WeatherTech.com's MacNeil has Two IMSA Cup Podiums in AJR Porsche at Sebring
Schein has trying weekend
Sebring, FL (March 18, 2011) - Alex Job Racing (AJR) made a strong return to the IMSA GT3 Challenge by Yokohama Series at Sebring. Cooper MacNeil driving the No. 20 WeatherTech/AJR Porsche had two second place finishes on the weekend. Teammate Michael Schein finished the weekend's races in tenth and 28th.
The first race, ran yesterday, had MacNeil starting his No. 20 WeatherTech.com/AJR/Porsche from the front row in the second position. Schein started his No. 21 AJR Porsche from tenth after overcoming some car issues in the last practice.
At the start, MacNeil, from Hinsdale, Illinois, challenged for the lead into Turn One, but soon settled into second place. Running times that frequently eclipsed those of the leader; MacNeil was able to stay within striking distance. Late in the race a fuel pick-up issue began to stumble the engine, so he settled for second place.
"I was surprised in qualifying," MacNeil said. "In practice I was running like eighth and I knew there was more in the car. I went as fast I could without hurting the car, the tires or myself. I was really happy with the second place starting position."
"In the first race I had a good car, Enrique (Cisneros, winner) had a little bit more. I was able to pull out second. We had a little fuel issue at the end, but I was able to keep my place. This was my first race in this series and to start it off with a second place is pretty good. The track was getting slick at the end with how hot it was out there. The Alex Job prepared car was phenomenal. I also need to thank WeatherTech.com, the floor mats in there helped me to go faster."
Michael Schein, Glen Cove, New York, had a left rear shock break in practice and had to use another part not to the same spec in qualifying. The team was able to get the car back to 100% for the race.
"Qualifying was rough," Schein said. "In the practice prior to qualifying we broke a shock and had to put one in as a stop-gap until we got a new one. That affected the set-up of the car. The rear end was a lot stiffer which made it tough to put down the power and we ended up tenth."
In the race we had the car back like it was in practice and it felt good. I was able to get up to sixth place and was feeling pretty strong. I was going into Turn Three and had too much brake and spun the car. I was able to recover and get a place back."
The second race had MacNeil starting third, based on fast lap time from the first race, and Schein taking the green in sixth. The start of the race had the front competitors taking an early jump from the apex of Turn 17 for the long run to Turn One. MacNeil and Schein settled in, running together in fifth and sixth respectively. On lap 12 a caution bunched the 39 car field back-up playing right into the hands of the AJR cars who had been managing their tires. On the restart the field went into Turn Two and some shoving ensued with the top three runners having contact. MacNeil came through the melee in second while Schein got turned facing traffic in the grass in Turn Three. MacNeil would take the checker in second with Schein classified in 28th.
"At the start everyone went really early. Cars were all over the place and I was able to weave my way through and stay in the top five. After the first yellow I had a lot of pick-up on my tires. The guys at the front went hot into Turn Two, got loose and went everywhere. I got lucky and came out in second place. It was a good weekend with two podium finishes. The AJR guys did a great job preparing the WeatherTech.com Porsche."
Schein was in a position for a podium finish, but was caught up in the Turn Two fiasco.
"I had a clean start, I was able to stay in sixth," Schein said. "I was looking to stay in the hunt, take care of my tires, don't overheat them and wait for the end. That was working pretty well for me. I was up into fifth, got by Cooper, then I settled in and waited for someone in front of me to make a mistake. I got a good restart after the yellow and moved into fourth. Then the two NGT cars in front of me hit each other going into Turn Two. Then the lead car spun into three, causing the NGT car between us to spin. I had to go into the grass to avoid them. I hit a bump. I had the throttle on and lopped it there. The 40 car field was coming at me and I had to wait for them to pass. It was a disappointing end. I was having a solid race and didn't get the finish I wanted."
The IMSA GT3 Challenge by Yokohama series will travel to Miller Motorsports Park on April 29 - May 1 for rounds three and four.