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Kyle Gimple Delivers Podium For Compass360 Racing In Return To IMSA Gs Competition At Lime Rock Park
Posted by: newsla on May 25, 2014 - 07:20 AM
Sports Cars
Kyle Gimple Delivers Podium For Compass360 Racing In Return To IMSA Gs Competition At Lime Rock Park


As Kyle Gimple returned to GS class competition in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Lime Rock Park on Saturday in the all-wheel drive Subaru, the young Compass360 driver had been hoping for a rain race so that a wet track would level the playing field. But it turns out he didn’t need the rain after all, as he and Compass360 Racing co-driver Ryan Eversley took a runner-up finish in the Northeast Grand Prix in what was a flawless performance to close out the 2.5-hour race in all-dry conditions.

 

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Gimple was tabbed to anchor the No. 77 CTF.org/ Touge Tuning/ Racing4research Subaru WRX STI, with Eversley driving the opening stint of the race. Since qualifying had been rained out and the field was set by championship point order, Eversley started from 26th but wasted no time moving forward as he picked up position after position in the opening segments.

Eversely ran third in line when he was called to pit lane for fuel, tires, and a driver change. Gimple took control of the No. 77 Subaru WRX STI and once pit stops cycled through he found himself back in the third position. A full course caution was displayed with just over an hour remaining and Compass360 brought Gimple to pit lane for a set of left side Continental Tires and fuel.

A quick pit stop saw Gimple emerge from the pits second in the order just behind the defending GS champion Matt Plumb in the Rum Bum Racing Porsche. As the field went back to green, Gimple stuck right with the leading car of the veteran racer and pulled away from the third place of Jade Buford.

Hitting his marks lap after lap, Gimple kept the leader in his sights as he grew the gap to the rest of the field. Light rain in the final moments of the race didn’t change Gimple’s focus as he raced to the checkered flag to notch a career-best GS class finish with Compass360 Racing with his second-place finish.

“We thought we really needed the rain to have a good car, but it turns out we didn’t!” enthused a thrilled Gimple following the race. “Ryan (Eversley) started 26th and drove it all the way up to third before our driver change and we just found out that this car with all wheel drive system just kills it on the long run. Everyone else was burning off their tires and we just kept on trucking and clicked off good laps. When we did our splash and go, we came out second and we put two left side tires on and took it to the finish. We just needed a little more time and not as many lapped cars to catch up to Matt (Plumb) and get him!”

The GS race was not the only event on tap for Gimple as the day opened with the 2.5-hour ST race which began bright and early with a 9:10 AM start time. With the grid also set by the championship point order following a rained out qualifying session, Gimple was set to move forward through his opening stint in the No. 75 Children's Tumor Foundation/ HPD/Racing4research.org Honda Civic. And he did just that as he made positive forward progress through the field with a stellar charge from his 18th starting spot all the way up to fight for seventh.

Gimple looked poised to take the car into the top-five as he ran lap times equivalent to those of the leaders, but unfortunately contact from another car brought his forward momentum to an abrupt halt as the contact broke the left front tie rod. Gimple was forced to bring the No. 75 Children's Tumor Foundation/ HPD/Racing4research.org Honda Civic which had shown such strong pace in the opening stages of the race to pit lane under green flag conditions for repairs. Despite quick work by the Compass360 Racing crew, the short 1.5-mile length of the Lime Rock Park circuit and the quick laps that come along with the short bullring track puts any team that pits under green flag conditions at an extreme disadvantage.

The 45-minute requirement for driver points had not yet passed, so Gimple remained in the car as he headed back out on track deep in the field three laps down. He would spend the remainder of his impressive over two-hour long stint running clean and consistent laps and maintained a championship focus on collecting as many points as possible.

After gaining a lap back, Gimple pitted the No. 75 Children's Tumor Foundation/ HPD/Racing4research.org Honda Civic with 55-minutes remaining in the race to his co-driver Eversley who brought the car home to a 19th place finish of the 33-car field.

“I had a charge there at the beginning and there was an incident ahead of me in the first turn which had dropped me back a couple of spots,” offered Gimple. “I made my way all the way up to eighth and was going for seventh when the driver of the BMW decided to turn into me in Turn 4 and bent our tie rod. I caught up to him quickly and it was way early in the race so I’m not sure why that had to happen. But that’s racing – there is so much out of your control. I brought the car in and the team changed the tie rod and we were three laps down and I was still clicking off lap times that were matching the leaders so we really had a strong car for the dry. We would have preferred the wet because we were even faster but we made up what we could. It was a points race for us after the contact and we got a decent amount of points. After coming off of the top-10 at Laguna we were hoping for more but we’ll go on to Kansas and look to come out of there with a strong finish.”

Gimple will return to IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition at Kansas Speedway on June 6-7.

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