Robert Davis Racing Kicks Off 2018 Racing Season

CONTACT:       Robert Davis, 949-727-6406




SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif., March 13, 2018 – The kickoff of the 2018 National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Southern California Region racing season saw Robert Davis Racing (RDR) come out in force at the famed and fast Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, Calif.  Running eight cars in three different classes meant a busy weekend, and, although success across the team varied from not finishing the Friday night three-hour enduro in the team’s Mazda RX-8 to two consecutive podium finishes for one of the team’s Spec Miata drivers, RDR proved that it’s still a team to be watched for strong finishes and a great team attitude.  Changeable weather all weekend kept the team on its toes, as the question of whether – or when – to go to rain-specific tires was on everyone’s mind.

Starting the weekend off on Friday night was a three-hour endurance race.  After a record-setting run to second place in class at the 2017 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the team’s endurance-spec Mazda RX-8 – nicknamed “Snowflake” – took to the track for the 5:30pm start.  As the race settled into a rhythm, team principal Robert Davis kept the car out front of the five-car E2 field.  After two successful fuel stops, and barely half way through the race, Davis pitted with a worrying vibration in the right front corner.  A quick check by the crew revealed a failed wheel hub, a real disappointment as the race was running to plan.  Unfortunately, with no spare part on-hand, the car had to be retired.  Davis was credited with fifth place in class, but no one on RDR was satisfied with that.

With five cars in the ultra-competitive, kill-or-be-killed, Spec Miata class, RDR’s Mazda Miatas showed up at Willow Springs ready for a fight.  Leading the charge for the team all weekend was Jeremy Barnes.  Barnes qualified on the pole for Saturday’s race and led early, eventually finishing second to one of the Mazda Teen Challenge drivers.  Jim Holloway, in his first Spec Miata competition, came home eighth; Ken Saward came home ninth; Lee Papageorge, in a borrowed car as his is awaiting a new engine, came home 10th; and Mark Stenzel, in his first race in nearly three years, was 11th.  There were 13 starters for Saturday’s race.

Sunday’s Spec Miata race saw 15 cars come to the grid.  It had rained all night, and with the two earlier sessions that day run in mixed wet-dry conditions, no one knew what the race would bring for grip levels.  After running out of fuel in the morning’s qualifying race, Barnes started from the very back of the grid.  A strong start saw him move forwards quickly, assuming fifth position before a full-course yellow came out as tow crews retrieved a car from the Turn 2 area.  When the race went back to green, the gloves were off up-front, and Barnes eventually finished the race in third.  With two of the Teen Challenge drivers ahead of him, Barnes is more than twice as old as the combined age of the first- and second-place finishers.  There was a change of order of the remaining RDR drivers, as Ken Saward came home in ninth; Lee Papageorge in 12th; Jim Holloway in 14th; and Mark Stenzel rounding out the 15-car field in 15th place.  There are no gifts in Spec Miata competition, as the nearly identical cars place a crucial emphasis on balancing consistency and aggression to be competitive.

Charlie Jimenez and Nathan Edmonds represented RDR in the highly popular High-Performance Driver Education (HPDE) classes, with Jimenez running his Mazda Miata and Edmonds in a Mazda RX-8 without issue all weekend.  Jimenez is ready to move to the next-fastest HPDE group as his experience grows, and Edmonds spent as much time instructing other drivers as he did working to improve lap times.


DRIVER                             CLASS          CAR                        FRI       SAT              SUN

Robert Davis                      E2                 Mazda RX-8             5th      

Jeremy Barnes                   SM                Mazda Miata                       2nd                 3rd

Jim Holloway                      SM                Mazda Miata                       8th                 14th

Lee Papageorge                SM                Mazda Miata                        10th                12th

Ken Saward                       SM                Mazda Miata                       9th                 9th

Mark Stenzel                      SM                Mazda Miata                       11th                15th

Nathan Edmonds               HPDE            Mazda RX-8

Charlie Jimenez                 HPDE            Mazda Miata


About RDR:  RDR has been a dominant force on the west coast in club and historic racing, winning multiple regional, divisional and national titles.  For 2018, RDR will concentrate on endurance races in its Mazda RX-8 in the E2 class, Historic Racing in the Teams RX-3 and Spec Miata’s and Spec Miata NASA competition.

RDR appreciates the support of Mother’s Polishes Waxes Cleaners, SAFERACER, Hoosier Racing Tires, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, Racing Hart, Nippon Paint, Racing Beat, Speed Source, Hawk Brakes, Racing Beat, AWR, Classy Car Auto Detailing, Sparco, Pure Power Lubricants, Motul, Armor Shield and EMI.