Sunset Hills Winery Mustang wins Season-Finale at VIR with Canney, Plumb and Plumb; Second-closest margin of victory in KONI history after six hours of racing (5 October, 2008)-- Mike Canney, Hugh Plumb, and Matt Plumb combined to bring a...
Sunset Hills Winery Mustang wins Season-Finale at VIR with Canney, Plumb and Plumb; Second-closest margin of victory in KONI history after six hours of racing
(5 October, 2008)-- Mike Canney, Hugh Plumb, and Matt Plumb combined to bring a maiden Grand-Am KONI Challenge race victory for the No. 60 Sunset Hills Vineyard Ford Mustang FR500C at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday in the final race of the 2008 KONI Challenge season.
Hugh opened the race from fifth on the grid, but his strong qualifying effort was soon set aside as contact from another car on the opening lap sent him to the pits for repairs. He returned to action last in the pack but moved steadily forward to take the lead before turning the car over to Canney.
Running in the same state as sponsor Sunset Hills Winery, Canney kept the No. 60 in the lead pack through his middle stint despite some slick conditions before turning the car over to Matt Plumb. The first-time Mustang racer made it look like he'd spent years in the machine as he roared to the front, establishing a ten-second lead and running out front for a race-high 44 laps before turning the car back over to his brother Hugh for the final leg of the race.
Plumb, who scored a win with his brother Matt in the 2006 ST edition of the VIR race and then took second in the 2007 GS VIR race, once again showed his VIR strength as he fought to the front and battled with the sister Rehagen Racing entry of Dean Martin in the closing laps. After taking the lead, the KONI season had one final drama as a blown motor from one of the championship contenders caused a yellow flag to clean the track, setting up a green-white-checkered finish as Plumb took the second-closest victory in KONI Challenge history with his .208-seconds win after six hours of hard fought racing.
"This is my first win in this series, so it's really exciting, especially to do it like we did today," said Canney. "Our crew chief Quinn Conda had a great set-up on the Mustang and the car handled really well during my stint. I'm happy to get a 1-2 finish for Rehagen Racing. It's an exciting way to finish this season off and it's also a great way to get things going for next year. I've learned a lot this year, so I'm thrilled to end the season on a high note like this!"
"This is an amazing day for the Sunset Hills Vineyard car, we've had a run of bad luck this season but we finally did it and got the win today," said Hugh Plumb. "I thought that there was going to be a huge pile up with how slippery the track was on the last two laps. I had a really big battle with Dean (Martin) going, and it was great to come out of that on top and have Rehagen Racing finish 1-2. After I got hit on the first lap I had to take an extra pit stop to fix the damage and then I just had to put my head down, be consistent, and catch the field. But the car was great, and we just kept moving forward all day. This is a great result, and I'm happy to be able to share it with Mike and Matt."
"I'm just happy the team waited until I got involved to win a race!" joked Matt Plumb from the victory rostrum. "A big thanks to (crew chief) Quinn Conda and to everyone at Rehagen Racing. The car was great today. Even though I was up front, I just tried to save the brakes as much as possible, and Hugh did the rest of the work to get back to the front and stay there to the finish. It was a nail biter to have the green-white-checker like that to finish the race, a lot more exciting than I was hoping for. But Hugh just stayed cool and did a great job."