Tom Blomqvist feels that Meyer Shank Racing should have won Sunday’s Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca if for not “the worst possible traffic at the worst time.”
Filipe Albuquerque and Wayne Taylor Racing co-driver Ricky Taylor came out on top in the action-packed two-hour and 40-minute contest that all three drivers said came down to traffic management.
Blomqvist assumed the lead in the second hour after performing an undercut on the No. 10 WTR Acura ARX-05 in the pits although got held up by a bunch of “absolute maniacs” in traffic shortly after that saw Albuquerque make the eventual race-winning pass.
“I had much more pace than them,” Blomqvist said. “We just had to bide our time. We did a good strategy and I was able to stop a lap earlier and basically undercut them.
“It was a really good out lap and I managed to jump into the lead and then we came across a bunch of absolute maniacs out there.
“I think I had the worst possible traffic at the worst time.
“It was a bit of a bad call. Filipe was pretty forceful up at the Corkscrew and managed to get through. That kind of messed up our race, really, because there wasn’t another opportunity to get past.
“It’s too difficult to pass in normal running. I didn’t really get a good opportunity with traffic.
“It was a shame as our car was for sure the faster one today. We should have won the race.”
Albuquerque, who scored his and Taylor’s first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory of the season, said Blomqvist “never gave me a rest” through the second half of the race.
The margin of victory at the line was just 1.080 seconds following the race-long battle.
“Tom did an awesome job,” Albuquerque said. “He never gave me a rest. When I was seeing Ricky’s first stint, it was ‘Oh, it’s going to be a good one. Because it seems like we’re strong.’
“But Tom was really putting me on my line. I kept looking at my mirrors but I think as well, traffic played a huge role.
“I feel like I was held back by traffic and I think Tom can say the same because when I passed him it was definitely under traffic, otherwise it would have been hard to pass him.
“It’s the beauty of endurance racing. You can be a bit quicker or not but then traffic will dictate who is winning or not by making the right moves, having the right traffic in the right moment.
“I’m just happy we secured the pole position and win. The track was just perfect for us. It was hard but we got the maximum points and that’s great for the championship.”
WTR, MSR in Dead Heat for Points Lead
Both Acura ARX-05 squads are now provisionally tied for the DPi points lead heading into the next round at Mid-Ohio, another track that has traditionally suited the ORECA-chassied prototypes.
“When we looked at the season schedule, we kind of earmarked a few races that are going to be tough or favor us,” said Taylor.
“This was one of the weekends that we had earmarked that we needed to come away with maximum points. That’s exactly what happened.
“We took advantage of a bit of misfortune for the Ganassi cars and I think the championship in total just compressed.
“It’s going to be very, very close heading into the next round.
“For us personally, it was a great day for Acura. It’s the second 1-2 of the season and nice to have the Konica Minolta Acura leading the Acura charge.
“It’s a good momentum changer for us to get on our game for the rest of the season.”