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May 25, 2014 - 07:28 AM
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Vance Edges Closer To Podium With Strong Lime Rock Finish
Posted by: newsla on May 25, 2014 - 07:21 AM
Sports Cars
Vance Edges Closer To Podium With Strong Lime Rock Finish


James Vance finished eighth in Round 4 of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge on Saturday, May 24 at Lime Rock Park in his first closing role with Compass360 Racing.

 

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Vance pushed hard through the field early during his stint and was conserving fuel toward the end of the race. He started the last lap in sixth place in the No. 74 Bionic Environments/ExpoSystems USA Honda Civic Si, under pressure from chasing cars. Michael Valiante charged from behind and challenged Vance for position in Turn 1, and both drivers went off track and hit the barrier adjacent to the turn. Vance returned to the track with damage to the back of his car and finished the race after losing two positions.

"Valiante tried to make a last-lap move down the inside into (Turn) 1 trying to pass me," Vance said. "The team the whole time was telling me, 'You're eight minutes short on fuel; you need to conserve.' So I was like a lamb with a pack of wolves behind me. I was just focused on conserving. That last lap I asked if I could push, and they said, 'Yes, absolutely.'

"I had one lap to push, and just going into Turn 1 we both had an ABS dump, and we both had nothing left in the car. It was a little bit frustrating. I think he turned in a little too early, and I bumped him, and we both ended up in the grass and hit the wall. The fact that I lost two positions because of that was hard. Finished the race, though. The car is a little bit cosmetically damaged. But it was our best finish of the year in the Honda, and my first time closing a race, so I'm happy."

Vance's entire 95-minute stint to the checkered flag was a physical battle. He drove under green-flag conditions the entire way after taking over for teammate Jon Miller under yellow in the 150-minute race.

Toronto-area resident Vance got behind the wheel of the Honda in 20th position after the driver change. Miller had made his way from a 17th starting position to seventh before the switch. The starting field was set by points due to rain and standing water on the seven-turn, 1.5-mile circuit Friday.

Vance finished the weekend by furthering his reputation in the ST class for hard, nimble charges through the field. He will continue to push for his first podium finish at the next event June 6-7 at Kansas Speedway.

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