Matt Plumb made the No. 13 lucky in Friday's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières for the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class, as he dominated the second half of the two-hour race to post the victory with co-driver Nick Longhi.
Longhi exited the No. 13 RumBum.com BMW M3 on the third lap – only five minutes into the race and under the first of three full course caution periods – and Plumb weaved through the field on the 1.521-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit to take the lead by only lap 34 of 89 laps. His margin of victory over Billy Johnson stood at 3.681sec.
It marked the first time in the 41-year history of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières weekend a race had been run under the lights.
"We set out a number of goals for this first season of Rum Bum Racing and I'm happy to say that we've had even more success than we originally anticipated," Plumb said. "This is a great win to keep building this program on and moving forward. Racing at night was a blast, and I hope it looked as good to the fans as I think it did."
Johnson's co-driver, Jack Roush Jr., took the lead at the start of the race and led the opening 33 laps before making his first pit stop. The stop allowed Plumb – who came out of the pits 19th in the 20-car field – to retake the lead. He quickly made his way into the top 10 by the 20-minute mark, and charged into the top five not long after that.
"It was a great call," said Longhi of the first pit stop. "I was really nervous, but that's why they don't have me do the fuel numbers. The team executed perfectly on the strategy."
After the second round of stops cycled through, Plumb pulled away, stretching his advantage to over six seconds before Johnson sliced into the lead. It marked Rum Bum Racing's second victory ever, with Plumb and Gian Bacardi winning the 2010 season opener at Daytona. It also marked the first win for Plumb and Longhi driving together. The pair averaged 67.459mph.
While Johnson cut into the lead during the final stages of the race, for several laps he was locked in a battle between Fall-Line Motorsports teammates Charles Espenlaub and Terry Borcheller. He finally passed Borcheller with 19 minutes remaining to take second, where he stayed until the checkered flag. It marked Johnson and Roush's seventh podium finish in nine races.
Jeff Bucknum mustered the final podium position with co-driver and defending race co-winner Matt Bell in the No. 6 Sunoco Camaro, as Trois-Rivières driver and fan favorite Jean-Francois Dumoulin ran out of fuel on the white flag lap. Dumoulin and Guy Cosmo were relegated to finishing 10th in the No. 83 Laps.com Porsche Cayman with BGB Motorsports.
Rounding out the top five were Borcheller and Andrew Hendricks in the No. 45 Stable One Motorsports BMW M3, while points co-leaders Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman extended their championship lead with a fifth-place finish in the No. 48 Sparco/Fall-Line BMW M3.
Espenlaub and Putman now lead by 10 points (254-244) over sixth-place finishers Joey Hand and Michael Marsal heading into the season finale, the Salt Lake City 200, on Sept. 11 at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah. Meanwhile, Johnson and Roush closed to within 14 points of Espenlaub and Putman with 240 points.
Borcheller and Hendricks are still mathematically eligible to win the title; the two sit 28 points behind the leaders. Thirty-five points are allocated to the winners; each driver must complete 30 minutes in order to obtain points.