Austin, Texas (16 September 2016) – Despite what promised to be a top-10 run in the scorching heat by Matt Dicken and Corey Lewis in the No. 36 Strategic Wealth Designers Porsche Cayman, the duo settled for a 14th place result after running out of fuel on the very last lap of the attrition-marked race.
Dicken took the green flag for the 2.5-hour IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge sprint in the heat of the midday Texas sun from 25th on the grid. A wild first lap that produced the race’s lone caution period saw Dicken have a rough and tumble start, getting hit by a competitor to kick off the day.
Fortunately, the Porsche pro was able to continue on without significant damage to the car, showing pace despite the heat as he matched the times of cars 10 spots ahead of him. Dicken battled to improve his position through his hour-long stint before handing it over to Lewis with four fresh Continental Tires and a full load of fuel.
“The car was still understeering a lot so that was frustrating during my stint but I just tried to keep at it before turning the car over to Corey (Lewis),” said Dicken.
After a straightforward opening segment of his stint, Lewis had to utilize his myriad of experience around the 3.4-mile circuit to continue to move forward while dealing with a constant issue.
“Matt (Dicken) did a great opening stint, and the car was the best it had been all weekend,” said Lewis. “I had to hold the stick shift in place after about 10 minutes of being in the car. First it was second gear, then all of them, eventually I had to hold the gear in place, basically was driving one handed to keep the car in gear. I really focused on conserving the tire and not overheating, and we were picking off positions one at a time. I tried to conserve as much as I could, but we were half a lap short on fuel. What could have been a great result, but that’s racing. I’m proud of Matt and all the effort from the team. We’ll just keep grinding and look ahead to the next one!”
While attrition became the name of the race as many cars succumbed to issues from the heat with others running out of fuel, Lewis showed himself immediately up to speed in the Cayman. The Monster Energy Athlete maintained a blistering pace, proving himself quickest in class during the final 20 minutes of the race as others dropped off the pace and the circuit.
While not making it to the finish was a disappointment, there were a lot of positives to leave the weekend with for the sophomore team.
“That was an incredible drive by Corey (Lewis),” explained Dicken after the race. “He was having some issues with the gearbox and so he was basically driving with one hand for an hour, holding it in gear. Then he was having some problems with his cool suit so basically everything that could have gone wrong did and he managed to actually keep his cool and lay down some of the fastest lap times. It just shows that we never give up and we never stop fighting.”
The low-fuel ending was under debate for the engineering squad, with the roll of the dice just coming up short in the end. As the final minutes of the race ticked off, Lewis had a low-fuel warning, while conserving fuel to the finish. Unfortunately he came up just short, stopping on track on the final lap, but still managed to salvage a 14th place finish thanks to his excellent pace earlier in the stint.
“We were debating whether or not to come in for a splash and go there at the end but we thought we had one or two laps in the bag so we were pretty surprised not to make it, we were just about half a lap short,” said Dicken. “It’s disappointing but it’s racing. Some of the other races that we have had we had some misfortune and I guess we are due for some luck at Atlanta!”
The team now looks forward to finishing the season strongly at Road Atlanta on September 28-October 1.
The Circuit of the Americas 150 will be broadcast on FS1 on Sunday, September 25 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM ET.