ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 8, 2016) – Performance Tech Motorsports continues to make strides with a consistent season that now includes four podiums as well as a TOTAL Pole Award at James French’s home track.
After coming off a third place finish at Lime Rock Park Performance Tech added another third place finish to its collection of podiums this season, this time at Road America. The team has now earned four podiums this season. This finish was prefaced with the team’s first TOTAL Pole Award of the year.
French took, “home track,” to heart as he wheeled the No. 38 NeuroSpine Institute Prototype Challenge around Road America. He earned his pole position well before the last lap with a 1:59.133. This is French’s second pole in a row at Road America. He earned his first in the 2015 season with a last lap flyer.
French ran away with the show from the start of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. He took full advantage of his pole position and built a large gap between himself and the rest of the PC field. However, traffic and fuel conservation dropped French back to third place before he was able to hand over the car to teammate Kyle Marcelli.
French commonly jokes that he has a third place curse as he has garnered more third place trophies than any other position in his racing career, today was no different.
“Well we got third today. I think that third puts us third in the championship. That’s a lot of thirds but that is certainly better than fourth,” French said. “I mean overall I think overall we had a good race, we had a fast car. I just don’t think strategy played entirely in our favor today. We’ll have to see where we lost the time.
“Overall, I think it was a good race. Kyle did a good job in his stint, he pretty much had the same pace as the leaders but it was just hard to make up that gap. We’re happy with third and as always thanks to the team for all their effort they put into each weekend.”
Marcelli took over for French halfway through the race in sixth place. With a lot of ground to make up Marcelli put his head down and focused on gaining position and closing the gap in front of him. He battled it out with race veteran Bruno Junqueira and against Collin Braun of CORE Autosport – one of the teams Performance Tech was tied for third with in the team points championship.
Marcelli also had a front row ticket to the most nail biting segment of the race. With under 15-minutes left in the race the No. 85 PC of JDC Motorsports and No. 8 of Starworks Motorsport went off track in Turn 9 nearly simultaneously. They were running third and fourth respectively. This left Marcelli as the heir apparent to third place in the PC class. He faithfully drove the car home to the third place finish.
“It’s always a good day when you’re spraying champagne,” Marcelli said. “Although, I thought it could have been a better day for us. James killed it in qualifying yesterday by getting the pole position, we had fast car again for today’s race and we had some luck on our side.
“I think maybe we missed on strategy a little bit because we lost a lot of track position coming out of the pits. We had some luck at the end to get back a couple positions at the end. I had a good race with Colin (Braun) and a good race with Bruno (Junqueira). Today was fun. I look forward to the balance of the season with these guys.”
Fuel conservation and pit strategy were two of the biggest factors of the day. Road America is a beastly 4-mile, 14-turn track. With longer tracks come less laps and each manufacturer and car setup react differently to this challenge.
Team Principal Brent O’Neill understood that on the grounds of strategy occasionally things, “shake out,” a little differently than anticipated but nonetheless was happy to be taking home another trophy.
“We’re making headway here with two podiums in a row,” O’Neill said. “It’s a good points day for us, that makes a couple podiums in a row for us. We really thought we had a car that could win the race. Especially when James, at the start, just drove away and same after the pit stop.
“It was just the way things shuffled out today, our pit stops were right there- we were actually quicker than CORE at the end. How can you be unhappy with a podium, we’ll just keep pushing forward.”
Performance Tech Motorsports’ next race will be at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The race takes place September 15 – 17 and will be aired live on FOX Sports 2. The weekend coincides with the World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas.
For updates from the team follow Performance Tech on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. For more information visit performancetechmotorsports.com.
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