With another really solid driver line up for Grand Am Cup's Lime Rock event, Kensai Racing with Compass360's Acura RSXs were in the top five on the leaderboard in every session. The team welcomed Blackforest's Tom Nastasi as co-driver with car ...
With another really solid driver line up for Grand Am Cup's Lime Rock event, Kensai Racing with Compass360's Acura RSXs were in the top five on the leaderboard in every session. The team welcomed Blackforest's Tom Nastasi as co-driver with car #75's Travis Walker, while Aaron Povoledo joined Karl Thomson in the #76 car. Nastasi, who's usual mount is a GS-class Mustang, was comfortable quickly in the much smaller and lighter front-wheel drive Kensai cars.
Friday practice was held under wet, sodden skies, and the team took the opportunity to do some set-up improvements, with the cars getting quicker with each run. Saturday morning brought clearler skies, and the track began to dry. Unfortunately, in the first practice session, Nastasi, while on a flier, got off track and into the dirt after the last corner. The car got back on track, hooked up and sailed into the inside wall. The damage was extensive, damaging front and rear suspension on the driver's site, and shattering the rear hatch window. Thankfully, Nastasi was uninjured, but although the crew worked feverishly to get the pieces repaired, it was clear that #75 was finished for the weekend.
Qualifying, then, was left up to the #76 car alone. Thomson was caught in traffic for the first two-thirds of the session, so when a yellow flag dropped, crew chief Ray Lee held the car back, sending it out into clean air. Thomson made the most of the strategy during his single flying lap, putting the car fourth on the grid, and just 2/100ths of a second behind the third-pace Acura of Hugh Plumb.
>From the start of the race, Thomson hounded Plumb as the top four cars broke away from the pack. On the third lap, Plumb slowed in corner two, allowing the #76 car alongside into corner three. Thomson thought they'd go side-by-side through the corner and up the back straight, but Plumb turned in quickly, tagging the front left wheel, damaging the suspension and putting the #76 car out of the race.
"Our car was running better than Plumb's, and I had the measure of him in every corner," said Thomson. "Hugh obviously didn't expect me to be so far alongside so soon. When I saw him coming over, I tried to duck back inside, but we still made contact. I'm just so disappointed because it was clear we had a winning car today. Aaron and I were both really on our game, and the car was awesome to drive."
So far the Kensai Racing with Compass360 cars have shown really good speed and are looking forward to the second half of the season to deliver some more solid results. Mid Ohio is the next event for the series -- with Povoledo and Thomson together again in #76, while Taz Harvey will join Walker -- on June 23rd to 25th.