Unshakeable Upstate
Jul 1, 2023

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Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup — Legs 7 and 8
Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen, NY
June 23-25, 2023

Watkins Glen International makes or breaks. The world-renowned track, at once exhilarating and challenging, has the ability to prove championship caliber teams while setting contenders in their place. To succeed here, squads need to exhibit heart, skill and dashes of flair. It’s a place that doesn’t forgive, never lets up and remains unpredictable throughout. As the remarkably consistent MDK/Racing to End Alzheimer’s team prepared for their bout with this behemoth, the only certainty was that the 7th and 8th legs of the Carrera Cup in upstate New York would be anything but business as usual.

A Game of Millimeters

Rules for a single-make series are strict and precise. Because fair competition relies upon the establishment of a level playing field, Carrera Cup officials must be inflexible when it comes to allowed car set-ups and alterations. This regulatory foundation makes the series unique and exciting. Unfortunately for MDK/Racing to End Alzheimer’s, however, it also means small mistakes are met with punishment.

After a strong qualifying lap that would have placed Mark Kvamme in P-1 for Saturday’s race, officials measured the No. 43’s ride height at a millimeter above the allowed mark. Miniscule in proportion, the discrepancy proved devastating. Officials disallowed Kvamme’s blistering lap and placed him at the back of the 35-car field for the start.

Nowhere to go but up

Chasing six Am-class Porsches, Mark Kvamme set off on a mission. He picked off four or five cars within a few turns, displaying composed urgency as he moved through the field. But at Watkins Glen, momentum can shift in an instant. Heading into the particularly unforgiving “Off-Camber” turn 9, the No.43 was bumped and spun, erasing all hard-earned progress.

As he straightened out on track, Kvamme faced a daunting climb from 29 seconds behind the podium runners. On the ropes, the team knew that their only option was to run with abandon through the field. They set their collective sights ahead and got to work.

Within a few minutes, Kvamme caught up to the pack, passing into fifth in the Am-class, then up to fourth courtesy of a sleek move. Running six seconds behind the 3rd place car and final podium spot, Mark pushed the No.43 to its limit. With just over nine minutes left in the race, he took third and eventually crossed the finish line for his seventh podium finish in as many races.

Weather at Watkins Glen

Adrenaline from Saturday translated to a very fast start for the No. 43 on Sunday. Starting from second place, Kvamme demonstrated his passing prowess early, taking advantage of an opening and seizing first within the first few turns. What followed was a consistent barrage of runs and pass attempts by competitors that left the MDK/Racing to End Alzheimer’s team in a perpetual state of unease. To make matters worse, the skies opened up and rain descended upon the track. Moments of potential disaster came and went, marked by sighs of relief with each avoidance of harm. With 11:50 left in the race, officials instituted a weekend-ending full course caution and the No. 43 picked up its 6th first place finish in just 8 races.

When Mark Kvamme had to prepare for the next race, he asked our founder Phil Frengs to represent him on the podium. Phil was not expecting to be soaked to the skin by team Car Chief Michael Melvin and the other drivers, but nothing beats hot weather like being sprayed with champagne!

With half of the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup in the rear view, Racing to End Alzheimer’s would like to take a moment to thank you for following along. Success on the track means little without the support of our champions and loved ones. The roads (and tracks) we have driven and have yet to drive are paved with the mission that unites us all. This is the journey to the cure, and we’re so happy to have you as co-pilot.