Birmingham: SpeeedSource race report

SpeeedSource Makes Headway in Alabama Heat Barber Motorsports Park -- It could have been anybody's day in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 on July 20. For SpeedSource, just getting to the grid was an event in itself. In ...

SpeeedSource Makes Headway in Alabama Heat

Barber Motorsports Park -- It could have been anybody's day in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 on July 20. For SpeedSource, just getting to the grid was an event in itself. In the practice just before qualifying, the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 GT took a hard hit from a DP, breaking both the axle and rear upright. Crew from both cars pitched in to make the repairs and get the car ready for qualifying. SpeedSource #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 GT took the pole. Then a technical infraction by another team moved #69 up to start P2, the first time both cars have qualified in the top spots.

"Qualifying went really well, considering where we were after the initial practice sessions. We had a lot of work to do Friday and this morning to get our cars right for this track. We were very lucky to get #69 fixed in time for qualifying. I'm really proud of my crew for their tremendous efforts -- they're true professionals. And #07's technical infraction at qualifying gave us an all-Mazda front row."

On the extremely hot and humid day, SpeedSource ran its usual race strategy. Nick Ham kept the #70 out of trouble in the front pack, turning the car over to team owner Sylvain Tremblay mid-way. With a clean pit-stop, #70 regained the hunt. At the final pit-stop, Tremblay put Ham back in. As on the equally hot day at Lime Rock, the rested driver took the wheel for a final stint.

With a disheartening problem with the #69's power steering, the car went behind the wall for work, returning to the track to finish in P17 and give owner Emil Assentato and driver Jeff Segal the required seat time.

As the race clock wound down, the #70 did not make headway against the race leader during numerous restarts and seemed stuck in P2.

"Nick did such an incredible job at the end," Tremblay said after the race. "We were P2 for such a long time, and Nick made a desperation move to pass for the lead. He flat-spotted the tires and somehow it stuck. On the final green, he drove hard to keep #87 behind him. That's what racing is. It could have been anybody's day."

With this third win this season, #70 now matches it 2007 efforts in class wins. The team needs just one more lap to lead 500 laps this year. The championship lead is now 14 points out of reach. Time will tell if the team can grab hold and hang on.

- credit: ssre

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Emil Assentato , Sylvain Tremblay , Jeff Segal , Nick Ham
Teams SpeedSource