Mid-Ohio: SpeedSource race report

SpeedSource Regains Momentum at Mid-Ohio Lexington, OH - After a hard crash at the Grand-Am Rolex Series June 9 race at Watkins Glen, the SpeedSource Mazdaspeed No. 70 GT RX-8 arrived at the Mid-Ohio Emco Gears Classic ...

SpeedSource Regains Momentum at Mid-Ohio

Lexington, OH - After a hard crash at the Grand-Am Rolex Series June 9 race at Watkins Glen, the SpeedSource Mazdaspeed No. 70 GT RX-8 arrived at the Mid-Ohio Emco Gears Classic rebuilt, better than ever, and ready to race. Team owner and driver Sylvain Tremblay, who took the 90 mph hit, spoke highly of the team's commitment which put SpeedSource in the points lead for the season's first four races.

"Every team member worked his heart out this past week to get us here," said Tremblay of the rebuild effort. "We are back on track thanks to the dedication of the people around us. Everyone involved -- from Mazdaspeed to all our vendors to Riley Technologies - everyone stepped up to keep us in contention for this championship. Our sponsors are so much more to us than just a sticker on the side of the car. When we needed them they were there for us."

Nick Ham proved the merit of the rotary-powered car's return with a third position starting spot for Sunday's two-and-a-half hour run.

With Team Technical Director David Haskell managing strategy, the No. 70 took the mandatory early pit stop under the first lap yellow. Ham ran a steady pace, and caught another yellow to pit for fuel and tires on lap 22. Despite a spin on lap 33, Ham turned in a brilliant run for his long stint, led 12 laps when he gained two spots on the lap 10 restart, and brought the car in for its final pitstop in fifth place. Under green, Tremblay took over on lap 64; a fastest race lap of 1:26.334 on lap 64 quickly showed his determination to bring the car up from its 10th place position after the pitstop. Multiple restarts gave Tremblay the opportunities he needed. The experience that has won four team championships came through as Tremblay leapfrogged through the field, three times passing two cars on a single lap to clinch a second place finish for the team.

For Emil Assentato's No. 69 FXDD GT RX-8, the race began well with a 10th position start, and Assentato's lead-off stint put down some of the car's best laps this season, with a fastest lap of 1:26.793. Assentato worked the car as high as 4th place before pitting on lap 54 for the driver change. The day proved much shorter for co-driver Nick Longhi, who spun twice before debris in the front end overheated the car and ended the day for No. 69 on lap 58, a 19th place finish.

Post-race, Tremblay analyzed the day's work. "Obviously, we still have work to do on our car and we don't have the speed that the Porsches have. We're just proud of the effort -- proud to be on the podium again -- and thank you to everyone for their support. To win would have been the fairy tale ending, but we'll take this finish. Clearly we're disappointed with the No. 69. Obviously the damage got repaired from the Watkins Glen hit, but this was a secondary effect of that hit. Emil kept it on pace and it's a shame Nick [Longhi] couldn't have a run in the car, because Emil was running strong."

The team travels next to the July 5 Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona, where the team kicked off its first full season of GT competition with a fifth place finish in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

-credit: ss

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Emil Assentato , Nick Longhi , David Haskell , Sylvain Tremblay , Nick Ham
Teams SpeedSource