Strong points haul for Mustang championship leader Empringham Grand Am Cup Championship leader David Empringham left Barber Motorsports Park today with another strong points haul aboard the Ford Racing Technology Mustang FR500C entered by ...
Strong points haul for Mustang championship leader Empringham
Grand Am Cup Championship leader David Empringham left Barber Motorsports Park today with another strong points haul aboard the Ford Racing Technology Mustang FR500C entered by Multimatic Motorsports.
Empringham and partner Scott Maxwell finished fourth but had to endure a nervous post-race after initially being hit with a 90 second penalty by race officials after late race contact between Maxwell and the #09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 of David Russell and the No. 35 Schuitemaker Motorsports Nissan 350Z.
A post-race protest by the Multimatic team was upheld after race officials consulted video evidence of the clash. The fourth-place finish allowed Empringham to maintain the lead in the GS driver standings. He now leads team-mate Maxwell and BMW driver Justin Marks, who are tied for second place, by 35 points, 205-170, after seven of 11 races.
Empringham led the opening 17 laps after starting from pole position before pitting for fuel under the first yellow flag period. He swapped for Maxwell on lap 42 during one of the seven caution lap periods which slowed the race for 32 of the 72 laps.
While the #05 Mustang FR500C grabbed a strong points haul, the #55 car of James Gue and Gunnar Jeannette was not as fortunate.
Gue moved up from sixth on the grid to fourth but on lap 24 he became the innocent victim of a three car chain collision, pushing the #55 Mustang into a 360 degree spin. Gue continued only to find he had no brakes when he arrived at the following corner. The young American star returned to the pit where the Multimatic Motorsports crew replaced a broken brake line.
Gunnar Jeannette climbed aboard the car and began a fight back only to clash with the Porsche of Kelly Collins on lap 50, causing heavy body damage to the side and rear of the car.
Jeannette later had to serve a one minute penalty in the pits for what race officials deemed "avoidable contact" - dropping the car back to 38th position overall at the finish.
"We had an issue at the end of race when a corner worker alleged Scotty had made contact with another car but after reviewing the video, Grand-Am reversed their decision on the penalty and that is very fair and the right thing to do. I have thank them for doing a good job on that and giving us a fair hearing," Multimatic Vice President and Technical Director, Larry Holt said.
"We ran a conservative strategy today and the yellow flag periods fell our way for our pit stops. The guys who gambled a little bit ended up first and second and were able to get to the finish because all the yellow flag running at the finish.
"Realistically we had a second place car behind the BMW of Marks and Auberlen. The BMWs are just too quick and they went steaming past us at the finish. There is no doubt in my mind that we still have a bit of a performance gap to the BMW so we have to work hard to bridge that."