done better than P9, but the red flag at the end of the day didn’t help our cause. All in all, it was a productive weekend and I learned a lot.” said Schmied.

Schmied heads next to his home race in Denver Colorado at High Plains Raceway in August. “We’ve had great results the last two years out at High Plains, so with our experience out there I expect us to be very competitive at that race, perhaps even fighting for the win. It’s always nice to race at home, and I’m looking forward to racing one of my favorite tracks”.

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