Making tracks north of border

Sometimes success happens at the most unexpected times. A team driving for Charleston-based Autometrics found that out this past weekend in Canada.

Autometrics Motorsports pair Adam Isman and Remo Ruscitti charged from last place at the start to win the International Motor Sports Association race July 12 in Bowmanville, Ontario - part of the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge ST Championship series.

According to the West Ashley tuning and performance shop, the drivers had forfeited "a second place qualifying time to start on fresh tires."

The win in the 25 car field not only involved passing everybody at some point in the race but was their first win and Porsche's initial victory in the "fiercely competitive" championship series. Of course, a little home field advantage didn't hurt: Isman and Ruscitti are both from Canada.

Edward Lenehan of Autometrics described the victory on the company website.

"Isman turned in commanding drives in both qualifying and the race," he said. However, in pushing for a faster time, he backed the Porsche Cayman into a tire barrier. "The car was largely unhurt, but the Continental tires were flat spotted and changing them for the race meant starting from the back," according to Lenehan.

The Autometrics Motorsports team took the chance, and "Isman drove cleanly and aggressively in the first half of the race." By the midpoint of the race, he had climbed to 12th place in the No. 04 Autometrics Motorsports /DE Labs/Porsche Cayman.

The team made a pit stop at the middle of the race and changed drivers. Ruscitti took over "after fast work from the Racer's Edge crew (partnering with Autometrics Motorsports for the Canadian weekend)," Lenehan said.

Ruscitti passed two more cars as "the race quickly became one of not just outright speed, but of conserving tires and fuel." In time, the driver had "craftily" raced his way into second place.

A yellow flag slowed the pace but as the race returned to green, Ruscitti attempted to pass for the lead. He bumped the leader and fell to third. Not long after, he recaptured second and then cleanly passed the leader to gain top spot for good. From there, Ruscitti turned in "consistently quick laps and ran to the checkered flag," according to Lenehan.

The team's chief was pleased with the performance.

"I'm really proud of these young drivers and, in fact, our whole team," said Gordon Friedman, Autometrics Motorsports team principal.

"We've been so close several times this season only to have a little string of bad luck. But it never affected Isman, Ruscitti or the crew. We may not have any control over bad luck, but we do have control over how we respond to it," Friedman said. "As a team owner I couldn't be any prouder of our people and their work ethic," he said. "This win is theirs."

According to Lenehan, the Bowmanville race will have a tape delay broadcast 10 a.m. Sunday on Fox Sports 1.

The Autometrics Motorsports team will next be on the track at the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race Thursday and Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Autometrics Motorsports has been building and campaigning Porsches at the highest levels of competition for more than 30 years and provides these services for customers across the U.S., its website says.

For more, visit www.autometricsmotorsports.com.

Yugos wanted

The Yugo stopped being sold in the U.S. in 1992 after an eight-year run and was on Time Magazine's list of the 50 worst cars of all time.

Yet the modest compact from the former Yugoslavia reportedly still has a small following nationwide, primarily among buffs who like odd cars and among mechanics who don't mind keeping the vehicles in working order. There's even an online Yugo Club based out of Kenosha, Wisc., with 523 members.

We are looking for Yugo owners in the Charleston area, having heard anecdotally that there are at least a few out there. Anyone with a Yugo now or at some point in their lives can send a photo and brief description on the car, how it was located, the attraction to the brand, etc., to The Post and Courier, 134 Columbus St., Charleston SC 29403-4800 or e-mail jparker@postandcourier.com. We may include the photos and information in a future story.