SpeedSource Returns to Watkins Glen
The GRAND-AM Rolex series returned to Watkins Glen International Raceway this weekend for the Continental Tire 200 presented by Dunn Tire. This event marked this year's second race at the famous New York facility. Fifteen GT cars were slated to take the grid for the two hour sprint race.
The #70 castrol ModSpace Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-8 arrived at the Glen third in points following a podium finish at Indianapolis. Practice sessions were plagued by damp conditions and many teams chose to limit their track time. Conditions improved for qualifying and Sylvain Tremblay placed the car fifth on the grid.
The SpeedSource team looked poised to make a jump the championship point standings early in the race, after a first lap incident put the top two teams well back in the field. This elevated the #70 to 4th place. A fast first pit stop and consistent lap times kept the matte-black Mazda near the front for the first half of the event. Tremblay handed the car to co-driver Jonathan Bomarito 52 minutes into the race.
With one hour remaining, the SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 was caught up in an incident during a four way battle for fifth place. The fifth and sixth place cars made contact entering turn one, causing both cars to spin. Bomarito, sensing trouble, had backed off early and taken to the outside run off area. However, he was left with nowhere to go and was hit by a spinning competitor. The impact caused significant damage to the right front suspension, forcing the 70 car behind the wall for repairs. Thanks to the quick work of the SpeedSource crew, the team was able to rejoin the race with 34 minutes remaining. The #70 Castrol ModSpace Mazdaspeed Mazda would eventually finish in 12th place. Despite the disappointing result, the team remains third in the championship points.
Next week the series moves to Montreal and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The SpeedSource team looks to rebound and improve on last year's second place finish. The race will be televised live on SPEED at 7PM Eastern Time on Saturday, August 18th.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazda's on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you'll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing,