DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - Multimatic Motorsports returned to the Ford fold with a better than anticipated performance as both the #15 and #158 Boss 302Rs finished in the top 10 of the BMW Performance 200. The event marked the first race of the 2014 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSC) and the first in the team's partnership with Miller Racing, which has been forged to return Mustang to its former glory in this highly competitive racing series.
Qualifying was a somewhat bizarre affair as a red flag stopped the session after just a few minutes with only three cars setting times. Proceedings then restarted with only three and a half minutes remaining, just enough time for one flying lap. Once again, Multimatic's star qualifier Jade Buford proved that he has no equal when the pressure is on, and with everybody else still bringing their tires up to temp he put the #15 Boss 302R on pole, with a little help from a well considered draft out of the bus-stop.
It was Buford's second consecutive Daytona CTSC pole and his seventh pole in the last 12 races, made even more impressive by the fact that he did it in the five year old, school-bus yellow Mustang campaigned by Multimatic back in 2010/11. The #158 unfortunately failed to qualify due to a power train issue and was forced to start at the back of field in P29.
Before the final caution, which undermined the team's fuel strategy, Scott Maxwell in the #15 and Billy Johnson in the #158 were on a strong charge towards the front. At the checkered flag, the top six cars were all BMWs, all of which had run lap times almost two seconds faster than in 2013, with the #15 finishing P7 and the #158 P9.
Highlights of the weekend were as follows:
- Hard work and tenacity in the two weeks between the "Roar" and the Daytona race ensured the Multimatic Mustangs would be up to speed. Practice saw both cars consistently setting top ten times despite a BoP disadvantage on the oval. The drivers and engineers quickly found a rhythm with one another and in Larry Holt's words, "It felt like everybody had been together for years rather than days."
- A red flag made qualifying a one lap shoot-out, which Jade Buford won with a lap time of 1:55.824, earning his 7th CTSC pole position and breaking the GS lap record which he set in 2013.
Multimatic Motorsports Team Principal, Larry Holt, commented: "I was encouraged by how fast the guys got back on top of the Mustangs. We have had very little time with them since making the decision to return to Ford and proper preparation only occurred since the "Roar", but we qualified and ran well although ultimately didn't have the speed to win the race. The pace in Continental has really picked-up with the top race lap being over two seconds faster than last year, which is odd because there have been no significant rules changes in that time.
Apparently we need to be taking another look at our approach to technical development, which is opportune as we are now building two new Boss 302Rs for the remainder of the season as the cars that we ran were both borrowed and a little long in the tooth. The tie-up with Miller Racing has turned out to be excellent and we have big plans for the future."