JWR Behind the Scenes
John Walko and Work Racing have been busy since winning round 13 of the 2010 season at Mid-Ohio with rookie driver Chris Livengood. The team has been auditioning talent for the 2011 F2000 Championship Series season at the BeaveRun MotorSports Complex in Pennsylvania and has big plans.
Those plans for 2011 call for expansion to a multi-car F2000 team, according to Walko, who is responsible for the race-prep and at-the-track engineering through John Walko Racing (JWR).
“The goal is to run a three car team between Work Racing and myself,” he explained. “We’re expecting Chris back for a championship effort and want two additional cars.
“We’ve been busy testing at BeaveRun with the #37 car, last week we had Nathaniel Steele and Kyle Knecht run laps and they are both interested. And this week we’ll be there with some more potential drivers.”
And those two additional cars may not be so far off, as Walko said that two drivers were close to signing for 2011.The bigger question mark is what chassis the team will be using, as a potential chassis deal is in the works.
Looking back on 2010, Work Racing was one of the biggest story lines of the year. Running a 1999 bone-stock Van Diemen chassis on a shoe-string budget for rookie Livengood, the team started out the year with a Pinto motor and was very competitive.
The Zetec switch came at Mosport and Livengood went even quicker. Race weekends generally saw the team sleeping in their race trailer in the paddock and on occasion didn’t even set up the scale pads.
“This chassis doesn’t change unless it hits something and there is no reason to mess with it,” Walko explained. “The Hoosiers are super consistent and our notes are good enough that when the cars leaves the shop, we know its right.
“You have to be careful with how much time you spend getting carried away on the wrong things under the awning.”
As the season continued, Livengood wheeled the Van Diemen chassis to pole at Watkins Glen and led most of the race before Daniel Erickson snuck by.
A few weeks later that win would come, as the 24-year old stamped his name on Mid-Ohio with a dominating victory.
“The win at Mid-Ohio was the big highlight, obviously,” commented Walko. “But the start of that ball rolling was leading the race at the Glen. At that point I knew we could win.”
Walko gave a lot of the credit to Bruce Work, who made the 2010 season possible under the Work Racing banner.
He also said the decision to come back to the F2000 Championship Series for 2011 was a no-brainer.
“The way things are run in the paddock, it’s by racers for racers,” he added. “We do need to remind people that this Series is a destination too, not just a rung on the ladder.”
Walko has run motorsports programs in a variety of series in North America and continued: “The reason I’m running F2000 is the exact same reason that’s kept me away in the past: budgets. I was pitched to come run a team a few years ago and the budgets were too low. At the time I had full-time employees plus my family to support and with what it costs to go F2000 racing it wasn’t possible.
“But now, the budgets are still low and the way the economic environment is: the Series works. You can run it reasonably with a bunch of cars. It’s hard to find customers with mega-dollars to run in some of the other series.”
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