Matt Plumb started his week at Road America in the Turn 1 gravel. He finished it Friday night in Victory Lane. Plumb did it by avoiding a slew and spins and crashes and drivers in the sand in a wild and wooly two-and-a-half-hour Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race.
As the last remnants of daylight dimly lit the 14-turn, 4.048-mile course, Plumb took the checkered flag in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 997. It was the third victory of 2012 for Plumb and co-driver Nick Longhi, who collected the ninth win overall for Rum Bum Racing.
Plumb's Porsche crossed the finish line .611 seconds ahead of Billy Johnson's No. 61 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R started by Jack Roush Jr., which was coming off a win two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“It's getting really hard to win these,” said Plumb, whose brake failure during Thursday's first practice session led to an unwanted stay in the Turn 1 gravel. “We got a good break, we got to the front early and got away from some of the carnage.”
The carnage was plentiful Friday, with seven full-course cautions impacting 26 laps. The start of the race was an indicator of things to come, as George Richardson (No. 62 Camaro) and Jade Buford (No. 51 Mustang) made contact at the start/finish line to force the race's first yellow.
Aleks Altberg and co-driver David Cheng also avoided trouble to take the Street Tuner victory in the No. 171 APR Motorsport Volkswagen GTI. Altberg led a race-high 18 laps en route to his first triumph of 2012, besting Mid-Ohio ST winner Michael Valiante and the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si started by Chad Gilsinger.
“It was really tricky, especially because we had two restarts,” Altberg said. “I got a great gap on that first one and then halfway through the lap I heard, ‘Double yellow,' and my heart sank because I knew I had that gap and I just had to make it happen again.”
BGB Motorsports drivers David Empringham and John Farano will carry their Grand Sport points lead into the June 30 Continental Tire 150 at Watkins Glen International. They now lead the class by four points over Longhi and Plumb, who improved to second with Friday's win.
Nic Johnson and Andy Lally maintain the Street Turner points lead despite a 13th-place finish. Their lead shrank from nine points to one over Pierre Kleinubing, who finished fifth with co-driver David Knight.