Photos by Andy Yoon, Denise Conner, and Aziza Jefferson
May 28, 2023 (Millville, N.J.) – An unusual set of circumstances forced StudioVRM.Racing driver Roger Maeda to start from the back of the Big Bore field at the 2nd round of the 2023 USTCC East Series. Undeterred by the setback, Roger fought his way through the field before a broken outer CV joint relegated Team StudioVRM.Racing to a distant 2nd place in Sportsman class.
Sunday Feature Race
A family emergency prevented Roger from arriving at NJ Motorsports Park’s Lightning Circuit until late Saturday, preventing him from taking part in Qualifying or the Heat Race. This meant that he would have to start from the back of the Big Bore field during the Sunday Feature Race.
Our Prelude pilot made a flyer of a start, streaming past a classic GT1 Corvette and a Fox-body Mustang in fervent pursuit of the USTCC cars that had qualified further up the grid. By lap 2, Roger’s green Prelude managed to get within half a second of the Sportsman class leader, Martin Szwarc in his newly christened Braci Racing 8th gen Honda Civic Si Sedan. The silver Civic, equipped with high-lift cams from engine gurus Bad Guys Worldwide, used its prodigious straight-line speed to keep our StudioVRM Prelude behind. Roger neutralized the Civic’s power with the Prelude’s superior speed through the Lightning Circuit’s high-speed Lightbulb turn before making an assertive outside pass through Lightning’s Turn 1.
Unfortunately, this victory would prove short-lived. The Prelude’s left outer CV joint boot had popped loose during this move, allowing the grease inside the joint to escape the joint. A huge plume of smoke erupted from the green Honda’s left front wheel well as Redline CV2 grease evaporated against the Prelude’s red hot brake rotors. Despite this, Roger did his best to get the car to the finish. But it wasn’t to be. On lap 12, the exposed CV joint failed entirely, forcing an early end to our race.
Because Team StudioVRM.Racing had completed over half the racing laps of the 22-lap race, the team earned a 2nd place in Sportsman class. It was no doubt a disappointing result for the East Brunswick based team, but the team left the track with valuable points which would keep us in the title fight.
Roger Maeda - #22 StudioVRM.Racing Honda Prelude Si VTEC
Race: 2nd in Sportsman, 4th in USTCC, 22nd Overall
Fastest Lap: 1:17.476
“An exploded outer CV joint ended our race before we could show our true pace. But we clocked enough laps to classify P2 in Sportsman and brought the car home in one piece.
More importantly, a big congratulations to Martin Szwarc and the Braci Racing Team for a well-deserved debut win. I know the team was absolutely thrashing to get the car ready for this weekend and we couldn’t be happier to see their long nights of wrenching pay off in a big way.”