Golinello Earns Rookie Honors in Ford Racing Mustang Challenge at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla.--Richard Golinello made his professional racing debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway last weekend, driving the No. 50 R&C Motorsports Mustang FR500S in...
Golinello Earns Rookie Honors in Ford Racing Mustang Challenge at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla.--Richard Golinello made his professional racing debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway last weekend, driving the No. 50 R&C Motorsports Mustang FR500S in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge double-header. Golinello overcame a rocky start to walk away with a sixth-place finish and a Sunday Group Management "Rookie of the Race" Award.
Race one was held on Saturday, and in the opening laps Golinello worked his way up from ninth to fifth. Unfortunately, disaster struck just fifteen minutes into the race, when Golinello's Mustang made contact with the wall in turn one.
Golinello was fine, but his Mustang wasn't: he and his crew were facing an all-night rebuild. Other teams might have given up, but the R&C Motorsports team was determined, even when they realized that the car could not be repaired on site. Instead, Golinello climbed behind the wheel of a Capaldi Racing Mustang for the second race on Sunday.
Golinello faced yet another setback on the first lap of the second Ford Racing Mustang Challenge race when he fell back with an underpowered car. The problem was a simple one--vapor lock--but pitting under green to vent the gas tank would result in the loss of valuable track positions.
Finally, Golinello got a break when a full-course caution came out on that first lap. He pitted and returned to the track down but far from out. He steadily worked his way through the field, crossing the finish line in sixth.
"I just wanted to get back in the saddle and do it after the crash on Saturday," said Golinello. "I raced my race, and stayed focused and calm throughout. I just wanted to finish; that meant a lot to me."
In addition to finishing--and finishing well--Golinello was also the top-performing rookie in the race. The honor earned him the Sunday Group Management "Rookie of the Race" Award.
For Golinello, the honor was as much about his determination as his finish. "We got to turn a few heads, and we got respect from the core of Ford Racing Mustang Challenge," he said. "We stuck it out and found a way to get the job done. It proved to everyone that we're serious about this and we're here to stay."
Aaron Povoledo normally works with Golinello as a driving coach, but at Homestead he wound up serving as an impromptu crew member after race one. "This was Richard's first professional-level competition, and he had an incredible weekend, from the low of a crash to the high of receiving an award. This weekend really showed the depth of his character as well as the depth of his talent," commented Povoledo.
The No. 50 R&C Motorsports Mustang will now head to Long Road Racing's shop in North Carolina. Long Road Racing prepares the Mustang, and they will get it back into racing form in time for round two at Virginia International Raceway, which gets underway on April 24.
-source: Beth Dolgner, driver PR