Collins & Edwards finish Drinkin Mate Pontiac 3rd at Mid-Ohio
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Lexington Ohio (June 20, 2009): Paul Edwards survived a wild finish in Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to finish the #07 Drinkin' Mate Pontiac GXP.R in the 3rd position in Round 6 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

"We'll take it," said Kelly Collins as he watched his co-driver Paul Edwards fend off a late charge from the pole sitting #30 Mazda. "Third place is garnering points which we need to defend our title. Paul did a great job and the Leighton Reese Performance Group team did a great job in the pits. Our new sponsor Drinkin Mate just came on board and it was great to be able to get them onto the podium in their first Grand-Am race.

"It was a good first run for the Drinkin' Mate Pontiac GXP.R despite missing the setup a bit," said team owner Leighton Reese. "Paul and Kelly did a great job keeping our Pontiac up front and for the most part out of trouble and our crew did a fantastic job picking up positions on every pit stop."

"A third place finish was good because I was just out there holding on," said Paul Edwards. "Once again the crew did a great job on the pit stops and our Drinkin Mate Pontiac was reliable so we picked up positions on the stops when we couldn't move to the front on the track and we finished strong. As usual Kelly handed off the Drinkin Mate Pontiac to me in great position and in good condition."

The 3rd place finish moved Collins and Edwards up to 3rd in the driver's championship with 170 points with the race winning duo of Dirk Werner and Leh Keen, who have won three straight GT races, tied for 1st with 186. Pontiac still trails Porsche for the Manufacturers' title by 13 points (198 to 185).

Kelly Collins, of Newport Beach California, started the Drinkin Mate Pontiac in 4th position as even the pace lap proved to be an adventure for the Grand-Am GT competitors as the pole sitting Porsche followed the pace car into the pits just prior to the start.

"I don't know what happened but the #86 just followed the pace car into the pits," said Kelly Collins. "I don't know if it was strategy, he had a problem or just got caught out. It was a very weird start because nobody knew where to line up. We all just took the start in a bunch. At the start we got a ton of tire pickup even on cold new tires getting warmed up for the start. There must been a bunch of stuff all over the track and everybody was sliding all over the place. It went yellow right away and that was a good thing. A lot of the cars pitted under that yellow so when we got the restart everybody was out of sequence."
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