Snatched from the Jaws of Victory, Rum Bum Racing's Second Consecutive Win Not to Be HOMESTEAD, Fla., 6 March -- The plan was working beautifully. Gianluis Bacardi started the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing BMW M3 from 23rd on the grid and dutifully ...
Snatched from the Jaws of Victory, Rum Bum Racing's Second Consecutive Win Not to Be
HOMESTEAD, Fla., 6 March -- The plan was working beautifully. Gianluis Bacardi started the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing BMW M3 from 23rd on the grid and dutifully managed the traffic ahead. By lap 18 of the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge Miami 200, when it was time to turn the car over to co-driver Matt Plumb, he had climbed into fifth place. After pitting twice under caution, Plumb moved into the lead on lap 60 and was breaking away from the pack. Then, with the finish nearly in sight, it became a case of too many cars on a relatively short race track.
Starting his 80th lap of the Homestead Miami Speedway, Plumb was well in control of the race until ahead of him in turn 1, a lapped car spun and the ensuing chain reaction caught Plumb out. With no where to go, he rear ended a fellow BMW M3 ahead of him.
The impact broke the hood latch and suddenly, Plumb's view was totally blocked by the Rum Bum colors slammed up against the windshield. He faced 2.3 miles of driving blind, with only the voice of his spotter informing him of when to turn. Finally, agonizingly, he neared the pit entrance when he brushed against the protective barrier of the pit wall. It was the final straw. The team's bid for a second victory came to a helpless end.
Back in the garage, Plumb was in disbelief.
"We were in total conservation mode. The car was running great, particularly on the oval where we could stay flat while others had to lift. Then coming into turn 1, suddenly everyone ahead of me slowed to almost a complete stop. I was already running 20 mph faster than some of the slower cars. I hit the brakes as quickly and as hard as I could, but there just wasn't any room to get it slowed down in time and I hit the back of the Fall-Line Motorsports BMW. By turn 2, the hood came loose and I couldn't see a thing. I unbuckled my seat belts to try and lean out the window, but my spotter had to tell me where to go and we very nearly did it without hitting a thing until the very end coming into pit lane," said Plumb.
Bacardi showed the true potential of the Rum Bum Racing BMW M3 right from the start. It didn't take long for the hard-charging 20-year old from Miami to claw back one position after another. Only nine laps in, he was already in the Top 10. With each subsequent lap came another position gain before moving up to the top-five ahead of the driver change, just like he had done at Daytona.
"The car was awesome and I kept getting faster and faster, having a blast out there," said Bacardi. "So we were in perfect shape, but this is a really disappointing way to finish. I'm glad Matt is ok, and I know its just racing, so we will just regroup and look to come back stronger at Barber."
"Gianluis drove a marvelous opening stint. He drove aggressively, but sensibly, just as we wanted him to. It was going so well," added Plumb.
Plumb rejoined the race in 27th place, but the combination of other cars pitting later and his ability to drive the oval portion of the track quickly allowed him to swiftly regain position.
When he pitted again under the next full course caution on lap 33, the No.13 was up to 12th place. A quick stop meant Plumb would only drop three positions and within two laps of the green flag he was back within the Top-10.
The next yellow flew only seven laps later. Once more, Plumb dove into the pits to get fuel and tires that would see him through to the finish. He'd dropped ten places, but no matter. The Rum Bum Racing Squad knew he was fast enough to make it up.
Once more, from the 20th position, Plumb made his way through the traffic, practically gaining a place every lap. On lap 64, the Rum Bum Racing machine took over the lead and immediately begin to open a margin. Fifteen laps later, Plumb had the full length of front straight with daylight behind him. Unfortunately, the lead, and nearly two hours worth of work was shattered in an instant.
Next up for Rum Bum Racing will be the third round of the Continental Sports Car Challenge at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama on April 8-10.
-source: rum bum racing