Mid-Ohio: SpeedSource race report

SpeedSource Mazda: Rain and Shine in Rolex Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course -- Mother Nature mixed it up a bit for the June 21 race, 9th in the Rolex Sports Car Series season. Going into the race, the SpeedSource team knew conditions would dictate...

SpeedSource Mazda: Rain and Shine in Rolex

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course -- Mother Nature mixed it up a bit for the June 21 race, 9th in the Rolex Sports Car Series season. Going into the race, the SpeedSource team knew conditions would dictate much of the strategy, but bad weather didn't dampen their ambition for another win for the #70 Castrol Syntec Mazdaspeed RX-8 GT or the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 GT. Little did they know, the team would have to wait until the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona to collect that trophy.

"We've put a lot of work into the car since Watkins Glen," said team owner Sylvain Tremblay at Mid-Ohio. "We're anticipating the stormy weather. We have a good strategy and the Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 GT is prepared by one of the hardest-working crews in the series. These upcoming races are important for our bid for the championship, and we're working nonstop," he added.

Starting fourth, the #70 Castrol Syntec Mazdaspeed RX-8 GT and the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 GT on the outside pole, started the race on slicks. Anticipating the changing weather conditions and numerous yellows complicated the race strategy. Starting driver Nick Ham kept the Mazda out of harm's way, and turned the car over to Tremblay mid-race. Determined not to let the rain beat him, he turned his quickest laps at the end, hoping to improve #70's 7th-place position. In the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 GT, owned by Emil Assentato, driver Jeff Segal pushed the #69 up to P2, and soldiered on in the waning minutes on heated rain tires, eventually giving up track position to change to slicks. Running out of time and caught in a front-straight melee, #69 finished in 9th.

"Certainly, these were not the results we aimed for," Tremblay said post-race. "While I'm glad the cars are not seriously hurt, some of the contact on track had nothing to do with the rain. We'll test the Castrol Syntec Mazda here on Monday and look forward to Daytona."

Daytona International Speedway -- SPEED race analysts calling the July 3rd Rolex Sports Car Series GT race commented that SpeedSource practically owns the track. As the 3-rotor Mazda zoomed through the final laps, the SpeedSource #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 GT gladly took ownership of its third-straight victory at the speedway, while gaining valuable points toward the championship. For the #69, a last-lap tangle with a DP ended the FXDD car's bid for a 2nd-place finish. Jeff Segal walked away unhurt from the rollover on the turn 3 banking. Thankful that Jeff escaped injury, #70's win was nonetheless dampened by the loss of a 2nd-place finish for #69.

Tremblay recapped the team's efforts. "I can't thank our sponsors enough. Castrol Syntec and Mazda brought us here and I am pleased to win this trophy for them. Nick qualified on pole, the crew was tremendous, and the strategy worked out flawlessly. It's good to be here, but I feel terrible for the #69. They had such a good run, and to see the car overturned in my mirror just devastated me. As a team we take the good and the bad. This turned out to be a day for both."

-credit; ss

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