Win in Canada is a narrow miss for Pumpelly

Spencer Pumpelly and Nelson Canache Jr. leave Round Five in a four-way tie with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil for the GTC Drivers’ Championship lead.

BOWMANVILLE, Canada – Spencer Pumpelly came just 2.3 seconds short of capturing his second-straight American Le Mans Series GTC victory on Sunday. Instead, it was a runner-up finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the driver of the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

#45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: Nelson Canache, Spencer Pumpelly
#45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: Nelson Canache, Spencer Pumpelly

Photo by: Michael Tan

Qualifying for the GTC class illustrated how tight the category is, with the top four separated by just 0.6-second. Pumpelly squeezed the most out of the No. 45, putting it third on the grid with a 1:21.924 (108.056 mph).

For the start of the two hour and 45 minute race, teammate Nelson Canache Jr. got behind the wheel. The Venezuelan had an extraordinary opening stint, moving from third to first in GTC in the first two corners of the opening lap. He gradually built up a gap to second place as he prepared to hand the car over to Pumpelly.

The Lizards were enjoying a solid gap to their main competition, the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche, when a full-course yellow was issued just before the team planned to pit and immediately following a pit stop for the No. 22. This eroded the gap and shuffled Pumpelly to second when the No. 45 completed its stop under yellow.

To make matters more complicated, a pack of lapped traffic slowed Pumpelly’s plans to retake the GTC lead. Once he was through traffic, Pumpelly began to reel in the leader, but there just wasn’t enough time left in the race. He crossed the finish line 2.3 seconds behind the No. 22, earning his fourth ALMS podium finish of the season.

“The car was really fast,” Pumpelly said. “It was very much hooked up and the crew did a great job: the pit stops were phenomenal.

“Nelson Canache took the lead in Turn 2. He made up two spots in the first two corners and just left everyone in the sunset. The plan was for him to give me a big lead and hopefully I could sit on it. He did his job and I was doing great until we got that yellow. Then, it turned into a fun, enjoyable battle with the No. 30 of Sean Edwards and the No. 22 of Bleekemolen.

“I love driving a Flying Lizard car, but we did get a little unlucky with that yellow and traffic and now we’re tied for the points lead.”

Indeed, Pumpelly and Canache leave Round Five in a four-way tie with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil for the GTC Drivers’ Championship lead. Flying Lizard is also tied with Alex Job Racing for the top spot in the GTC Team Championship.

Next up for Pumpelly is a trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a round of the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The Brickyard Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) is Friday, July 26, at 2 pm ET and is followed by the Brickyard Grand Prix (Rolex) at 5:30 pm.

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Series ALMS
Article type Race reports
Tags alms, canada, pumpelly, flying lizard, macneil, bleekemolen, mosport, canache jr

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