(Richfield, WI) Fresh off of his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut, Josh Bilicki jumped back into the seat of his Trim-Tex Drywall Products / Rossini Racing Engines / Hoosier Racing Tires Spec Miata for the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mid Ohio.
The race week got off to a rough start when the rear sub-frame cracked in Monday's qualifying session. The team fixed it and after a long week of qualifying, Bilicki rolled off the grid for Saturday's race in 21st position, further back than he had started all year.
The 45 minute race got off to a great start for Bilicki, who passed eight cars in the first lap and found himself in the 13th position. Shortly after lap one, the car developed an electrical issue which caused the engine to sputter and lose power. Josh was forced to pit on lap two, losing his position on the track.
"It was dissapointing because I had a great start and was already up to 13th by the end of lap one. I really think we could have battled into the top ten and close to the fifth position. After the issue, we were really praying for a full course yellow to bunch the field back up, but we never got it. I pushed hard but we were just too far behind to make anything happen."
After recycling power, the issue seemed to have fix itself for the time being and Josh rejoined the track in 44th position, almost one lap down. He would go on to finish 33rd.
Photo credit: Rob Bodle
(Richfield, WI) Fresh off of the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race at his home track, Josh Bilicki made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut on August 27th at the same track, Road America. Bilicki, who drove the number 77 Obaika Racing Chevrolet Camaro, found out that he was in the car two days before the first practice.
"It was a very last minute deal. I had been in contact with the team earlier in the week and they told me to see if I can get my NASCAR license in time for the race. The guys and girls at NASCAR understood my situation and made it a very simple and quick process. I got approved for my NASCAR license on Tuesday and found out that I had the seat on Wednesday," says Josh.
Josh would not see the car until only an hour before practice one on Friday. The team missed first practice due to an issue with the car, but the number 77 Obaika Racing Chevrolet was one of the first cars out in practice two. After only three laps in the car, Bilicki lost brakes going into turn one. Luckily he would not make contact with the tire wall and the car would be easily repaired for qualifying. After only one flying lap in qualifying, Josh was able to qualify the car in 23rd position, Obaika Racing's best qualifying effort yet. Unfortunately Josh lost brakes a second time going into turn one at 170 miles-per-hour and would make contact with the wall, forcing the team to repair the car and start in the rear of the 40 car field. The cause of both brake failures was a bad front-left brake caliper.
Bilicki would start the 45 lap race in 40th position, but after only three laps would find himself up to the 30th position. An early full course yellow came out on lap four due to an accident right behind Josh. While most other teams pit during the window, Bilicki stayed out and gained nearly fifteen positions. Coming to the restart, Josh started to experience an electrical problem with his car, forcing him to pit. The team found that the issue was to large and lengthy to deal with during the race so they retired the car. Bilicki finished in 38th position.
"It was a disappointing way to end our weekend, but at the same time it was a great learning experience and I am very blessed to be here competing today. Unfortunately we lost brakes twice on Friday, which was the first time that has happened to me, so that really shortened my time in the car this weekend. I am happy to have given Obaika Racing their best qualifying effort to date with only five laps in the car at the time and I really believe that we could have had a top fifteen result had we not had an electrical issue in the race. I want to thank Obaika Racing, Vroom Brands, Marriott Drywall Materials, and Montway Auto Transport for giving me the opportunity. Without them I would not be here today so I am very thankful to have them on board."
About Obaika Racing: Obaika Racing is an African professional stock car racing team that currently competes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Owned by African entrepreneur, Victor Obaika, the team currently fields the No. 77 & 97 Chevrolet Camaro full-time.
About Vroom Brands: VroomBrands is your one-stop experience gateway offering you unique and customizable experience packages from the four corners of the earth. Whether you are looking for affordability, novelty or exclusivity, VroomBrands offers the picture-perfect experience to satisfy your travel needs. http://www.vroombrands.com/index.html
About Marriott Drywall Materials: Marriott Drywall Materials in a drywall distribution yard in Milwaukee, WI. http://marriottdrywall.com/
About Montway Auto Transport: Monway is a national car shipping and transport company. Fully bonded, licensed and insured. https://www.montway.com/