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Top Ten Finish A Slim Silver Lining After Miserable Race For Multimatic

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Top Ten Finish A Slim Silver Lining After Miserable Race For Multimatic

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (July 26th, 2013) – It’s not often that things go as badly as they did for the Multimatic crew at the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge. With two cars heavily damaged and a third suffering from seemingly unsolvable electronics issues, the well deserved 9th place finish by the remaining Multimatic entry was almost entirely overshadowed.  The team arrived with high expectations for the series’ second annual visit to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, still searching for their elusive first win despite having been in contention a number of times in the past few races.  As usual, the Multimatic Aston Martin Vantage V8s were strong during practice with three cars in the top ten in both sessions. Unfortunately the week’s troubles began early as the #16 started to seriously overheat during practice. The issue could not be resolved quickly and the car was forced to miss qualifying before being taken to an offsite shop overnight to perform an engine swap. Qualifying was incredibly entertaining for the three remaining Astons as James Gue in the #15, Jade Buford in the #55 and Mike Marsal in the #71 all challenged for a top ten starting position. With just two minutes remaining in the session Gue was Q5, Buford Q6 and Marsal Q11, all within a second of the pole time, but Buford would not let his top spot qualifying streak end so easily. On the final lap of the session the young Tennessean improved his time by almost six tenths of a second to claim a remarkable fifth pole position of the season. Gue ended Q6, Marsal Q11 and the #16 of Montecalvo and Mancuso was forced to start from the back of the GS field for missing the session.

The race started well for the #16 as Montecalvo carved through the field, making a series of highly impressive passes.  Despite Buford’s best efforts in the #55 he could not hold off the Camaros and BMWs that had a noticeable power advantage over the Aston and he fell to P4. When an early caution occurred before the 30 minute mark the #55 made a bold strategy move and dove the pits for a splash of fuel and two tires knowing that they would only have to pit once more.  It then only took Buford a handful of laps to work his way back into the top ten with the rest of the Multimatic Astons; the strategy appearing to be a wise move.  Multimatic’s day started to godownhill only half an hour into the race as the #15 began to suffer from a strange electrical issues similar to at Watkins Glen, and after trying a number of different solutions, including an ECU swap, the car lost a lap to the leaders and was retired.  The other three cars continued to battle for top ten positions until a caution occurred at the halfway mark of the race.  Because of the timing of the yellow all three Multimatic entries needed to make their stops but with only two available pit boxes the #16 was forced to queue in the lane and wait for the #71 to leave.  The crew did an incredible job of completing the back-to-back stops but unfortunately the #16 took a penalty for allegedly hitting a fuel hose.  Two laps later when Mancuso was coming in to serve the penalty he was tagged from behind on the entry to the pit lane and sent spinning into heavy contact with the wall.  Mancuso was ok but the #16 was destroyed, its race over, leaving just two Astons to compete for the win.  Miserably, less than half an hour later, Kasemets lost control of the #71 under braking into corner one, spinning and heavily contacting the inside wall.  Kasemets was also fine but there was little recognizable Aston remaining ahead of the windshield leaving Maxwell as the sole torch bearer for the team in the #55.  By a stroke of some ridiculous Multimatic Indianapolis curse the #55 then started to suffer gearbox issues with less than an hour to go in the race and couldn’t make a final push for the win, instead having to defend positions.  Maxwell managed to stay in the top ten and finally finished as the sole surviving Multimatic entry in P9. Highlights of the weekend were as follows:

  • The #55 was fast off the trailer and Jade Buford continued his season long blitz of the front row with an incredible fifth pole from six tries (the Atlanta race was gridded by points).  Both Gue and Marsal felt that they had good cars going into the race but traffic thwarted better grid spots.  Unfortunately a cooling problem on the #16 kept it out of the qualifying session and ultimately ended in Team Manager Sean Mason having to acquire an offsite hoist facility at the famed Gasoline Alley Tune-Up to perform a full engine swap.
  • Once again, although fast on a single lap, the Aston Martin’s suffered from the excessive ballast weight that they are forced to carry and were visibly struggling to keep up on the high speed front straight.  This made them a target for braking zone passes into the wide entry corner one.  Buford only hung onto the lead for the first lap and then fell down the order to 4th when his engineer, Brian Jones, made the call to use a caution period only 20 minutes into the race for fuel and right side tires.  This strategy allowed the #55 to stay in the lead contention through the next round of stops at the halfway mark by beating everybody out of the lane due to the reduced fueling time that it required.  The midpoint yellow occurred at an awkward time just as the #71 was about to make its single mid-race green flag stop and so all three Astons came down the lane at the same time forcing the #16 to stack-up in the rear box.  Fast work by the Multimatic crew assured that Mancusso left on the lead lap at the back of the pack with no more deficit than the car had coming in.  At that point only the electrical issues of the #15 foreshadowed what was to come; but then the #16 and #71 were quickly rendered junk as they both crashed heavily on the speedway section of the race track.  Maxwell struggled with a recalcitrant gearbox for the final run to the finish which made him a target for the aggressive leading pack, dropping him to P9 at the end with the only ray of sunshine being that the #9 Stevenson Camaro was also wrecked out of the race in contact with the #48 BMW; the two cars that bracket the #55 in the championship.  So the status quo remained with Maxwell and Buford in third place, closer to the Camaro than before Indy……….as the Rum Bum Porsche runs away.

Multimatic Motorsports Team Principal, Larry Holt, commented: “I can’t remember a tougher race weekend in the past few years.  It took us three hours to get the #16 in good enough shape to roll it onto the trailer.  Not a lot left of either of those cars, they were big hits.  I’m obviously glad that the drivers were ok coming out of the cars and I refrained from putting them in the hospital myself.  Not a good day on top of Empringham reporting that the #15 was back to running like a garden mower due to the electrical issues that we don’t seem to be able to chase out………new everything for the next race is the only solution.  I am really starting to dislike the speedway and it’s only our second year there.  This is going to be a busy week getting something together for Road America but Mason’s guys are always capable of getting it done.”

The eighth race of the season takes place at Road America August 8th-10th in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

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Contact Info:

Sean Mason
Multimatic Motorsports
+1 905-470-0025
racepr@multimatic.com