Story by Michael Kearney:
1989 Was the best racing season the Fortech Mini team ever had. During the qualifying races for the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road Atlanta, the Fortech Mini, with Doug Peterson driving, won every race it entered, six in total. We had perfect reliability the entire season, so when we headed off to the Runoffs, we were very confident.
I doubt there was any competitor in the GT5 race that was expecting a Mini to out qualify the second fastest car buy 3.8 seconds (the time would have also put the Fortech Mini on pole for the GT4 race, and they have much larger engines). The only problem we had that weekend was the transmission was popping out of third gear under the bridge turn. Crew Chief Steve Maxwell and I decided to fix that on our one day off before our Championship race. We took out the power unit and separated the transmission from the engine. We could see there was some wear in the dog engaged teeth on the gears. Steve took the transmission apart and hand ground new dog ears and that fixed the problem.
The race was a clear runaway for the Fortech Mini. I remember at the start, Frank, the competition director for Nissan was right behind me at the end of pit lane, just before turn one. Doug got a great start and could go through turn one flat out. It is always tight on the first lap, and as Doug cleared traffic and headed up the track towards turn two I could hear Frank say “race over”. That made me smile but as you know you have to finish to win, and we did that as a team.