Multimatic Motorsports Strong in California

Multimatic Motorsports Strong in California

MONTEREY, California (May 2nd, 2015)Billy Johnson was on a mission during the closing stages of the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix as he carved his way through the field to finish just one step off the top of the podium. The #15 Multimatic Mustang Boss 302R appeared to have fallen out of contention when the team took advantage of a late yellow with less than 40 minutes remaining in the race. The decision to take a full set of tires dropped Johnson to P8 but the strategy proved brilliant as he was able to use the fresh rubber to easily dispose of his competitors, up to the back of the leading #6 Camaro, which set-up a thrilling eight lap battle to the finish. At the other end of the race, Multimatic’s junior driver, Austin Cindric, put the #158 Mustang on the outside pole of the grid, his first front row of the season, and battled with the leaders for his entire first stint, once again displaying a level of maturity belying his youth.

Multimatic Motorsports arrived at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the third stop of the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSC), with high expectations, hoping to put the bad luck of previous years at the circuit behind them. The team has always been quick at the famed California venue but races have tended to end with wrecked cars more than top place finishes in recent years. Both Multimatic Boss302Rs were quick during practice, setting P5 and P7 times in the first session and P2 and P3 in the second.

The #158 qualified a spectacular P2 with Austin Cindric putting in a smoking lap after the other fast guys had laid their markers in an incredibly competitive qualifying session that saw P2 and P6 covered by just over a tenth of a second. Scott Maxwell set a P6 time in the #15, second fastest of the Mustangs, after hitting traffic on his tires’ peak lap.

Cindric and Maxwell spent the entire first stint in the top ten, battling for position but keeping the cars out of trouble and in good shape for their partners. The crew executed two perfect green flag pit stops as Cindric handed off the #158 to Jade Buford and Maxwell subbed out for Johnson with an hour and twenty minutes remaining. As the rest of the field started to make their second stops, the Multimatic Mustangs rose to the top of the running order. The #15 and #158 climbed to P2 and P3 respectively before making a strategically late visit to the box for fresh tires and fuel with just over 30 minutes to go. On a track that quickly degrades tire performance, the fresher rubber bestowed a significant advantage over the competition who had chosen quick stops over changing wheels and Johnson and Buford made fast work of moving up through the field. The #15 battled to P3 before a late caution set up the titanic battle for the win between the #15 Mustang, #14 Nissan and #6 Camaro. After a textbook inside move on the Nissan into corner 11, Johnson brought the #15 home in P2 and Buford managed a solid points finish in P7 with the #158.

Maxwell and Johnson now sit fourth in the championship points standings, only three points adrift of third; Buford and Cindric are eighth. The next round of the 2015 CTSC will take place at the historic Watkins Glen circuit on June 27th.

Highlights of the weekend were as follows:

  • The Multimatic Mustangs rolled off the trailer quick and stayed that way throughout the weekend with only minor tweaks to deal with the higher than normal tire degradation.
  • 16-year old Cindric put on an outstanding qualifying performance, securing P2 with a time of 1:36.024. Maxwell qualified the #15 P6 with a time of 1:36.175, less than two-tenths off of Cindric and only three-thousandths off of P5.
  • The Multimatic pit stops were the class of the lane and kept the already competitive cars in the hunt during a two stop strategy, the first under green and the second during the final caution.
  • The call from the pit stand was perfectly judged as an extra twenty seconds in the box to take on four tires, during what was only a half fuel fill, was calculated to give sufficient advantage over the option of dealing with the lap time degradation caused by worn tires.

Multimatic Motorsports Team Principal, Larry Holt, commented: “That race categorically proves that you need absolutely everything fully sorted to even get on the podium in this series. It is so amazingly competitive. We had fast cars, not Camaro fast but I’m not going to continue to whine about that, it is evident from the in-car where we were weak, and it wasn’t in the corners or under brakes, great pit stops, outstanding strategy, awesome driving and decent luck, and we finished second. That last eight laps from the final caution were a barn burner, and that is after over two hours of racing, it’s truly impressive. And Mike Johnson ran the #9 out of fuel at the end after gambling on an early stop strategy. You have to take those kinds of risks to win. I couldn’t be happier with the team and Billy’s effort at the end, fantastic driving. And I have to be impressed with what Austin did in qualifying and at the beginning of the race; it’s easy to forget how young the kid is.”

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Sean Mason
Multimatic Motorsports
+1 905-470-0025