SpeedSource Caps Year with Pole and Podium at Virginia 6-Hour The onset of autumn in Virginia set the perfect scene for SpeedSource's season finale at Virginia International Raceway, and the team's results turned out to be as varied as the range...
SpeedSource Caps Year with Pole and Podium at Virginia 6-Hour
The onset of autumn in Virginia set the perfect scene for SpeedSource's season finale at Virginia International Raceway, and the team's results turned out to be as varied as the range of weather. The October 6-7 weekend started off very well for SpeedSource. Despite constant rain, Speedsource RX-8s placed 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 6th in the first official practice. Leading the pack was young hotshoe Rob Huffmaster.
"Rob has really developed as an all around driver throughout 2006. His maturity and speed behind the wheel are amazing for a 20-year-old driver. I feel that this is a sign of things to come for 2007, and we look forward to having Rob and his father, Ray, back with SpeedSource as solid race and championship contenders next season," stated team owner Sylvain Tremblay.
Speedsource also welcomed legendary Derek Bell to the No. 66 Mazda RX-8. Despite never having driven the challenging Virginia track or the Mazda RX-8, Derek posted a 6th fastest lap time in practice 4 and assisted his good friend Marcelo Abello and Nick Fanelli in the race.
Despite hard rains that limited track time during practice, Sylvain Tremblay took the wheel for qualifying and placed the No. 70 Mazdaspeed RX-8 on the pole, his 7th career Grand-Am Cup pole position. SpeedSource continued its strong run in qualifying: L.P. Dumoulin placed No. 69 in 3rd; Rob Huffmaster's No. 65 secured 5th place; and Ken Dobson took 11th for No. 68.
Though the weather held steady for the long race, the battle for the ST championship became anticlimactic at the start, as a mechanical issue on the first lap forced Sylvain to pull the No. 70 Mazda RX-8 back to the trailer. Although this ended the No. 70's bid for the championship, it did not deter the SpeedSource crew from focusing 100% of their efforts to get the maximum for the 4 remaining Mazda RX-8s.
The No. 68 Mazda RX-8 carried the banner for SpeedSource and charged to a very rewarding 3rd place in the strong 34-car Street Tuner field.
"Ken and Scott both drove a fantastic race to secure their first podium of the season. We had a couple of set-up issues that held Ken back in qualifying, but once we sorted things out for the race, Ken did great. Scott continues to deliver strong and consistent stints, and Ken led several laps," commented Tremblay.
The father and son duo of Ray and Rob Huffmaster proved their 5th place qualifying effort was no fluke by holding strong for the entire 6 hours of the event.
"Ray did a very solid job behind the wheel, and Rob continued to lay down some blisteringly quick times," said Tremblay. In the end, the No. 65 Mazda RX-8 finished in 6th place.
The trio of Jose Armengol, L.P. Dumoulin, and Beau Buisson was strong all day in their No. 69 Mazda RX-8 and led several laps. With a slight off during the race costing them two laps, the drivers and the SpeedSource crew persevered for a strong 9th place finish.
Marcelo Abello and Nick Fanelli, with driving assistance from Derek Bell, improved 21 positions during the race to 10th place. This great run for the No. 66 Mazda RX-8 marked its best finish of the season.
"The whole SpeedSource crew did a fantastic job throughout the 6 hour event. Finishing 4 cars in the top 10 says a lot about the crew's desire to deliver top-level prep and excellent pit stops," stated No. 70 driver and Technical Director David Haskell.