St. Pete: Series spotlight - Ben Devlin

DEVLIN, B-K BACK AND READY FOR ST. PETERSBURG FIGHT Naturally, Ben Devlin wasn't sure what to do. He had never been here before, looking down at concrete and tarmac from inside of a race car.upside-down. It was one of those things...

DEVLIN, B-K BACK AND READY FOR ST. PETERSBURG FIGHT

Naturally, Ben Devlin wasn't sure what to do. He had never been here before, looking down at concrete and tarmac from inside of a race car.upside-down. It was one of those things you never think about until the moment it happens to you. Devlin's moment came at Sebring International Raceway nearly three weeks ago.

Video of his flip in B-K Motorsports' Mazda-powered Lola is all over the Internet. In the opening minutes of qualifying for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Devlin clipped the inside of Turn 1 and went spinning through the air, eventually landing on the tire barriers on the outside of the turn.

"It was a really strange feeling. I remember going into Turn 1 and the car just suddenly stepped out," he said. "It's very rare for our car to struggle with the rear grip. There may have been a little bump to the left or the right. I remember the car came out and tried to correct it. It touched the wall on the inside and the air got in the right-hand side of the car. Then I saw the tarmac and concrete. The steering wheel was actually bent from gripping it. I was trying to keep my head down and duck, roll and cover like they teach you in gymnastics."

The car was destroyed but the B-K crew set about quickly to turn tragedy into triumph. By Saturday morning's warm-up, the team had a new chassis ready to go and had its sights set on making the 12 Hours. Although a leaky fuel cell spoiled that, it created a moment that created fresh optimism for this weekend's Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg presented by XM Satellite Radio.

"It was a very upsetting moment not to start the race. The effort the guys put in was incredible and every one of them worked throughout the evening," Devlin beamed. "You can't describe how much they put in and how proud I am to be part of the team when you see the guys doing that. We're trying our hardest in the car to do the best we can and it's very easy to forget what sort of guys are behind you because you get so wrapped up with everything going on. But everyone really stepped up to the plate and did a fantastic job."

The next step for Devlin and B-K comes this weekend at the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg presented by XM Satellite Radio. He will team with Gerardo Bonilla in the one-hour, 55-minute race that airs live on ABC.

"'The will never to give up' is our motto and it was special to see everyone come together," Devlin said. "We're going to look back on this at the end of the season and see that as a turning point. The atmosphere here and the circuit is fantastic. It's one of the best I've ever been on. As street circuits go, it's one of the best in North America and one of the best I've ever been on."

The Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg presented by XM Satellite Radio is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 5 from the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be broadcast on ABC from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET on April 5. American Le Mans Radio coverage will be available on XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 from 5 to 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 6. Live American Le Mans Radio coverage will be available at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring.

-credit: alms

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Series ALMS
Drivers Ben Devlin , Gerardo Bonilla