For a couple of laps during the last race at VIR, Road Shagger Racing sat atop the real-time Championship standings. Back on pit lane they were also on top of the world, as Morley looked to be cruising to their first professional win following Ernstone’s stellar opening stint. We all know how that ended…
Fast-forward just two days and RSR found themselves with a badly damaged race car, a 17-point deficit to the Championship leader and no team to run the car. That’s because eEuroparts, who had prepped the car all season, had folded with zero notice.
RSR was in full crisis mode. They had only 16 days to get the car repaired, prepped and moved all the way from Connecticut to California. Thankfully, like any business with Ernstone at the helm, shit got done. Decisions were made quickly and acted on just as fast.
The team of mechanics who took such great care of the #61 car all season now work for Road Shagger Racing. Deb and Danny will keep everything well oiled under the tent; while Mike, Dallas and Kevin will insure the record setting pit stops continue.
The team also got their engineer Erik Petersen on board to make sure the setup is just as good as it has been all season.
Ben Kerrigan will remain on the pit box conducting the orchestra in perfect time with spotter Trevor McClure as the team continues its unexpected run at the championship during its rookie professional campaign.
Laguna Seca is one of only two tracks on the IMPC calendar that Ernstone had ever seen before this season. While he has enjoyed learning the new tracks and has made incredible progress this season, Laguna was always starred on his calendar as the race he was most looking forward to. He enters the weekend full of confidence after putting in his two strongest performances of the season at Road America and VIR.
Morley on the other hand has mixed emotions about the track. In 2001 at the start of his professional career, he lost a very important Rookie of The Year Championship at Laguna in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. The title would have come with $185k prize to fund another season in that series. Second place paid nothing.
He led the Championship coming into the round, but his closest competitor pulled a “Zanardi” (something Morley will now begrudgingly acknowledge as a hell of a move) on him in the corkscrew and then drove away from him, onto the podium and the ROTY Championship. Without the award, Morley was unable to race full time the next season. In fact, he never raced another full professional season until this year with Road Shagger Racing.
When Morley moved to San Francisco in 2005, Laguna Seca would once again play a large role in his life. His relationship with Skip Barber Racing School led to an instructing job at the track and he headed down for his first day shortly after arriving in California.
His first visit back to the site of his defeat produced a visceral reaction in his gut and he knew it would take some time to learn to enjoy the track. Thankfully, a great team of co-workers made the years at Laguna some of the best of his life and his outlook on the track completely changed.
One other pivotal moment at Laguna came circa 2006, during a SBRS 2-day advanced school when Morley was tasked with giving a lead-follow to a quick British student. The Brit enjoyed Morley’s style of feedback and soon-after the dynamic duo of Ernstone & Morley started winning endurance sports car races up and down the west coast! So Laguna isn’t all bad for Morley…
That being said, he’s still seeking redemption for 2001 and would like nothing more than to make a key pass in the corkscrew and drive away from the competition to grab RSR’s first professional victory!