Ende and Pumpelly Take Third Straight KONI Challenge Top-10 Result at Watkins Glen; Duo Maintains Top-10 Spot in Standings while Schroeder and Ludwig Finish 24th PETALUMA, Calif.- For the third consecutive race in the 2008 Grand-Am KONI...
Ende and Pumpelly Take Third Straight KONI Challenge Top-10 Result at Watkins Glen; Duo Maintains Top-10 Spot in Standings while Schroeder and Ludwig Finish 24th
PETALUMA, Calif.- For the third consecutive race in the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, teammates Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly brought home a top-10 result, this time with a seventh-place performance in Saturday's race at Watkins Glen International.
Meanwhile, Peter Ludwig and Scott Schroeder came home 24th from the two-and-a-half hour event in the No. 41 Cohen Financial/Wolf-Tec Inc./www.WTInc.com/Ludwig-Motorsports Porsche 997 due to an accident. Both cars competed in the Grand Sport (GS) class.
The result for Ende and Pumpelly was not without adventure. The duo was forced to switch from the team's No. 39 machine to the No. 40 The DigiTrust Group/Adam's Polishes/Fox River Coffee/Sherab-Khandro.com Porsche 997 when the No. 39 was damaged in a crash during Thursday's test day at The Glen.
"The entire GS crew deserves an award for the performance they gave this weekend," said TRG team manager Jason Myers. "During the first test day, we had a car get severely damaged in a crash and the crew had to perform a chassis swap. The entire crew worked around the clock to get the car put together, and it was out in time for the very next practice session. I have never been more proud of my team."
Ende placed the No. 40 machine 16th on the starting grid and drove a clean opening stint before turning the car over to Pumpelly for the finish. As is his custom, Pumpelly gained several positions on course and was in position for a top-five result before a flat tire on the final lap relegated him to seventh at the finish.
The performance comes on the heels of a sixth-place performance at Mosport last month and a season-best second-place outing at Lime Rock Park in May. It also allowed Pumpelly and Ende to maintain a top-10 spot in the GS driver standings and they currently trail co-leaders Jeff Segal and Jep Thornton by 38 points with six races still remaining on the schedule.
"Watkins was one of the roughest events we've had in a long time," Ende said. "I got things going by crashing our car in the rain on the Thursday test day, and unfortunately it was big enough to sideline the 39 car for the rest of the weekend. I wish I could say that I was taken out, or that there was some excuse, but I just screwed up and put the car in the tire wall. We are lucky enough to have a third car on hand and I've absolutely got to hand it to the crew, the job they did to get the 40 car ready for the track Thursday night and Friday morning, and then get into shape for the race all they way up through Saturday afternoon was absolutely amazing. I cannot say enough about the ability of our guys and the effort they gave; we would have been nowhere without them.
"The race was definitely not a classic. Two thirds of the time was spent under caution, which is simply embarrassing. With all of the time spent behind the pace car, traditional race strategy gets a back seat to luck and some of the cars who finished in front of us got through the race on a single early pit stop. We were looking for a lot more green flag running, but those are the breaks I suppose. Seventh is by no means a horrid place to wind up, and Spencer and I are now in the top 10 in the driver's points standings, but I felt our crew deserved better."
While they had a comparatively easier time through the early portion of the weekend at Watkins Glen, Schroeder and Ludwig had misfortune at the most inopportune time, the race itself. Ludwig started the No. 41 Porsche from 14th on the grid and quickly worked his way forward into the top five before turning the car over to Schroeder.
Schroeder was working his way back toward the front of the field when he was hit by another GS car. The incident forced Schroeder to also make contact with a Street Tuner (ST) class car and when all was said and done, the youngster was left with two flat tires. As a result, the No. 41 teammates came home one lap down in 24th place. The result ended a three-race streak in which the No. 41 team finished inside the top 16 spots, and dropped them from seventh to ninth in the team point standings.
"The drivers did incredibly well this weekend," Myers said. "The first test day was a bit of a throw-away because of rain, but it gave the drivers some good time to learn the track. The drivers gave good feedback and the engineer and car crews were able to get them dialed in extremely well for race time. It's too bad that both teams had some bad luck, or I'm sure they would have both finished inside the top 10."