Contact Ruins Rum Bum Racing's Return to Victory Lane
Watkins Glen, NY (3 June 2011) - Less than one week after Rum Bum Racing drivers Nick Longhi and Matt Plumb won the Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park with the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing BMW M3, the team was right on track to make the same statement with a win at Watkins Glen on Friday night.
Unfortunately, the roller coaster that has been the last three rounds of GRAND-AM racing for Rum Bum Racing took a plunge on Friday night as the No. 13 was damaged after contact from another car. The hit and resulting damage forced the machine back behind the wall for repairs, scuttling any shot at a win. The team rallied to make repairs and return to the track to run to the checkered flag and scrape as many possible championship points out of the predicament, but the damage was done as the team finished 20th in class.
Longhi opened the race and after being frustrated to only qualify fifth, found himself behind the wheel of a car that felt just like it has in races past. While he knew he had a machine capable of charging to the front, Longhi played it cool, knowing that it was more important to stick to the plan and turn the car over in top-five position, which was exactly what he did.
"The car was absolutely transformed compared to what we experienced in qualifying, and I was nearly giggling in my helmet about how good the car was," said Longhi. "Joe Varde had once again worked some magic, and the car was back to its old self. I know those Camaros have an unbelievable amount of speed in a straight line, but we had a race winning car today, no question."
Plumb returned to the track in seventh after a quick pit stop from the Rum Bum Racing crew, and was quickly up to fifth in the order after the restart. A line of cars formed behind a Mustang that was fast in a straight line but with a non series regular behind the wheel, giving up a lot of time in the corners. Plumb had the pace, but the competitor didn't have the race craft as he came slamming into the Rum Bum BMW at the apex of turn one, even though Plumb had the line.
"I really don't know what he was thinking. We were behind him and had several chances to get by, but I didn't know how he'd race me so I wanted to wait until it was a clean shot," said a gutted Plumb. "I just don't know what to say-I was already there inside him but he came right down and just hit me. Unbelievable. It's just not possible that he didn't see me. I'm so disappointed, I can barely think of what to say right now. The car was spectacular--and that almost makes it worse, to have such a competitive car but to have something like this take us out of a win."