BALTIMORE - Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen finished today's running of the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Baltimore second in GTC.
At the start a seven car pile-up blocked the track just after the chicane, causing the 20-year old University of Colorado at Boulder student to stop completely on the circuit.
Following a 75-minute race stoppage, MacNeil took the second start, again avoiding a crash, this time in Turn Seven. He went on to get a near 15-second gap running in first by the time he turned over to teammate Bleekemolen (Monte Carlo) on lap 14. Bleekemolen took over in third and drove up to second to take the checker.
"We made a gentleman's agreement with the rest of the GTC drivers to hang back a little at the start," MacNeil said. "It worked out, the whole GTC field stopped. It was a long red flag sitting out there in the heat. The restart was crazy again, I was able to make it through the inside of Turn Seven and get a good gap when I turned the car over to Jeroen in the lead. In a heads up fight we had the speed on the Lizards, but they aren't running for the championship in that car. So a great points day for us."
Bleekemolen gives full credit to teammate MacNeil.
"It was a perfect race for us," Bleekemolen said. "We were absolutely flying. A lot of guys were short cutting the last chicane, but I wanted to bring the car home in great shape. We finished second, but we gained in the points. Cooper did a great job to avoid two crashes and give me the car with a nice gap that allowed us to do our driver change under green. He was definitely the star of our weekend."
Alex Job, team owner, is happy with the finish.
"Cooper did a great job to not get caught up in the two crashes at the start," Job said. "We were questioning his deal with his GTC competitors about hanging back a little at the start, but it proved to work out for whole class. When he went to the inside in Turn Seven during the second crash it was another good move."
The American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Baltimore will be televised on ABC, tomorrow, Sept. 1 at 12:00 p.m. EDT on ABC. The series will travel to the Circuit of the America's in Austin, Texas for round eight at the Circuit of the America's to run Sept. 19-21.