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Gamble Pays Off For Edwards And Hindman At COTA
Fall-Line Motorsports rolled the dice and came up winners Friday at Circuit of The Americas, with the switch to rain tires the key to the second Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory of the season for John Edwards and Trent Hindman in the No. 46 Trim-Tex BMW M3.
Fall-Line Motorsports was the recipient of the VP Racing Fuels Front Runner Award at the halfway point of the 2014 season. The Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge is fueled by VP Racing Fuels.
With rain falling intermittently at various sections of the 3.4-mile circuit for the final 90 minutes of the two-and-a-half-hour race, most of the competitors opted to run the race on “dry” tires. Fall-Line team manager Michael Harvey gambled and went with the wet-weather compound, calling in race-leader Edwards with 40 minutes remaining.
While the move dropped Edwards out of the top five and more than one minute behind new leader Tom Kimber-Smith in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, the 23-year-old veteran quickly worked his way back into contention.
Edwards passed Kimber-Smith with 10 minutes remaining and pulled away to win by 7.982 seconds. It was the seventh career victory for Edwards in the series, and second for Hindman, coming on the eve of the young driver’s 19th birthday.
The triumph allowed Hindman to regain the unofficial Grand Sport (GS) championship lead with only the season-ending race at Road Atlanta remaining. Entering the event with a two-point deficit, Hindman now leads Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell by five points, 296-291, after the drivers of the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R finished fourth.
“I didn’t think we’d be in the hunt for the win, but that’s a testament to the hard work of the team,” Hindman said. “At the end of the day, it just came down to excellent strategy and even better co-driving.”
The only other contender to switch to rain tires was Jade Buford in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302R started by Scott Maxwell. Buford went on to finish fifth.
Turner Motorsport was looking for its first Continental Tire Challenge triumph since winning at Circuit of The Americas in March, 2013.
“We committed to running dry tires, so we stayed with it,” Kimber-Smith said. “If we pitted and changed tires late, it would have wrecked our race completely. If the race ran a little longer, it would have come back to us. We were close, but not quite there.”
The pole-winning Multimatic Motorsports/Miller Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302R of Billy Johnson and Ian James finished third after both drivers took turns in the lead.
The final two hours, two minutes were run under a green flag after an opening-lap incident slowed the field for 28 minutes. Tim Bell appeared to have lost the brakes entering Turn 12 and slammed into a barrier in the No. 28 Tim Bell Racing Nissan 370Z.
Ryan Eversley took the Street Tuner (ST) lead when Nissan driver Vesko Kozarov pitted with 55 minutes remaining, and went on to score his second victory of the season in the No. 75 Compass360 Racing/Children’s Tumor Foundation Honda Civic Si. Eversley ended a two-year drought when he joined Kyle Gimple in winning at Watkins Glen International in June.
Even though he ran the race on dry tires, Eversley was happy with the conditions.
“It if didn’t rain, we’d be a seventh-place car,” Eversley said. “This track is not suited for our gear ratio. So when we saw the rain coming, we did a little rain dance.”
Eric Foss finished second, 10.813 seconds behind, in the No. 56 Murillo Racing/Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman started by Austin resident Jeff Mosing. Coupled with erstwhile points leader Wayne Nonnamaker’s ninth-place finish, Foss unofficially takes a nine-point lead, 291-282, to the season finale at Road Atlanta.
“It was funny out there, because it would change from lap to lap,” Foss said. “Every lap was a crapshoot for nearly every turn. Fortunately, the Continental Tires had so much grip, even though it was wet out there, and we were racing on dry tires.”
Brothers Mark and Mat Pombo scored their best finish of the season, placing third in the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 – marking the 25th anniversary of the Mazda MX-5.
The 2014 Continental Tire Championship will conclude at Road Atlanta on Friday, Oct. 3, during the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda weekend.
Posted by on 22nd September, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks
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