A family-and-friends driving team that loosely calls Isle of Palms home went from Chumps one day to … really fast Chumps the next.
The Double Ohhh — yes, there are three h’s in 0 — Seven Mazda RX7 team took part in the yearly “14 Hours of Daytona ChumpCar” race May 26 in Florida.
Considered a highlight of the slightly offbeat ChumpCar series, the race is modeled on the 24 Hours of Daytona Rolex event for sports cars but instead is populated by “beaters” that the teams can’t fix up much, other than for safety reasons.
The Double Ohhh Seven team agreed they were hoping to improve on last year’s finish, “a dismal 57th position,” Charlie Jones of the Isle of Palms said.
Things didn’t look good leading up to the race. Explained Jones, “The week before, we had taken the car to Carolina Motorsport Park near Camden and found out that 5th gear was not working properly. The transmission needed a syncro (gear-shifting apparatus) replaced just a few days before our trip to Daytona.”
Then came race day. According to the team, the ChumpCar event takes place on the 3.5-mile 24 Hours of Daytona course, which includes the high banks of the Daytona Speedway.
Double Ohhh Seven started in position No. 113 out of 123 vehicles, “so we had plenty of cars to pass,” Jones said.
The team is comprised of five drivers: Jones; son Greg Jones of Greenville; son Chris Jones of Jacksonville, Fla.; Zac Martin of North Charleston; and Barry Hastings, also of Jacksonville. Each driver would take eight stints behind the wheel.
“The maximum driving time for a driver stint was two hours, and our car would run about 1 hour and 45 minutes on a tank of gas. The car holds 15 gallons,” Jones said.
When the smoke — not to mention fumes and exhaust — cleared, Double Ohhh Seven had covered 286 laps for a total of 1,001 miles. “The car ran flawlessly for the race that went from 8 a.m to 10 p.m., making for a very long day,” Jones says.
And a successful one. The team trailed just six cars at the finish.
“In the end we felt like we had improved substantially by finishing in 7th position,” Jones said. “Our times had improved over three seconds a lap, top speed 143 on the front straight,” he said.
“But the best thing about this race,” Jones said, “was that we had a blast.” And at least for a year, team members can brag they’re the 7th fastest chumps on four wheels.
•Z inflatable expansion out West•
Although based in Summerville on the East Coast, Z Marine North America — as its name implies — sells inflatable boats all over the U.S. and Canada.
Just last month, for instance, the company disclosed a major move involving its California-based dealer Inflatable Boat Specialists. The retailer was relocating to a new larger building, capable of handling more inventory due to increased demand in the West Coast market, according to Z Marine, formerly Zodiac Recreational of North America.
“IBS has been a very successful dealer for us for years, and this new location only enhances our presence in this market,” said Gary Durnan, Z Marine vice president of sales.
The new location is a 15,000-square-foot facility in Ventura, Calif. Opened June 1, the dealership includes inventory of current Z Marine Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) such as the Pro 750 and 850, Pro Open 650, Rec Pro 650, Bayrunner 420, Cadet 310 and Zooms.
Z Marine, which considers itself the world’s oldest and most recognized manufacturer of recreational inflatable boats, RIBs, life rafts and safety equipment, became a subsidiary of global private investment firm OpenGate in the past year.
For more information visit www.zodiacmarineusa.com.