Lexington, Ohio (9 June 2012) – After winning on the track in the season-finale, Rum Bum Racingreturned to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course podium in Round 5 of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when drivers Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi wheeled the No. 13 Porsche 911 to a third place finish.
The result boosted Rum Bum Racing back to the top of the team championship standings with 134 points on the strength of the team’s third podium finish of the year.
Though Rum Bum Racing faced a challenging start to the weekend when the squad made the decision to swap motors during Friday’s practice day, the team’s hard work paid off when Longhi qualified the No. 13 machine on the outside pole for Saturday’s 2.5-hour EMCO Gears Classic event.
Longhi opened the 2.5-hour race from second on the grid and immediately made his way to the front as he took over the first position through the first corner. He would continue to pace the field for 24 laps until the team took advantage of the race’s second caution period to make a pit stop under yellow with Longhi handing the controls of the Porsche over to Plumb.
“It was great,” said Longhi of the opening stint. “It went well. I started second and got the lead on the start. I’m pretty happy about that. It was clean – everybody behaved – so that was good. It took a little while to get temperature in the tires and settle down for the first couple of laps. The biggest thing was traffic– but all in all, it was good.”
With several competitors opting to stay out during the caution, the Rum Bum Porsche returned to the order fifth in line.
A clear path to a return win at the track was literally blocked with oil, as Plumb arrived at a high speed corner where a car had just dropped a motor’s worth of lubricant on track. He was able to mitigate the incident and quickly return to the track, but the damage to the front of the car from the high speed run in the grass ultimately caused the temperatures to rise.
As he worked to cool the engine while also maintaining position, he battled among the top-seven throughout the stint as he continued to click off clean and consistent laps.
The team would make a final pit stop with Plumb returning to the track in 10th. He quickly worked his way up the order through the closing stages of the race to run in third at the finish. A final caution period set up a fraught and hard fought run to the checkered flag as the team once again brought home strong points to return to the championship battle.
“The car was fast but it wasn’t fast in the places that it needed to be which was down the two straightaways,” said Plumb. “The car ran awesome today. The only reason we had that (overheating) problem was because we went off in oil in Turn 2 and I think we stuck one of the radiators up. I knew at the end we had to make a move and dig a little deep because the points chase competitors were behind me so I used whatever was left of the poor thing and made a last ditch effort at the end.”
“It was a very good end to a difficult day, a difficult weekend,” added Longhi. “It’s just a testament to the team – they pulled it together and got this car back on track and it was just a great day overall.”
Currently atop the team championship standings, Rum Bum Racing will look to carry the podium momentum into the next round at Road America as the team continues its championship-winning hunt.
Round 6 of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will take place at Road America June 21-22.
The EMCO Gears Classic will be televised on SPEED June 17 at 12:00 PM (ET).