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Aug 13, 2014 - 07:00 AM
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Podium for Snow and Heylen Highlights Season-Best Dempsey Racing Finish at Road America
Posted by: newsla on Aug 13, 2014 - 06:54 AM
USCR News
Podium for Snow and Heylen Highlights Season-Best Dempsey Racing Finish at Road America


Following a challenging 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship that has seen a number of missed opportunities, Dempsey Racing and drivers Madison Snow and Jan Heylen scored the team’s first podium of the year with a third-place finish in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America in the No. 58 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America.

 

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“It was good day, a long time coming,” said Heylen, who defended the third-place position to the end. “I’m happy for the whole team but I’m really happy for the Snow family. They’ve been so supportive from the start and we haven’t had much luck, but we finally came together. Hopefully we can finish the season like this. It was a good job by everyone.”

Starting from sixth, race-opening driver Snow managed to stay in touch with the lead pack in pursuit of the front. The 18-year old used the Porsche’s relatively strong top speed to his advantage while trying to compete with some of the more high-downforce GTD entries on Road America’s twists and turns.

In an incident strewn event that saw more than half of the race slowed by six yellow flags, Snow persevered through the long series of opening caution periods to slowly pick off the field in front of him. He climbed his way up to being within sight of the top-three by the time the first round of pit stops came at the one-hour mark.

Heylen took over and the quick Belgian was instantly on pace, doing his best to gain on the field in front of him. Driving without error, Heylen quickly stepped up as the lead Porsche as the race went through its paces, making his final pit stop 45 minutes from the finish with a podium clearly in sight.

After a faultless last stop by the Dempsey Racing crew, Heylen held the final podium spot through an agonizing series of yellows that ate up half of the race’s final 45 minutes, finally crossing the finish line in third.

“We’ve raced hard for so many races,” Snow said. “We’ve been so close every time. Finally, it came together, everyone on the team really needed this.”

Meanwhile, Dempsey Racing’s sister No. 27 Porsche 911 GT America, and drivers Patrick Dempsey and Andrew Davis, saw an early contact incident malign the team’s effort throughout the event. One of the victims of the excessive caution periods, Dempsey had contact with the stricken No. 48 Audi R8 LMS of Bryce Miller just past the 30-minute mark, suffering a punctured tire and light damage in the process.

Dempsey took the car behind the wall where the No. 27 went nine laps down despite an ultra-quick repair job by the team. Returning to the race in 15th and out of winning contention, Dempsey completed his required driving time before handing over to Davis, who would see out the rest of the race.

“Patrick had a little bit of bad luck, but the team did an amazing job to repair everything and only lose nine laps in the process,” Davis said. “The car was perfect after that, and it’s why both Patrick and I set some great laps following the repair.”

Still after something to prove, the weekend was not a complete loss for Dempsey, Davis and the No. 27 team. Demonstrating the team’s ever-present pace and potential, Davis turned the second fastest GTD Porsche lap of the race and managed to improve one position to 14th by the checkered flag.

“Today wasn’t our day, but I’m really proud of what these guys have done,” Davis said. “We struggled with the setup when we arrived, this field is so close that you simply can’t even be a little off. Every night the guys stayed late to throw some new ideas at it, and the night before the race they weren’t out until after midnight. However it paid off for the race, as we had possibly the best car we’ve had all year. I think we’ve turned a corner for VIR, and we should be in great shape.”

Dempsey Racing and several classes of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will return to action in less than two weeks at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), August 22 – 24. With the GTLM and GTD divisions competing in the season’s lone GT-only event, the race promises to be an exciting one. The featured Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR can be seen in live coverage on FOX Sports 1, Sunday, August 24, at 4 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. PDT.



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