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Jul 01, 2013 - 04:26 PM
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Nunez Earns Second Career GRAND-AM Win With Class Victory At Watkins Glen
Posted by: newsla on Jul 01, 2013 - 04:25 PM
Grand Am News
Nunez Earns Second Career GRAND-AM Win With Class Victory At Watkins Glen


The headache of getting SpeedSource's 17-year-old Tristan Nunez emancipated to compete at Watkins Glen International was worth the trouble. Nunez connected along with co-drivers Joel Miller and Japanese veteran Yojiro Terada to earn a second class win in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and third overall for the No. 00 Visit Florida Racing Mazda6 outfit.

 

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"It might have been allot of work to get the emancipation settled to get the opportunity to race at The Glen but it was all worth it," said Nunez. "Watkins glen is such a well built track; very fast and has a really nice flow to it! Not to mention we managed to pull off a win! This is the fourth win in a town for the new Mazda6 SKYACTIV diesel. I think it's pretty clear that every race weekend we prove more and more that this clean diesel monster can not only go the distance but has the speed to pull off a win as well."

The trio of Nunez, Miller and Terada gave Mazda and the SpeedSource team its fourth consecutive victory in the GX class with the win at Watkins Glen. Series points leader, the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman, was beleaguered with a mechanical misfortune as was third in series points, the No. 70 MAZDASPEED/SpeedSource Mazda 6. With the other competitors in GX plagued with troubles, the drivers paced themselves to the checkered to take the win.

Nunez, of Boca Raton, Fl., earned his second career GRAND-AM series win following his first win earlier this season at Detroit during the Chevrolet GRAND-AM Detroit 200, giving the teen the title as the youngest class winner in Rolex Series history. With the Watkins Glen result, Nunez has five podium results in GRAND-AM and seven overall with his results from the American Le Mans Series for Performance Tech Motorsports.

The teen splits his time between GRAND-AM, ALMS and of course being a high school student in South Florida. The 2013 racing season has been a banner year, benchmarking Nunez's mindboggling 2012 season. During 2012, he became the youngest sportscar champion when the rookie took the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Series title. Following his 2012 season, he won the Walter Hayes Trophy grand finale at Silverstone for Team USA with Cliff Dempsey Racing. In early 2013, he turned pro and competed in his first Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and began juggling the two sportscar series, traversing him across the country to places like Watkins Glen.

With Nunez emancipated, the Sports Illustrated-named "Face in the Crowd" was ready to make his rookie start at Watkins Glen on Fri., June 28 when opening practice had the No. 00 second on the speed charts after turning 22 laps and with a recorded best time of 2:01.805 around the course. During the second session, they turned just four laps with a best time of 2:00.385.

Terada, a fellow Mazda factory driver known for having a record number of participations (29) in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, qualified the No. 00 entry third with a best time of 2:18.326 for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen.

For Sunday's six-hour endurance race, mental toughness and stamina would be tested. During Nunez's nearly three-hour stint, he built up a 30-second lead in the class before turning the keys over to Miller to bring the Visit Florida Mazda6 to the checkered flag for the win.

While the GRAND-AM Series will go idol until The Brickyard Grand Prix on Fri., July 26 (SPEED, 7:30 p.m. ET), Nunez will compete in the ALMS Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Sat., July 6 (ESPN2, 3:00 p.m. ET). He'll then compete in the ALMS Mobil 1 presents The Grand Prix of Mosport at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada on July 21 (ESPN2, 1:00 p.m. ET).

In addition to VISIT FLORIDA & MAZDASPEED, Nunez's racing efforts are also supported by: Federal-Mogul's Champion® Spark Plugs, Bell Helmets, SparCo, OMP, and Uncle Jim. Off the track, Nunez is an advocate for safer driving as part of the Safe American Foundation and his self-made Dnt txt n drV campaign and is represented by Los Angeles-based BRANDed Management.


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