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Aug 27, 2014 - 07:06 AM
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Snow And Heylen Lead The Most Laps In Gtd Class At VIR
Posted by: newsla on Aug 27, 2014 - 07:03 AM
USCR News
Snow And Heylen Lead The Most Laps In Gtd Class At VIR


A collaborative effort between Wright Motorsports, Snow Racing and Dempsey Racing produced the Porsche 911 GT America that led the most laps and set a new track record with the fastest lap of the race for the GT Daytona class in Sunday's IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship race at VIRginia International Raceway.

 

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The only thing that kept its drivers, Jan Heylen and rising star Madison Snow, out of victory lane was unfortunate timing during their second pit stop, as the green flag waved just as the car was entering pit lane. Track position is vitally important at VIR, and the pair's #58 sponsored by Discount Tire and Universal Industrial Sales ended up a solid ninth at the checkered after being the star of the show at the beginning and the middle of the 2-hour-and-45-minute race that was televised live on Fox Sports 1.

Heylen, of Tampa, Fla., posted the entry's best qualifying result so far this season here and started fifth, but he blasted into the lead by Turn 2 of the very first lap and kept the car in first place throughout his first stint. He had a 5.259-second lead by lap seven, and he increased his advantage to an incredible 19.634 seconds before he pitted under green on lap 22 with 42 minutes gone to allow Snow to take the wheel.

The pit stop for four fresh Continental tires, fuel and the driver change took only 57 seconds, and Snow was in tenth place to begin his stint. He moved into ninth five laps later when he passed Michael Lewis' Porsche, and he got eighth on the following lap by passing Nelson Canache Jr.'s Audi R8. By lap 30 his intensity was really showing, as he was closer to the car in front of him than anyone else in the class was. Two laps later at the one-hour mark he moved into seventh place when the fourth-place Dodge Viper of Ben Keating pounded into a tire wall rimming Turn 14 to bring out the event's first full-course caution flag.

Many of the front-runners pitted under that caution but Snow stayed out, and 69 minutes into the race the #58 retook the lead. The BMW that eventually won was second for the restart, but Snow was able to keep about a 1-second lead over that car until its driver, Dane Cameron, drew closer around the race's halfway point.

Despite the BMW's intense pressure, the 18-year-old from Lehi, Utah kept Cameron at bay. Snow's #58 was still in the lead when the second full-course yellow waved on lap 44, and he was still leading when he pitted on lap 50 just as the race went back to green-flag conditions.

Heylen started his second stint in 12th place, some 7.575 seconds behind the 11th-place Ferrari of Townsend Bell, with 53 minutes remaining in the race. He passed Charles Espenlaub's Audi R8 with 49 minutes left to move into 11th, and 3 minutes later he was back in the top 10 after the seventh-place Audi R8 of Spencer Pumpelly went off in Turn 14.

Heylen consistently ran laps that were 1 or 2 seconds faster than any of the cars ahead of him at that point of the race as he tried to move up in the standings. He set the fastest lap of the race on lap 58, the same number as his car number, right around the 2-hour mark with a 1:48.402, which was a new track record for best race lap. It was also only 0.014 slower than his qualifying time of 1:48.388.

He moved into ninth place on lap 65 with 31 minutes remaining in the race when the second-place Porsche of Damien Faulkner pitted for fuel, and he finished in that position.

Two races remain on the schedule. Sept. 19-20 the series visits Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. The season concludes Oct. 1-4 at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

Post-race quotes follow:

Jan Heylen: We're obviously very disappointed with the result! We were pretty dominant all weekend, so to come away with ninth place is not what we were hoping for!

"We started off strong with a good start, from P5 to P1 by the exit of Turn 2. I picked the right side crossing the start-finish line and it all worked out as I was going into Turn 1. After that we were able to pull an almost 20-second gap before pitting for the first time and doing our first driver change.

"After that, Madison did an incredible job keeping the car in first place with the whole field pressuring him.

"The first yellow came at the wrong time for us and we went from first to almost last because of strategy. After that we needed some lucky yellows to get us back in the race, but unfortunately it didn't come our way this time.

"We had a fast car, posted the fastest lap of the race, and had good pit stops. All we need now is a little luck.

"The team has worked so hard all year, they all deserve a win! I hope I can help give them the result they deserve before the season is over!

Madison Snow: "It was going all right for most of the race. We were running pretty well, but then the strategy didn’t work out with the yellow. It was looking like it was going to be great, and then a Porsche pulled off track and the yellow came out, which screwed us. We made the call knowing we were going for the win or we were going to end up where we ended up. If there wasn’t a yellow right there we would have had the win, but there was and it just didn't work out for us.

“We put Jan in first because we wanted a clean track. We got the clean track and got the pull away, which was good because it’s so hard to pass here. I hopped in and I was in the front; we had a clean track once again and I was able to maintain and use it. Once we’re behind people we lose the entire front aero. We have to be in the front, which is what we did. It worked real well for most of the race.

"Now we'll focus on COTA. I’ve been there three or four times, which is more than most people, so I feel really confident going into this race. I think we have a chance at the opportunity we missed today. The guys are working really hard and Jan and I are working really hard, so it should hopefully be a good race."

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