Rum Bum Racing Fights to Fifth in New Jersey

Rum Bum Racing Fights to Fifth in New Jersey

Late-Race yellow compromises strategy

Millville, N.J. (23 July 2011) – Rum Bum Racing had been looking to make it three podiums in a row in GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition as the series staged round nine of the 2011 championship at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Despite setting the fastest lap of the race and having a strategy that should have harvested a podium result, Rum Bum Racing had to fight back to finish fifth in the Be Positive Foundation Heroes 200 after a yellow flag put paid to a chance at an encore podium at the track for Rum Bum Racing drivers Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi.

Longhi opened the race from behind the wheel, and after making a conservative start was soon up to third in the order. Looking to move up without taking any risks, Longhi still showed the pace that the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing M3 was capable of as he clocked the fastest lap of the race on just the fourth lap.

A few laps later, the race leader was sent spinning from the front after running across some oil on the track. Unfortunately, the track conditions also sent the Rum Bum machine spinning–nearly.

Longhi was able to save the car from spinning off-track and instead of suffering the same fate as the leader, just drove straight through the run-off area before safely returning to the course. While the quick action kept the car out of harms way, it still cost some track position as Longhi fell to 10th.

“We had the fastest car of the race,” said Longhi, whose son Max was on hand and celebrating his birthday. “I was pretty happy with the start, and everyone behaved. But then I encountered something–not sure what it was– but it sent me off. So to keep from spinning the car, I just went straight. At that point, just wanted to be conservative and careful and pick my spots to move back up. When you fall back, you race against some guys who might not have the same approach as the guys driving at the front so you have to be careful. But being consistent always pays off, and I was just saving the car and fuel and trying to move up where I could.”

But using the most of the speed in the car saw Longhi pick his way back forward to move to sixth before turning the car over to Plumb on a quick stop just under an hour into the race.

Plumb returned to the fray and after working forward from seventh in the order, was once again up to podium position by lap 36. One final pit stop saw the Rum Bum BMW fueled to the finish, with Plumb eighth on the restart. The strategy play was set to have the BMW the only machine ready to go all the way to the finish, with Plumb and Longhi doing their part to conserve fuel all along.

Unfortunately, a full course caution on lap 44 spelled the end of the advantage as the competition got a free pass to pit and take on fuel to the finish as the field circulated behind the pace car. With the advantage erased, and the Rum Bum machine mired deep in the pack, it was a tough run to the finish. But Plumb once again showed his speed and smarts to bring the car home fifth at the finish.

“Everything was good until that yellow came out,” said Plumb, who had been hoping to be the first driver to see the checkered flag that his mother had been selected to wave as part of the Be Positive event.

“The strategy was right, but the advantage went out the window at that point. So, we were back in that pack, and just not getting all the air to the car as we needed to be, so the temps were higher than they normally would be. That cost us some power today. So even though the car continued to handle great, I just didn’t have the grunt I needed to move up. It is a shame because we had so many friends and family here this weekend to root us on and to support the Be Positive organization that a podium would have been a great way to not only close out the day but also make a dent in the championship.”

SPEED will show the 2.5-hour race at 3:00 PM (ET) on July 30.
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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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