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Jul 16, 2014 - 03:54 PM
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Tough Times At Home
Posted by: newsla on Jul 16, 2014 - 03:51 PM
Sports Cars
Tough Times At Home


"I knew what I had to do and got on with it," James Vance said about working through the neck injury he received early last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

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That was the start of a rough weekend for Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge driver Vance, who also competed in the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires event last weekend at the track commonly known as Mosport.

Vance was placed 12th on the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires grid after his third-place qualifying efforts were disqualified for drafting. But when the green flag dropped, his No. 40 Mazda did not go.

A component failure led to Vance being stalled on the grid. All Vance could do was hope the rest of field went around him. That didn't happen - his car was struck from behind.

The car was heavily damaged by the hit. Vance was unable to continue in the 45-minute sprint race. The contact and a team strategy decision also ended Vance's weekend in Mazda MX-5 Cup.

"MX-5 race was frustrating," Vance said. "After the race, the car was fixable. But as a team we decided it would be best to take my motor out of my car, as it was stronger than my teammate, who is going for a championship, and switch motors. Then he has a better shot at winning the next race."

In Round 7 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Compass360 Racing team enjoyed its best qualifying effort this season, with Vance's teammate, Jon Miller, landing the No. 74 ExpoSystems Honda Civic Si in 11th on the Street Tuner starting grid. But Vance and Miller finished the race 13th after mechanical problems.

From the beginning of Vance's stint, the transmission in the No. 74 car was misbehaving.

"I had to nurse a transmission my whole stint, which meant I could not push as hard and run the pace that the car was being capable of," Vance said. "The other thing I had to be mindful of was everyone around me was driving as if it were a sprint race from the beginning of the stint. The second stint is always a bit more aggressive, but these guys were being a bit ridiculous, to be honest.

"Don't get me wrong: It was hard racing, and at one point we were four-wide through corner two, which at Mosport in an endurance race is insane."

Vance has faced a string of bad luck at the track lately but has focused on the accomplishment of making it to the SportsCar Challenge level to propel him forward.

"I think the Mosport race was a solid result all things considered," Vance said. "Jon had a hell of a first stint, and we did the best we could do with the transmission and tire degradation.

"The biggest thing for me to remember is this is my first year in this super-competitive series, and I am pretty proud of how we are doing. We seem to grow as a team and, no matter what, leave the track with our heads held high. This series is so tough, and the drivers are all of such a high caliber, so being able to hold my own against these more experienced guys in a front-wheel-drive car, which I only jumped into the third race of this year, is pretty cool."

Vance's next race weekend will be at the storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Super Weekend at the Brickyard. Practice starts at 9 a.m. (ET) Thursday, July 24 with qualifying at 3 p.m. the same day. The race will take place at 2:35 p.m. Friday, July 25.

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