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Sep 03, 2013 - 05:33 PM
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Nunez Becomes Youngest ALMS Winner With Victory At Baltimore
Posted by: newsla on Sep 03, 2013 - 05:26 PM
American Le Mans Series News
Nunez Becomes Youngest ALMS Winner With Victory At Baltimore


The closing minutes of the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT will go down in the history books as 17-year-old Tristan Nunez became the youngest driver in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) history to claim a victory in the Series. Nunez went from third to first in the closing minutes to win in Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire (PC) in the No. 18 Dash Marketplace/Kate Farms Komplete machine in downtown Baltimore, Maryland.

 

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"First of all, I have to thank my new sponsor Komplete for coming on board for this race," said Nunez. "This was a very dramatic weekend for us. On Friday we had a shock problem that we just discovered after qualifying. It was a tough day in qualifying as we qualified behind the GT cars; so that was a hurdle we obviously had to climb. As my coach Jonatan Jorge always says, you gotta think positive and I think that worked in our favor today. I'm very happy for the Performance Tech crew. I'm so happy to be apart of their first win in the PC Class. We had flawless racing today and I can't think Brent O'Neill and his crew enough."

The weekend for Nunez and co-driver Charlie Shears was far from glamorous. The duo struggled to find a balance in the car and lacked consistency during practice sessions. They would go on to qualify fifth.

When the green flag flew to start the two-hour race, a multi-car incident completely blocked the front straight of the Inner Harbor street circuit seconds after the initial waving of the green flag. Shears, first behind the wheel, was blocked due to the incident, but avoided any damage. After a substantial delay, the race was shortened to one hour, becoming what would be the shortest race in ALMS history.

Shears hovered around fourth and fifth place throughout the race before pitting while in third to hand the keys over to Nunez, who was also representing a new sponsorship with Kate Farms' Komplete Ultimate Shakes. Nunez would be making his first start on the 2.02-mile, 12-turn street course.

The teen stayed in the hunt despite the entry being written off earlier in the race. Colin Braun dominated the class before pitting with seven minutes remaining. That gave the lead to Dane Cameron, who broke with two laps remaining, giving the lead and victory to Nunez and Shears, trumping their previous best result in ALMS of third.

The victory for Nunez trumps the previous youngest race-winner in ALMS history, which was set by Clint Field who claimed victory in Washington D.C., in 2002 at the age of 18. The record adds to Nunez's 2013 accolades, as he also became the youngest class winner in Rolex GRAND-AM Series history earlier this year, when he claimed victory at Detroit with Visit Florida/Mazda/SpeedSource. He went on to also win GRAND-AM races at Watkins Glen, Road America and Kansas-a race he won the weekend prior to Baltimore.

The Baltimore win perhaps was from an extra boost from new sponsor Komplete, "The Ultimate Meal Replacement Shake". The Kate Farms product is the world's first vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free ready to go drink meal replacement shake, available nationally at The Vitamin Shoppe. Hordes of race fans sampled the new product on the grounds of Baltimore before the race weekend came to a close.

Following the race, the high school student will return to Boca Raton, Fla., this week where he recently began his senior year of high school at No. 1 Education Place. He won't be in class for long. The Sports Illustrated-named "Face in the Crowd" will travel to Monterey, Calif., at the balance of the week for the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in GRAND-AM for the Sept. 8, 5:00 PM (ET) race, which will be carried live on FOX Sports 1. His next ALMS race will be at The Circuit of the Americas on Sept. 21 with television coverage provided by ESPN2.

In addition to VISIT FLORIDA & MAZDASPEED, Nunez's racing efforts are also supported by: Federal-Mogul's ChampionĀ® Spark Plugs, Kate Farms' Komplete Ultimate Meal Replacement Shakes, 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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