Watkins Glen, N.Y. (28 June 2014) – It was another big day for Rum Bum Racing at Watkins Glen International on Saturday as the team captured its third consecutive IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge podium at the 3.4-mile upstate New York road course.
Through a mix of strategy, teamwork and drivers’ Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi strong performance in the No. 13 Porsche, Rum Bum Racing took third when the checkered flag flew on the Continental Tire 150 at the Glen. The result marks the third consecutive top four finish for the championship-defending team.
Longhi opened the race from the fourth row after qualifying seventh on the 59 car combined class grid. Fortunately, the forward starting position allowed Longhi to avoid a multi-car incident which took place behind him as soon as the green flag waved. Debris littered the front straightaway and a long clean up kept the race from starting in earnest for nearly half an hour.
When the field went back to green, the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche ran eighth and moved up to seventh where Longhi would run through the remainder of his stint. Crew Chief Joe Varde took advantage of a second full course caution period with about 50 minutes completed. The team delivered a perfect pit stop and Longhi handed the car over to Plumb who re-entered the track 22nd in line. But he soon found himself back in podium contention as pit stops cycled through and he restarted fifth.
Plumb worked his way into third position and continued to run there through a longer green flag run as he fought to keep up with the outright track-record-setting pace of the Camaros. A final routine pit stop saw Plumb emerge from pit lane 18th in line, but as all cars made their final stops he made his way back into the top-five.
In the final laps, Plumb slotted into fourth as he began to gain on third place. With just three minutes to go in the 2.5-hour race, the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche took over third with cheers erupting from the Rum Bum pit box. Despite the speed disadvantage to the Camaros, the championship-winning team’s preparation and strategy saw Rum Bum Racing rise to the challenge.
“That was a total team effort once again,” said Longhi. “This podium was done on strategy and the experience from Joe (Varde) and the crew. It was flawless execution. As you can see from the lap times, the Camaros and Nissans were outright faster. So to be on the podium is fantastic but it’s 100% because of the team and the quality of every team member. There was nothing we could do on the racetrack. Very good points day for us, so it was a great day.”
“We knew from the moment we arrived at the Glen that we didn’t have the fastest car due to the track layout and certainly the forward adjustments on some other cars but all we had to do was finish ahead of those guys,” said Plumb. “We knew we had to run a clean and smart race. I had to run qualifying laps to keep up with the Camaros and luckily I was able to get close enough to draft a little bit.”
The third place result also was a welcome boost in the championship as the two teams ahead of Rum Bum Racing in the standings suffered setbacks at the Glen.
“I hate to move ahead in the championship based off of their misfortunes – if it had not been for that, we would have been in a little bit of trouble,” said Plumb. “But through strategy and consistency we were able to stay out there.”
Rum Bum Racing next heads to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in two weeks for Round 8 of the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
The Continental Tire 150 at the Glen will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, July 6 at 10:00 AM.