Despite opening the weekend with a brand new car and a nearly empty notebook, Rum Bum Racing still returned to its winning ways at Barber Motorsports Park in Round 2 of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship.
Drivers Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi combined to run strongly from start to finish and bring the team to victory lane in its Porsche debut.
Longhi opened the event from the fifth position and that strong starting position played a significant role in avoiding the attrition as the 80-car combined class grid staged several multi-car incidents behind the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911. Longhi had a great start to the 2.5-hour race moving into third on the first lap.
“I actually had a pretty good time because I went from fifth to fourth in Turn 1 then from fourth to third in Turn 5 and then it went yellow!” said Longhi of the opening lap. “So I drove around in third place and then on the second restart I was actually pretty proud of myself because I got a good restart but then it went yellow again so I wasn’t able to move up more.”
While circling under caution, Longhi pitted and handed the controls over to Plumb to run to the finish.
As various fuel strategies played out, one thing stayed constant as Plumb ran at the front of the field, leading 39 laps en route to the win. With the unknowns of fuel consumption with the new car already making for some hard-working calculators on the Rum Bum pit box, the race was thrown into further uncertainty as a yellow flag flew with just minutes to go, erasing the gap to the field and setting the stage for a final shoot out. Adding to the drama were the dark ominous clouds as rain started to settle into the area as the field went back to green.
As he’s done so many times before, Plumb kept his cool despite not knowing what the grip level was at each successive corner, with a series of competitors looking to take advantage and snag the top spot. But Plumb held strong, holding off the field to take the seventh win for Rum Bum Racing.
“This is better than our first victory in BMW,” said Plumb of the Barber victory. “The guys worked so hard in such a short amount of time to give me that race car. What a crazy race, right from the beginning. It was stay out of trouble but go as fast as you can. We got a good gap based on our pit strategy and we had to conserve a ton of fuel there at the end. It was getting slippery there at the end but the rear engine Porsche loves greasy conditions and I was able to hold them off.”
“We’re really happy with it, it was a good effort. It’s fantastic,” echoed Longhi. “I want to thank the team for the effort that goes into moving to a completely new car like we did this weekend. The AST shocks were outstanding. This track is very tight, a beautiful place, great fans, we love coming here. We were just trying to conserve the car and keep it in one piece. I could sense right away that we had a really good car. What was happening behind us was mind blowing! On the one hand you feel bad when you see all the wrecks happening and I have to be honest – some of our main competition was wiped out in all those wrecks–but normally in a race like this there will be 10 cars nose to tail, so we had a little bit of breathing room.”
Rum Bum Racing next heads to its home-track of Homestead-Miami Speedway for Round 3 of the championship April 27-28.
SPEED will televise the Barber 200 on April 8 at 12:00 PM (ET).
- Rum Bum Racing