Matt and Hugh Plumb have taken the GS and overall victory to kick off the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season in Friday’s BMW Performance 200 at Daytona, held in overcast and later light rainy conditions.
The Plumb brothers shared the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911. Meanwhile in ST, Porsche also won with the No. 17 Rennsport One Porsche Cayman, in the hands of Spencer Pumpelly and Luis Rodriguez Jr.
Matt Plumb made what was ultimately the winning move to the outside of Mike McGovern, in the No. 2 Jim Click Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302R, into Turn 1 with 22 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 30-minute race.
“We’re working with an incredible group of professionals, from the pit work to the strategy, preparation, all the way through,” Matt Plumb said. “As drivers, Hugh and I just have to do a good job. They’re winners and they deserve to win.”
McGovern and co-driver Click were on an off-sequence strategy that propelled them into the lead from 19th in the 25-car field. But the strategy came back to bite after a late-race pit stop occurred, which dropped that car to 11th in class.
Beyond the Rum Bum Porsche, the contenders included the pair of Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.Rs and defending GS class champion No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3.
Fall-Line’s BMW failed to have the same pace as it did this race a year ago, while the Stevenson Camaros fought to catch the Porsche in the final few minutes of the race but to no avail.
The No. 6 Camaro of Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell was second with the sister No. 9 of Matt Bell and Lawson Aschenbach third.
Fall-Line’s BMW of Trent Hindman and Ashley Freiberg was fourth with Billy Johnson and Scott Maxwell, in the polesitting No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302R, completing the top five.
Maxwell led most of the opening stint but Johnson missed a call to pit midway through the race after recycling the ECU. What followed was a great comeback, as Johnson carved through the field to get back to the top five.
In ST, another lead change occurred within the final half hour, as Pumpelly passed 2014 ST class champion Eric Foss in the No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman around the outside exiting the oval turn 2 with 19 minutes remaining.
Pumpelly’s Rennsport One teammate Adam Isman, in the sister No. 18 Cayman, passed Foss shortly thereafter Foss had a trip through the grass at the Bus Stop chicane.
Isman later caught and passed Pumpelly exiting the oval turn 4 inside the final three minutes for the lead, before Pumpelly passed him back almost immediately thereafter on the infield.
A potential 1-2 finish for Justin Bellinzoni’s Rennsport One team in its CTSC debut was spoiled when Isman’s car coughed on fuel in the final lap. Isman and co-driver Jon Miller ended an unrepresentative 10th.
“I’ve had my share of races where I’ve run out within sight of the checkered,” Pumpelly said. “However I’ve also had a couple where like Watkins Glen in 2011 we ran out doing donuts. This one definitely felt good. Fortunately I had enough to do a solid donut and tomorrow I can remind myself, ‘Yeah, we had a good day yesterday.'”
That promoted the class polesitting Foss/Justin Piscitell No. 56 Cayman to second, with the No. 64 Team TGM BMW 328i of Ted Giovanis and David Murry scoring a surprise third-place result after starting 11th in class.
The No. 83 Next Level European Porsche Cayman (Greg Liefooghe, Eric Zimmermann) ended fourth with one of the primary Bimmerworld entries, the No. 84 BMW 328i of Jason Breidis and James Clay, completing the top five.
RESULTS: BMW Performance 200