Grows Championship lead with strong run to victory
Birmingham, Ala. (6 April 2013) – Last year, Rum Bum Racing flipped the script. This year, it was a re-run.
Rum Bum Racing returned to victory lane at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday to score a repeat win at the Alabama road course. Drivers Nick Longhi and Matt Plumb fought back from a lap down to score Rum Bum Racing’s 12th GRAND-AM victory.
Longhi opened the race from the fourth row after having qualified the No. 13 Porsche eighth on the grid. He ran a strong opening stint among the top-six throughout the first 20 laps before the team called him to pit lane just past the 30 minute mark for a routine pit stop and driver change.
A traditional quick Rum Bum pit stop was thwarted when a problem with the refueling system saw the stop take much longer than it should have and the No. 13 fell a lap down. Fortunately, a yellow flag was displayed soon after the pit stop which saw Plumb pick up the pace car ahead of the race leader and earn the ‘wave around’ to return to the lead lap.
Plumb restarted from the 20th position but wasted no time in moving forward as he made a charge through the field to run fourth with just under an hour remaining in the race.
A caution late in the race saw Plumb circulating with a clear shot for a podium finish. When asked by the Speed pit reporter if he was thinking about a win or the championship, crew chief Joe Varde didn’t hesitate as Luis Bacardi looked on.
“I am thinking ‘championship,’ but the boss likes to win so we are going to go for it!”
Indeed, Plumb was on the same page as he out-dueled the leader to score the point before one final full course caution. Plumb led the field to the green and never looking back, scoring Rum Bum Racing’s first victory of the season.
“I never thought I’d love Alabama so much!” exclaimed Plumb. “It was awesome. It truly was one of our greatest wins just because we had to come back from such unfortunate circumstances. We had a rough pit stop where we had a problem with the fuel system and went a lap down. We got our lap back with the wave around, but you have to keep digging the whole time. When the boss is in town, you got to make sure you win!”
“This team is just unbelievable and Matt is an amazing driver,” said Longhi. “The combination of this whole team working together is incredible. We were a lap down and the strategy early on was just to be careful. Try to keep the car in one piece and keep the tires underneath you and it was a bit hectic. We were doing okay. The yellows were timed the wrong way and we thought we were down but this team never, never gives up and Luis Bacardi put together this team and I just can’t get over how strong it is all the time. All the pieces of the team just work together. I’m really so happy to be a small part of this amazing operation.”
The victory extends Rum Bum Racing’s championship lead with a 17-point advantage. The team will return to race action at Road Atlanta in two weeks, April 18-20.
SPEED will televise the Barber Motorsports Park event Saturday, April 13 at 2:00 PM (ET).