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Jul 02, 2014 - 06:56 AM
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Double Duty For Pumpelly At Watkins Glen
Posted by: newsla on Jul 02, 2014 - 06:50 AM
Double Duty For Pumpelly At Watkins Glen

Spencer Pumpelly pulled double duty for Flying Lizard Motorsport at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, driving both the No. 45 and No. 35 Audi R8 LMS in the fifth round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.


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The six-hour endurance event was a trying one for Pumpelly and team, though both cars showed a strong pace in qualifying. Pumpelly qualified the No. 45 fourth on the GTD grid, but was assigned starting duties for the No. 35 car, while his regular co-driver Nelson Canache Jr. started the No. 45.

In his opening and only stint behind the wheel of the No. 35, Pumpelly was able to advance the car to third and set the fastest GTD time of the race before handing the Audi off to Dion von Moltke, who kept the car in the top three.

Meanwhile, in the No. 45, Canache suffered a flat tire and was forced to limp the car back to pit lane for a change. This dropped the No. 45 to 12th in class. New teammate for the weekend Brett Sandberg took over for Canache at the one hour and 43-minute mark and was running up in seventh when a PC car forced him wide, causing Sandberg to spin and tag the wall near pit-in. Pumpelly traded spots with Sandberg while the team went to work on the Audi’s right-side suspension. The No. 45 was swiftly brought behind the wall and back to the Flying Lizard paddock for extensive suspension repairs.

The Lizard crew had the car back on pit lane and ready to resume racing with a little over two hours remaining. This was fortunate for Pumpelly who needed an hour and 25 minutes of driving time to score points in the No. 45. Unfortunately, the time spent repairing the car’s suspension dropped it out of the top 10.

Once he’d clocked his required drive time, Pumpelly handed the car back to Sandberg in 15th. After six hours of racing, the No. 45 crossed the finish line in 14th. The No. 35 finished seventh.

“The No. 35 was really good from the start,” recalled Pumpelly. “We were running a solid third and were able to stay with the leaders. I had a really good opening stint and handed the car over to Dion who did a really good job too.

“Then, I waited a little bit and hopped in the No. 45, but as I was about to jump in, the car came down pit road with some damage. I went out, but right away I could feel something was wrong. We came back in and the crew spotted a link in the upright was broken. They did a really great job getting it fixed and I was able to go back out and get my hour and 25 minutes for points. The car wasn’t perfect, but the guys did a good job making it drivable.”

“I enjoyed working with Seth and Dion and the guys in the No. 35 car. It was nice knowing that we had two dogs in the fight. I was watching the No. 35 just as close as the No. 45 when I wasn’t in the car. I’d never driven two cars before. I had a good time. I just wish we could have had a better result for both cars with all the hard work that went in by everyone.”

Despite the frustrating race, there was a bright spot to Pumpelly’s visit to Watkins Glen: his annual visit to Farm Sanctuary, a mere 25 minutes from the race track. Farm Sanctuary is an organization that rescues farm animals from inhumane conditions and brings awareness to the cruel practices of factory farming.

“It was great to do my fourth visit with Farm Sanctuary in conjunction with the race,” Pumpelly said. “This year we were fortunate to have six people join us and go see the farm and what they do. We were able to get a tour and meet the people who are working full time as advocates for farm animals. That’s always a highlight of the weekend here and hopefully it’s a tradition that continues.”

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