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Aug 12, 2014 - 06:24 AM
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Pumpelly Salvages Seventh-Place Finish at Road America
Posted by: newsla on Aug 12, 2014 - 06:22 AM
Sports Cars
Pumpelly Salvages Seventh-Place Finish at Road America


Spencer Pumpelly and the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS could not catch a break in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America. A series of on track incidents and two punctured tires made the eighth round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship one to forget.

 

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The heavier Audi R8 LMS continues to fight an uneven battle against its lighter GTD competitors. A disappointing qualifying session on Saturday resulted in a 12th-place grid position for Pumpelly. On Sunday morning, the withdrawal of the GTD pole-sitting car after the morning warm up promoted the No. 45 to 11th on the grid.

Co-driver Nelson Canache Jr. got behind the wheel of the Audi for the opening stint of the two hour and 45 minute race. Canache was making good progress through the GTD field until the race’s first full-course caution was issued. In the restart to green, he was struck from behind and spun, thankfully without damage.

Just as Canache was reaching the end of his stint, a tire went down on the No. 45, which required a pit stop under green. Shortly thereafter, another full-course caution was issued, giving the team the opportunity to put Pumpelly in the car.

Rejoining the race in 10th, Pumpelly picked up three spots and pitted from seventh during the race’s next full-course caution.

“During the next pit stop we went from P7 to P5,” Pumpelly recalled. “It was the best pit stop of the year for us. The guys did an incredible job and we were looking at a strong finish.”

Running with the lead pack in fifth place, Pumpelly and team were looking forward to a top-five finish at Road America when a second puncture forced the No. 45 back to pit lane with only 20 minutes left in the race.

“Fortunately for us, it was just as a yellow was coming out,” Pumpelly said. “We dove into the pits, came back out and caught the field. Unfortunately, with the limited amount of time, we were only able to pass four cars in the last 10 minutes and get back to seventh.”

Pumpelly’s late-race charge and the Flying Lizard’s strong pit work were the bright spots in a difficult weekend.

“The guys have done a great job,” Pumpelly said. “They’ve been working really hard and it’s been an uphill battle since the Audis were given extra weight. The pit work was great, the strategy was good and Nelson did a great job driving. We had everything going well when more bad luck struck. It was a rough race, but we have a lot of positives we can take from the weekend.”

Pumpelly now looks ahead to VIRginia International Raceway and the Oak Tree Grand Prix, Aug. 23 – 24. The race will be broadcast at 4pm ET on FOX Sports 1.



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