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Nunez Scores First Career Grand-Am Win With Result At Detroit Belle Isle
Posted by: newsla on Jun 02, 2013 - 07:14 AM
Grand Am News
Nunez Scores First Career Grand-Am Win With Result At Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix


GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series' youngest driver, rookie Tristan Nunez, and SpeedSource co-driver Joel Miller ended the duo's inaugural visit to Belle Isle Park exactly how they started it-at the top of the chart. The two were fastest in opening practice and connected during the race to score the win in the GX class of GRAND-AM to give Mazda and VISIT FLORIDA a second win on the 2013 season.

 

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"Unfortunately, I missed out for the first Mazda win at Atlanta, but I was in [the American Le Mans Series race] in Long Beach getting my first street course experience," Nunez said. "I think that helped in favor in this race. It's so great for my first pro win to be alongside Joel Miller and what better race than a street course. Our Visit Florida SKYACTIV diesel Mazda6 was really strong on the bumpy tight course. The SpeedSource crew did an incredible job with setting up the car to a comfortable feel that suited both Joel and myself. Joel ran a fantastic stint! And it was a true honor to stand beside him on the top step of the podium! We've come along way and we still have quite a few races ahead of us! This is the second of many to come."

Nunez, of Boca Raton, Fla., is a 17-year-old professional racecar driver who splits his time between GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series. The teen athlete has quickly become the sportscar world's next big star. In 2012, he became the youngest sportscar champion when he capped a mindboggling season that included 11 wins, 12 poles, and seven track records in his rookie season in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Series, going on to secure the point's championship. Following his season, he closed out an impressive international tour with a Team USA Scholarship with Cliff Dempsey Racing when he capped the trip by besting 120-car entries to seize the Walter Hayes Trophy grand finale at Silverstone.

The 2013 season has been a dream-come-true for Nunez. He was named a factory MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver in GRAND-AM, which gave him the opportunity to compete in the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. From there, he and Miller scored a second-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park in the No. 00 VISIT FLORIDA SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel Mazda6. In addition to GRAND-AM, Nunez is also competing in ALMS, where he finished third in the season opener in the #500 car, earning Nunez his first podium result within the PC class of ALMS during the 61st annual Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. He backed the result up at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.

Along the way, Nunez was named a "Face in the Crowd" by Sports Illustrated magazine and picked up a new sponsor in Federal-Mogul's Champion® Sparkplugs Brand. All of this while attending high school and still finding time to spread the far reaching message about safer driving with his Dnt txt n drV message, which saw his home state of Florida recently pass a bill to make it illegal to text & drive in the state of Florida as of Oct. 1, 2013.

The weekend in Detroit for the Chevrolet GRAND-AM Detroit 200 presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers started off with Nunez and Miller quickest in practice. By the second session, the duo fell to third quick on the charts. Nunez would then qualify the car third for Saturday's race. Prior to the race, a 30-minute practice session preceded the race, which SpeedSource chose to sit out.

The young Nunez would start the race for the SpeedSource VISIT FLORIDA team just after noon. Nunez had moved up to second during his nearly hour stint before Miller stepped in at Lap 34. Miller maintained the second-place position until Lap 55 when GX leader Spencer Pumpelly slowed entering Turn 11 in his Porsche, running out of fuel. The SpeedSource No. 00 inherited the lead and held it till the checkered flag flew.

Nunez returns to the racetrack with the GRAND-AM Diamond Cellar Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. Practice is set to begin on Fri., June 14 at 9:25 a.m. EDT.

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