Rum Bum Racing Fights to Score Seventh at Barber Motorsports Park

Rum Bum Racing Fights to Score Seventh at Barber Motorsports Park

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., 9 April – Rum Bum Racing showed well throughout the Barber 200, the third round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The Daytona-round winning squad saw their race strategy thwarted by some unlucky yellow flag timing, but still rallied to finish in seventh place overall. The result keeps drivers Nick Longhi and Matt Plumb near the head of the championship table, only 12 points adrift of the team championship leaders.

Despite keeping a focus on the championship goal and struggling with grip, the No. 13 Rum Bum BMW M3 ran as high as third midway through the race and was a constant presence in the top-10 throughout. Following the fifth and final caution of the two and half hour race, the top-seven made a last, thrilling dash to the checkers with all seven cars running nose-to-tail during the course of the last four laps. In the end all seven cars finished just over six seconds off of the lead.

Longhi chaired the opening stint, immediately moving up to run in podium position. But by lap eight, the car was becoming increasingly loose, costing him track position as he was staying mindful of the risk-reward factors involved with over zealously defending. He pitted during the first caution for fuel and tires and handed the No. 13 over to Plumb, who rejoined in 18th place.

“I got a very good start and moved up to third right away,” said Longhi. “The car felt great the first few laps, and I could keep that early pace, but the plan was to just conserve the car so I didn’t chase the top-two cars. Joe (Varde) told me to keep the car together, don’t take any chances, and I actually gave a few spots up willingly as I just didn’t want to jeopardize anything. Then, I think something happened with the track temperature because we just didn’t have the grip we wanted. With the weight that we have to run our car at now, it was difficult to hold onto and the heat only made that worse.”

With a fresh set of Continental rubber, Plumb worked his way though the field rising to as high as third place before needing to stop once more for fuel service on lap 41, taking advantage of the race’s third full course yellow. With most of the field choosing to remain on track, Plumb rejoined from 39th place. Soon enough, he was back in the top-10 as a result of both speed and pitting ahead of many others.

“We tried to work our pit stop and fuel strategy to perfection, but the yellows and the timing didn’t go the way we had hoped,” said Plumb, who fought through the hot and humid conditions through the final stages of the race. “Had it gone without cautions, we’d have been on the podium. Our fuel guys had the numbers right down to the gallon. But there were the extra yellows, and so the cars up front that should have needed fuel didn’t need to stop. The way we cycled through, we were too far back to make up that track position.”

Two other caution periods would follow, but the status quo amongst the top-10 remained largely intact. Plumb clawed his way up to seventh place for the final sprint to the finish latching onto the leading train without opportunity for any further progress.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be the best place for this car and we just wanted to get out of here with the points that we could from this race and go from here,” added Longhi. “We have some tracks where we should be very strong coming up. It’s frustrating to have it come down to luck with yellows like this, but we’ll take the points and just go from here.”

In the constant effort to maintain a competition parity, officials regulate cars in a variety of ways. Plumb was left to wonder whether they are getting it a little too right?

“The Camaro and Mustang cars’ strength was on display. Hopefully, GRAND-AM is content with the adjustments,” mused Plumb. “It’s clear that it’s an even playing field. Maybe too even. The Mustang that passed me in the final stages went on to pass four or five more cars before the finish, so they were clearly very strong. But we can’t wait to get to VIR and hopefully take back this championship lead.”

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.


Matt Cleary
Sunday Group Management
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.

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