The Rum Bum Racing pit crew executed a lightning-fast pit stop with one hour remaining in Saturday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Grand Sport (GS) race at Lime Rock Park, and Matt Plumb did the rest for the defending champions.
Plumb led the final 60 laps in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911, giving the defending GS drivers and team champions their first victory of the season.
“We want to get our mojo back,” said Plumb after taking his 19th career victory in the series. “Our pit stop was 15 seconds faster than everyone else. We went from fifth to first. From there on it was a matter of maintaining the tires, judging the track and traffic. We were not fast on a single lap, so I concentrated on running consistent laps, trying not to hurt the tires.”
“We came here bummed out to be sixth (in the championship),” said Longhi, a 16-time career winner. “I got off to a pretty good start, and from there I tried to conserve the car. I wanted Matt to have a good car for the end of the race. I’ll tell you – Matt Plumb equals rock star. (Team manager) Joe Varde keeps the team from making as few mistakes as possible.”
Rum Bum was aided by the fact that both the Fall-Line Motorsports and TRG-AMR teams did not pit on their first opportunity during the lone caution of the race at the one-hour, 26-minute mark.
Up to that point, John Edwards and Trent Hindman dominated the race in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3, followed by the No. 07 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage of Kris Wilson and Peter Ludwig. Edwards led the opening 58 of the eventual 148 laps before pitting. Wilson led eight laps and Hindman led 22 laps prior to the caution. Hindman and Ludwig stayed out on the first lap that the pits were open, opening the door for the Rum Bum crew to do its magic.
“There was a lot of chatter on the radio, and Trent didn’t hear the message that the pits were open,” Fall-Line Motorsports team owner Mark Boden said.
When the green flag waved with 52 minutes remaining, Plumb pulled away from Kyle Gimple’s No. 77 Compass360 Racing Subaru WRX STI. A big break in traffic gave Plumb the cushion he needed, and he went on to win by 4.861 seconds.
Gimple and Ryan Eversley came from 26th in the 28-car field to place second in the Subaru. Eversley charged through traffic to take third before his pit stop at the 56-minute mark, and Gimple kept the car in contention for the remainder of the race. While rain was forecast for the afternoon, light showers held off until the closing laps of the race, negating the damp-weather advantage of the Subaru. Ironically, the champagne spray was followed by a deluge.
“Lapped traffic hurt our chances,” Gimple said. “I thought I had something for Matt, but by the time I got through the lapped cars, Matt was gone.”
Hindman and Ludwig, meanwhile, were caught behind a terrific battle for third that involved the Ford Mustangs of Jade Buford and Andrew Aquilante, and the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R of Andy Lally.
“Trent Hindman did a great job,” Lally said. “He raced me clean, and he had plenty of opportunities not to do so.”
The lone caution was brought out when Jason Montgomery was stopped off course in Turn 1 in the No. 18 AREHUCAS Rum Racing Chevrolet Camaro GS.R.
The next race for the Continental Tire Challenge will be a combined event at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, June 7.
RESULTS: Northeast Grand Prix (GS)