Wow, what a weekend at Watkins Glen. What a couple of weeks, actually! After traveling to Long Island to see my family, drive up to Lime Rock with my father, drive back to Long Island, go to my buddy's wedding, my grandmother's 95th birthday party, drive up to the Glen, drive BACK to Long Island, then fly home - I'm whooped! Not to mention I raced a little bit while I was up there too...!
Lime Rock with BGB Motorsports on Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge was a bit disappointing. A flat tire on my OUT LAP, merely 12 minutes into the 2.5 hour race, put us down 2 laps and basically out of contention right then and there. We made up one lap, but that was it - 15th place was our best possible finish at that point.
Watkins Glen with BGB was another amazingly hard-fought battle with us finishing 10th against the big muscle Mustang's, BMW's & Camaro's. Unfortunately my quickest race lap was literally 2 seconds slower than the fastest race lap of the race, once again proving the performance balancing between our little Porsche Cayman and everything else out there with a big V8 is still a bit off - to say the least! However, as we've always seen during the races, come mid-point of a stint we're basically as quick as the leaders, however it's when we're all on good rubber or packed in tight traffic where we don't stand a chance on pace or ability to pass cars... thus another 'miracle' driving & strategy effort on our part relegated to a lack-luster 10th place finish. I've never worked so hard in MY LIFE for a 10th place finish - and this has been happening all year!
SATURDAY, however, was a much different story. I was asked by Jeff Segal, Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi to join the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT driving lineup for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, in place of Nick who had prior commitments - and of course I said yes! It was interesting hopping in and driving a new car for the first time and adapting as quick as I could, with very limited track time leading up to the race. Jeff & Emil won the GT championship last year, but since the switch to Continental Tires and some adjustments to the rules package for GT, the Mazda has not been quite as strong as it was last year. However, Jeff, Emil & the SpeedSource crew had a few tricks up their sleeve and did a great job for us during the race. Emil started the race in the rain & did a great job keeping the car clean and on the lead lap. Jeff of course was outstanding in the car, turning very fast lap times and improved our position to the top-5. I got in and with the help of some great pit strategy, ran 2nd and then 3rd for my double stint in the car. Jeff then got back in to finish, and saw some excitement battling it out with the 88 Camaro. It looked like we could have possibly won it, but a bump-and-run by the 88 put Jeff back to 3rd, followed immediately by a caution that saw the pace car split the leading 59 car from the rest of the field - giving them a full lap to pit for fuel and grab the victory without contention. We ultimately finished 3rd, and although we felt robbed of a possible victory, we'll take the 3rd place.
It was great to finish on the podium in my one and only Rolex Series race this year, and also great to be back in a Mazda - a brand that I've had much history and success with, since winning the 2002 Star Mazda Championship and 2005 ALMS Rookie of The Year award driving for Mazda with B-K Motorsports in the LMP2 category in '05 & '06.
Now it's a few days home relaxing & catching up on home life, some coaching with HSR, some testing with ESM, and then back to racing at Road America with BGB for my final Continental Tire race of the season - before the ALMS schedule gets back into swing for the remainder of the season.
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