Scores third consecutive podium finish in Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase.
With a textbook performance from both sides of the pit wall, Action Express Racing carried its championship momentum into the third round of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship when the team took its third consecutive podium of 2014 at Long Beach. The result sees the team remain at the top of the provisional IMSA United SportsCar Championship standings for the third race in a row.
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa combined for another strong run in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype. The pair ran among the top-three for the entire 100-minute sprint race which ran at a rapid pace with no caution periods.
Fittipaldi opened the Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase from inside the second row and immediately pounced at the start. The No. 5 took over the second position in Turn 1 and Fittipaldi clicked off quick and smooth laps around the challenging 1.968-mile circuit that twists through the streets of downtown Long Beach. Fittipaldi was called to bring the No. 5 Corvette machine to pit lane with around 48 minutes remaining in the race and his consistency behind the wheel saw him set the fastest lap of the race up to that point.
Having shadowed the car for lap after lap, Fittipaldi followed the No. 01 car into pit lane and a perfect pit stop of tires, fuel and a driver change by the Action Express Racing team members saw Barbosa emerge from the pit box with the race lead.
As the top-three cars returned to battle on the temporary street circuit, Barbosa took a conservative approach with the long-term goal of the championship in mind. Through the tight confines of the wall-lined 11-turn circuit, Barbosa fought for the lead but was unable to make it stick as he locked into third place after some close quarters racing.
The Long Beach fans were in for a show as Barbosa closed in on the second place No. 10 machine – the two swapped positions in the closing laps and Barbosa ultimately took third at the checkered flag.
“It was a really tough race,” said Barbosa from the podium celebration. “Track position is everything here. Unfortunately my tires took a little bit longer to come in and I lost the lead there but there was nothing I could do. I tried to keep it a safe race and it was a good race. I’m looking forward to the next race at Laguna Seca, we had nothing for the Fords with their straight line speeds but it was a really good race today.”
“It was a solid weekend - I’ve changed my story about Long Beach!” added Fittipaldi, who has years of experience at the track and was greeted by scores of loyal fans throughout the weekend. “There were a couple of times that I came close but I never had a podium finish here in all my years I’ve been racing at this place. We had a textbook day today and now we’ll turn the page and go onto Laguna Seca.”
Taking three podium finishes in three races is a testament to the work that the Action Express Racing team puts in both on and off the track and Team Manager Gary Nelson was pleased with the entire effort.
“Every category of our operation went smoothly and I am really impressed that all the hard work that the guys have done has now carried into our third race,” said Nelson. “The work you do in the off season gets you so far into the season and now we’ve been on the podium in all three events so far and had the pole position at Sebring - we’re rolling. We’re happy. Our guys work hard to get good pit stops and I am just so pleased with the caliber of every department and person in this operation. Every person carried their share and we’re holding our momentum.”
Action Express Racing aims to keep that momentum rolling into Round 4 of the TUDOR Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 4.
Action Express Racing