Jeff Segal and No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT Team Finish 10th in Canadian Tire 200 at The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 13, 2011) – Reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT champion Jeff Segal, co-champion teammate Emil Assentato and the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT team, drove to a 10th-place finish in the Canadian Tire 200 at The Glen Saturday evening after a race filled with ups and downs on the 2.45-mile NASCAR short-course at Watkins Glen International.
After rolling off the grid in the fourth position, starting driver Assentato worked his way to third before handing the wheel over to Segal just past the 50 minute mark in the timed two-hour race. Segal returned to the track in 14th-place and continued to pick up positions throughout his stint, running as high as second-place with just 40 minutes remaining.
When many of the front-running teams decided to take a gamble on fuel-stretching strategy, the FXDD team utilized a more conservative approach. Segal brought the No. 69 down pit road soon after reaching second place for fresh Continental tires and fuel, ensuring that the team would be able to make it to the finish line.
“It just seems like we got the strategy wrong,” Segal said. “In these short races, they get a little hectic and the margin for error is very, very small. If you zig when you should zag, it’s a 10th-place finish even with a really good car. It’s really a shame.”
While driving through Turn 1 with a little over 15 minutes remaining, Segal had a quick spin but was able to continue without losing a lap for the top-10 showing. He also set the fastest race lap of the eight Mazda RX-8 GTs running in the Canadian Tire 200.
Saturday’s sprint at The Glen kicked off a three-race stretch run to the 2011 GT championships that includes Montreal next weekend and the season-ending race at Mid-Ohio next month. With only two races remaining to tighten the championship battle, everyone in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is focused on hitting their stride at the right point in the season.
“Emil drove a fantastic stint tonight,” Segal said. “He’s been driving incredibly well this season and he did it again this race, which is really important for us. The car was tremendous tonight, it was really, really good. All the credit in the world to the SpeedSource guys for turning the weekend around. We’ll go to Montreal with a great car.”
Segal, Assentato and the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT team now rank sixth in both the 2011 driver and team championships with 249 points heading to Montreal. They are just two points out of fifth place and trail the class-leading No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports team by 23 markers.