Road America: Primetime Race Group race report

FEINBERG WINS "BACK TO BACK" RACES AND LEADS CHAMPIONSHIP August 18th, 2009 Fort Lauderdale, Florida- Joel Feinberg and the Primetime team continue their quest for a series championship in IMSA Lites, as well as a podium finish for their...


August 18th, 2009 Fort Lauderdale, Florida- Joel Feinberg and the Primetime team continue their quest for a series championship in IMSA Lites, as well as a podium finish for their American Le Mans Series GT2 effort in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin.

As Road America hosted the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase, the Primetime team had yet another busy week of campaigning 4 cars for a triple race weekend. Feinberg entered this event in a hunt for his first series championship with a four point deficit to take the lead. With no previous setup information for the #7 Elan DP-02 on Road America's 4 mile track, the team spent the two practice days trying to find the best balance between aerodynamic speed and mechanical grip.

By the time qualifying rolled around the team was convinced that they had nailed the setup and that they had the fastest car on the track. During the 20 minute session to determine track position, Feinberg laid down an astonishing lap time of 2:06.6 with an average lap speed of over 115mph. He not only took the pole position, buthe did it by more than a full secondbetter his competitors behind, setting a new IMSA Lites track record that would hold up for the entire weekend.

Trailing in the championship, Feinberg needed to make no mistakes during the double header weekend as well as hold off a handful of fierce competitors at his heels. Starting from the front of the pack Joel set the pace for the start of the race but was waived off as the starting formation was too spread out for a green flag and the field would need to rejoin for a restart. The next time around wasn't much different as it was waived off again and the clock continued to countdown on the 30 minute sprint. The field again lined up and on the third attempt, it was green flag racing.

Unfortunately this did not last long as the high speed, ultra technical track would take two prisoners within minutes of the start. The fastest corner of the track at over 150mph claimed the #12, and #79 cars causing a full course caution that would take 2-3 laps behind the pace car to clean up. On the race restart, Feinberg was over taken in turn one as the #13 car was able to pull a draft on the long front straightaway but Feinberg quickly regained his position within the next lap before yet another two car incident in the same corner called for another full course caution.

With only 7 minutes remaining, the carnage would not be cleared in time and the race would end under caution with Feinberg taking his fourth win of the year as well as the overall point lead in the driver and team championship. Despite the abbreviated short race, Feinberg did what he needed, when he needed and was able to also set the fast lap of the race putting him on the pole position for the following days round 10.

"A win is a win" said Feinberg, "I knew I had the best car on the track and I knew what I had to do to stay ahead of these guys".

The second days race would start off similar with a wave off on lap one, followed by a restart where two drafting cars took the lead into turn one. Feinberg stayed tight behind and was there to capitalize on any mistakes made by the two cars ahead. He would regain P2 quickly overtaking Gary Gibson in turn 11 and continued after Jonathon Gore for P1 which came only 4 turns later. Feinberg would stay ahead the remainder of the race and clinch his 5th win of the season as well as 31 point lead for the driver championship.

Immediately following his podium ceremony, Feinberg went straight to the race grid for the feature (2 hour and 45 minute) American Le Mans Series race with Primetime's GT2 Dodge Viper. Co-driver Chris Hall would give Feinberg some time to breathe and would take the helm for the start of the race where the duo would be chasing the field after qualifying less than two seconds behind the pole sitter in the factory BMW effort. As a low budget privateer team, Primetime managed to find over 3 seconds per lap from the previous years event as the rest of the GT field seemed to be 1 second slower. This being a true testament to the team's improvement and dedication, they were looking for big results this time around.

Hall maintained a consistent race pace for most of his stint holding on to his 9th in class position until finding his way into the gravel in turn 6 while trying to maximize his exit speed. Unfortunately this would put the #11 Viper a lap down to the field and in an unlikely position to make up the deficit. With an hour and 30 minutes remaining Feinberg would take over and try his best to stay intact and capitalize on any mistakes ahead. Turning his best laps of the week, Feinberg delivered the Vipers fast lap of the race in lap 36 with a 2:11.1 putting him at that time, quicker than any of the other "American Made" race cars.

While working diligently to really show the Vipers ability, Feinberg would not be able to make the remainder of the race without coming into the pits for more fuel. At the 2 hour mark another caution had the field diving in for any last minute fuel, tires, or driver changes. Entering the pit, Feinberg hit his marks and with a quick splash of fuel nailed the pit exit with a stylish burnout and a cloud of rubber in his wake…..

After the restart the team was basically locked into position as the car ahead was a lap up and the car behind was 10 down. The only thing that could change the situation for Primetime would be someone else's misfortune. That misfortune turned out to be their own when coming off the 165mph back straightaway, Feinberg lost control under braking while trying to set up a pass and found himself buried in the sand without a fruity umbrella drink to sip on. This was the last thing the team needed with only 18 minutes remaining.

Fortunately nothing was broken and within minutes the Viper was back on track and in no worse position, just further from its next competitor ahead. The #11 car would ultimately take the checkered 9th in class, logging their 6th top ten finish, as well as a 23 point lead for Feinberg in the privateer "Founder's Cup" championship. "This was a great weekend for the team, we dominated the IMSA Lites races and really got the Viper working good. Having to constantly re-develop this Viper from track to track, we finally found what works and will be capitalizing on our success with the next two events being similar tracks to this one", said Feinberg.

Primetime Race Group's next stop is the 2009 Grand Prix of Mosport in Bowmanville Ontario on August 30th.

-credit: prg

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Chris Hall , Joel Feinberg , Gary Gibson