Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi scored a dramatic victory in Saturday's Road America 200 – along with a huge step toward their first Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport driver championship.
Plumb passed Spencer Pumpelly for the lead when the latter pitted for fuel with four minutes remaining, and then nursed the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche Carrera for two more laps to the checkered flag. Nick Mancuso – looking to give Aston Martin its first CTSCC victory in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Vantage started by Frank Montecalvo – made up 10 seconds in the closing two laps but came up 1.932 seconds shy at the checkered flag.
“If I knew we'd go this long with fuel and make it to the checkered flag, I would have told you that you were crazy,” Plumb said. “I'm still trying to piece together what played out today. We came in being conservative, just looking for as many points as possible.”
Plumb ran out of fuel seconds after taking the checkered flag.
Plumb and Longhi now hold a 54-point lead in the GS standings over Matt Bell and John Edwards, who finished 17th after battling back from early problems. It was Rum Bum's third victory of the season, and 18th for Plumb and 15th for Longhi.
BJ Zacharias and pole sitter Bryan Heitkotter finished third in the dominant No. 14 Doran Racing Nissan 370Z, followed by Pumpelly and Jim Norman. Mark Boden – seeking his third consecutive victory – finished fifth with substitute driver David Donohue in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3.
Heitkotter (17) and Zacharias (6) combined to lead a race-high 23 laps, while Pumpelly led 15. Plumb led only the final three circuits.
Liefooghe, Cooke Take Last-Lap ST Victory
The Street Tuner race also had a compelling finish when leader Tom Dyer ran out of fuel on the final lap in the No. 196 RSR Motorsports Honda Civic Si started by Andrew Novich. Gregory Liefooghe went on to win in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i started by Tyler Cooke. It was the second career victory for Liefooghe and first for Cooke.
“Everything came down to a call from our engineer,” Liefooghe said. “He pitted us a little later than everyone else, and we were able to finish even though we were on fumes.”
Jesse Combs and Jeff Mosing battled back from an early penalty for contact to finish second in the No. 56 RACE EPIC/Murillo BMW 328i – unofficially taking the ST point lead in the process as the top two teams had problems. Prior leaderMike LaMarra/Terry Borcheller finished 23th after early wheel bearing problems, while runners-up Ryan Eversley/Kyle Gimple had an off course excursion after contact with Mosing. Unofficially, Mosing/Combs have 189 points to 183 for Borcheller/LaMarra and 181 for Gimple/Eversley.
Chad Gilsinger (10) and Michael Valiante (23) led 33 circuits in the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si.