Multimatic Success At The Glen Thwarted By Odd Officiating

Multimatic Success At The Glen Thwarted By Odd Officiating

WATKINS GLEN, New York (June 29th, 2013) – Perfect strategy, good luck and fast cars added up to sure fire podiums for the #55 and #71 Aston Martins only to have a falsely extended caution period steal it all away at the end of another hugely exciting Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) round. Multimatic Motorsports arrived at Watkins Glen for the Continental Tire 150 with high expectations following a productive test at the track in May. The Glen being one of North America’s classic tracks and the closest race to home for Multimatic meant desire was even higher than usual to achieve the first Aston Martin Grand-Am victory. All four cars posted competitive times during practice sessions but struggled slightly in the wet conditions that plagued much of the week. Despite the rain, the track managed to remain dry for qualifying, which allowed Multimatic drivers to top the timing sheet. Jade Buford secured an incredible fourth pole position of the season for the #55 and Nick Mancuso, less than two-tenths off of Buford’s time, earned Q2 in the #16. James Gue, who was once again filling in for John Farano as David Empringham’s driving partner in the #15, rounded out Multimatic’s dominant three for four top spots qualifying effort in Q4.

The race was arguably the most entertaining of the 2013 CTSCC season so far. Rain clouds ominously hung over the course for the duration of the event, occasionally sprinkling parts of the circuit and making driving conditions and strategy extremely challenging. Multimatic Astons led the first nine laps of the race and were rarely outside of the top five for the duration. Uncharacteristic of the CTSCC, there were only two caution periods through the first hour and forty-five minutes of racing. This made for some entertaining green flag battles on the semi-wet circuit, including an amazing fight for the lead between the Multimatic Astons and the Roush Mustangs. With forty-five minutes remaining in the race the clouds finally burst and within two laps the rain had caused a slew of incidents, including two roll-over crashes in the same corner, bringing out the third and results-defining caution of the day. The #55 and #71 Astons were running in the lead pack when the rain began and, on what should have been a brilliant strategy, both cars came in for wet tires moments before the caution period began. This left the top five cars with slick tires on a very wet track and Multimatic firmly with the advantage on wets right behind them. Unfortunately, despite having the crashes cleaned up, officials kept the race under yellow with the pace car slowed to eight minute caution laps, almost twice the official stated length. The race went green with time for only one lap of racing, which was not enough for Scott Maxwell in the #55 or Tonis Kasemets in the #71 to use the advantage of their wet tires. Despite this strange caution scenario, Maxwell managed to pass the championship contending Stevenson Camaro on the final lap and came within one hundredth of a second of taking 4th place at the finish line from the #48 Fall-Line BMW. Kasemets brought the #71 home in 7th; Montecalvo took 19th in the #16 after an unfortunate late incident, with the #15 retired due to an electronic issue.

Highlights of the weekend were as follows:  

  • The cars were all extremely quick in early practice sessions thanks to good set-ups achieved during the test in May. Unfortunately, rain fell for most of the week and the team struggled to find a good wet solution in the changeable conditions.
  • Qualifying was a huge success and one of the best in Multimatic Motorsports history with three Astons in the top four and Jade Buford grabbing his fourth pole of the season in only six races, posting an incredible time of 2:01.610. Nick Mancuso rounded out the front row by qualifying the #16 in Q2 with a time of 2:01.777 and James Gue qualified with a lap of 2:02.161 earning the #15 a Q4 start. Michael Marsal qualified the #71 in Q12. 
  • The race began with the swarm of Multimatic Astons leading the incredibly competitive pack. Buford led the race for the first 6 laps before making an early stop under yellow for a splash of fuel which handed the lead to Mancuso. The #15 unfortunately succumbed to an issue with its throttle by wire electronics less than halfway through the race and was forced to retire. The remaining three cars were in good position going into the final hour until the #16 had an unfortunate spin and lost a lap to the leaders but the #55 and #71 cars were firmly in the top ten on good tire and fuel strategies when they dove the pits for wet tires just before the final full course caution of the day. Had the caution period been regular length they would have almost certainly been able to pass the cars on slick tires ahead of them but were only given one lap of green flag racing. Despite this strange officiating, Maxwell managed to make an important championship pass on the #9 Camaro on the final lap.  The #9 is currently second in the point standings but Maxwell’s pass cut their lead to 26 points over the #55 that sits in third.  The #71 now enjoys a tie for fifth and the #15 holds eighth despite the DNF with #16 in a tie for eleventh. The team is looking to improve these positions at the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Multimatic Motorsports Team Principal, Larry Holt, commented: “We were throwing high fives around after diving the pits for rains just before the last yellow flew because it was evident that nobody was going to get to the end on slicks. What then transpired was totally bizarre and ultimately cost us the race win. The five cars in front of us on slicks couldn’t keep up with the pace car, so the race director slowed it down to half the officially mandated pace and then ran the yellow until there was only one lap left which ultimately destroyed our strategic advantage and stole any chance of a podium. I understand that it was a dangerous situation but altering the caution procedure to allow the teams that didn’t make the right call to get to the end is ultimately a manipulation of the outcome.”

The seventh race of the season takes place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 25th-26th in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Contact Info:

Sean Mason or Vesa Mikkola
Multimatic Motorsports
+1 905-470-0025