SpeedSource Returns To the Podium at Homestead
It was back to business as usual for the SpeedSource team following January’s season opening Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Round 2 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 brought the team, and South Florida natives Sylvain Tremblay and Jeff Segal, to their home track at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8, defending champions of last year’s race, a hard-fought 2nd place finish earned co-drivers Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal a return trip to the podium. Rounding out a great team weekend, Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito captured a 4th place finish in the #70 Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8.
The SpeedSource crew was hard at work during February’s break from racing action. The grueling 24-hour race and competition adjustments from the Series meant the team had to reconfigure much of the racecar to prepare for the Homestead-Miami race. Defending GT Class champions Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal also looked to reignite the drive that led them to the 2010 title; which started with a win at Homestead last year. Both crew and driver worked hard to nail down a winning setup during Friday’s practice sessions.
In typical fashion, Assentato would be tasked with the critical role of handling qualifying and starting duty. A caution period 30 minutes into the race provided the ideal time for co-driver Jeff Segal to take over control. Segal diligently pushed the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 into contention. At the race’s final pit stop, the crew elected to change just three of the tires in order to beat the rest of the competitors out of the pit. This call proved to be the game-changer as Segal was cross the finish line in 2nd place. “That was a great call by the team and something we discussed before the race maybe doing,” recalled Segal. “I was a little bit nervous about it thinking I would be a sitting duck, but we did it all last year and it worked this year too.”
SpeedSource teammate Sylvain Tremblay qualified the #70 Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8 in the 5th position for the race start. At the wave of the green flag, Tremblay quickly assumed 4th in GT and settled into a stead race pace. Tire wear is always a critical factor at Homestead-Miami and the team knew that they would have to be patient and execute some great strategy to achieve optimal results. Fantastic pit stops early on saw the #70 cycle back-and-forth between the GT lead. With an hour to go co-driver, and last year’s Mesco Rookie of the Year, Jonathan Bomarito took over to drive the race’s closing laps. Bomarito drove a fantastic stint to earn a 4th place finish for the #70 Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8. The finish rewarded the team with valuable championship points and the #70 now sits 3rd in the GT Class standings.
The team will have a few weeks to prepare for the next even at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Catch the action on SPEED April 10th at 12 PM ET.