The scene that Barber Dodge Pro Series driver Matt Plumb would like to you to remember is the near perfect drive in Vancouver last September that netted him his first career Pro Series victory. Unfortunately, the scenes from recent history have...
The scene that Barber Dodge Pro Series driver Matt Plumb would like to you to remember is the near perfect drive in Vancouver last September that netted him his first career Pro Series victory. Unfortunately, the scenes from recent history have not been of the fist pumping out of the cockpit in exaltation, but rather of a steering wheel recoiling back toward the cockpit tethered by the radio wire as Plumb flings it from his car in frustration.
The 25 year-old Pennsylvanian has yet to complete a race in 2001 as a result of mishaps with other competitors. It's a string of DNFs that has plagued Plumb off and on since the latter part of 2000. In spite of it all, Plumb finished the 2000 championship in fourth, and came into the current season as one of the odds on favorites. He's yet to score a point. That is a fact he intends on relegating to the fine print of history come this weekend at Lime Rock Park, site of rounds 3 and 4 of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series, when he steps into his Premier Nutrition Dodge Reynard.
"My intention is to win not one but both races. With the level of competition in this series, that's going to be tough to achieve," says Plumb. "I need to recoup lost points as well as earn prize money to continue racing, so I'm going into this weekend with nothing to lose and a lot to gain."
Indeed Plumb learned to drive a racecar on this storied track at a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School. As a racecar driver he may well have more competitive laps at Lime Rock than anywhere else. In 2000, he had a competitive racecar, and would surely have challenged for the win. Then his infamous luck struck. On the opening lap of the race, a stone had holed a fellow competitor's radiator, prompting it to spill coolant on the track. The next lap around, exiting the ultra-fast West Bend on the leader's gearbox, Plumb encountered the fateful fluid and in an instant careened heavily into the wall.
"It was a shame to have that happen at a track I'm so fond of. Going forward, I've learned from the lesson there to tread a little lighter at the beginning of a race when I'm in the hunt for the lead. This is the last place I want to have bad luck at," he addded.
At a track he likes, the two rounds could prove advantageous for Plumb. After all, only 10 of the best 12 results count toward the title. With significant results, Plumb would be right back in the hunt.
"A pair of wins would put me right back into contention. The competition is so tough, yet I still need to shoot for it." He continues, "Knowing this track so well adds to my confidence level. I plan to show Premier Nutrition and the rest of my supporters what I can do when I finish a race. I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity."
Is it a harbinger of good things to come that for Plumb he has the opportunity to drive his "home track" not once, but twice? He surely hopes so.
- George Tamayo