Continued Progress for Insight Racing at Barber Motorsports Park

Continued Progress for Insight Racing at Barber Motorsports Park

Insight Racing No. 18 Scores Second Straight Top 10. No 19 Knocked Out of Certain Top 10

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., 9 April – While the Barber 200 result didn’t reflect the full potential that the team showed on race day, Insight Racing took another significant step forward on Saturday, leading the race and scoring the teams best result to date.

Nico Rondet along with Jeff Westphal, who was making his Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge debut with Insight Racing, delivered the best result so far for the young team, shrugging of a number of setbacks to finish in ninth place in the ST Class at Barber Motorsports Park. The result marks the second top-10 finish for the No.18 on its maiden season.

And it could well have been a double top-10, with the GS Class No. 19 car of Paul Gerrard and Martin Jenson running strongly throughout the two and a half hour contest at Barber Motorsports Park. That strong outting was thwarted when the car was the innocent victim of a clash between other cars on track that forced Jensen, who was at the controls in 11th place and making forward progress, off track when he was hit from the side in a multi-car melee. Jensen was able to quickly resume but the damage to track position had been done. Despite dropping to as low as 39th at one point, Jensen clawed his way back up to 16th place, where he would finish the race.

“I saw that he was going to try and out brake me in the next corner, so I gave a little bit of room. I looked in the mirror and I saw the car – actually I was surprised he was farther back than he was, but I looked one more time just to be sure and when I looked back, I saw the car flying down quite a lot. What was actually the worst part about it was that it was the last guy in that group. I’m sorry to say, it seemed like a very stupid maneuver and it completely changed our race,” said a deeply frustrated Jensen after the race. “So for me and for the team, I’m very disappointed. We got to the checkered flag this time, which was positive, but the guys really deserved a top-10 this weekend.”

The No. 19 BMW M3 was a principal animator of the early stages of the race. Gerrard took the opening stint and quickly leapfrogged from ninth to fifth place during the opening lap and by lap 25 was soon battling for the race lead. Meanwhile, Westphal was charged with the opening driver duty on the No. 18 BMW 328i, and he too ran as high as the third position in class during the opening hour of racing.

“We started fourth and we got shuffled back at the start. The guy in front of me was a little conservative so when he tried to slot back in, I had to check up,” said Westphal about his first stint in the Insight No.18. “It was a dream to work with the team. They were very professional, and I would welcome the chance to come back and help them again if they ever needed it. Despite not getting off to a fast start, this was a great weekend and I’m very impressed with this team.”

Gerrard commenting on his opening stint said, “With what we’re doing with the team, and I always go back to this, but the team where it is relative to how much track time we’ve had, is amazing. Steve (Dinan) made a great call on our set-up that really helped us with tires over the course of the stint. We made up a couple positions on the start and everyone else started to fade a little bit, but we just had that ability to keep that pace going.”

Both Insight team cars came in for service and driver changes during the second of the race’s five caution periods. Gerrard handed the reigns to Jensen while Westphal swapped with Rondet. The middle portion of the race was marked by steady progress through the field for the black and white Insight machines.

While the No. 19 had his misfortunes, the No. 18 was left mired in traffic on a circuit notorious for its lack of passing opportunity and having lost fourth gear, to boot. Nevertheless, Rondet remained cool under pressure. After the fourth of five caution periods, Rondet had been shuffled down to as low as 16th place in class, but the final caution period reshuffle returned him to 10th place in class. With four laps to go, he gained another valuable position to ninth and the team’s best finish so far.

“We had podium potential cars,” said team principal Gilbert Lynagh. “The pace was there, they were good on tires and the cars were prepped well. Some days the bear gets you, some days you get the bear. Nico drove the car splendidly to ninth place with no fourth gear which is a huge gear on this racetrack – it’s half the race track. He did a phenomenal job – he really showed how professional he really is. The GS car – we were biding our time. We had made our stops early and we had enough fuel to the end. Unfortunately some drivers here are just not using their heads and trying to be heros with 45 minutes left. We could have probably finished another five or six cars higher because Martin’s lap times were 1-2 seconds faster than everybody in front of him, but hats off to everybody who worked so hard this week and did a great job. We had a team meeting and we talked about critical thinking as one of the core components of success and they really took it to heart.

“It’s another weekend, we learned more, we developed more, we got a few things to work on now, but we’re going to do some extensive testing at VIR. Luckily, while we don’t like big gaps in the schedule – for us as a new team – it helps us a lot because we have tremendous amount of development to get done. Unfortunately we’re going to lose a week of that because of the damage, but I’m really very happy with the group.”

The next round of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge takes place at Virginia International Raceway on May 13-14. Catch the full race broadcast of the Barber 200, on April 16 at 2:00 PM eastern on SPEED.

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Matt Cleary
Sunday Group Management
media
http://www.sundaymanagement.com
317.908.2975 (m)


Based in Indianapolis, Sunday Group Management is a leading motorsports management and communications consulting firm.

Sunday Group Management works with clients in a variety of motorsports categories, including NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger, Riley Technologies, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series organization Michael Shank Racing, Continental Tire, and several teams and drivers in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition.

For additional information: www.sundaymanagement.com, https://sundaygroupblog.wordpress.com, www.facebook.com/sundaygroup, or twitter.com/Sundaygroup

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