Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (Saturday, August 4, 2018) – Canadian Damon Ockey accomplished the first part of his plan for this weekend’s races at Road America when he captured the win in the AM class along with a fifth-place overall finish in the No. 09 Lamborghini of Calgary today. The LB Cup duo of Mark Proto and Parris Mullins finished third in their class for the fifth time in five races. The No. 50 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills crossed the line in third-place overall, but a penalty for a pit stop infraction knocked them off the podium. Brian Thienes was hit and crashed in the closing laps of the race and was unable to finish for the first time this season.
Ockey qualified second in class for today’s Round 5 action but was able to move into the lead with a flawless pit stop and some great driving.
“Started today’s race P2 in class,” Ockey said. “The set up on the car was awesome. The team did a great job getting the car perfect. The balance was really good. We did try a little different brake-bias that I didn’t like, so we’ll probably go back to our regular bias tomorrow. I drove a really good race. The pit stop was perfect, which allowed me to come out in front of the P1 car. I was able to hold him off for the rest of the race. We had a couple of safety cars and we finished under yellow. I probably could have held him off, but it was kind of nice to finish without any stress.”
USRT’s LB Cup duo of Mark Proto and Parris Mullins brought home the team’s other podium finish with some great driving. The No. 88 Lamborghini of La Jolla started the race fifth in class, but Mark Proto was able to make a stellar pass to move the pair into third-place just prior to the driver change. Mullins was able to avoid some major late-race crashes to bring the car safely home in third.
“The race went really well today,” Mark Proto said. “We came home with a third-place finish, which gave us much needed points. We have a good car for the race tomorrow and I’m looking forward to giving it our best tomorrow morning.”
“I’m just happy to walk away from today’s race with points,” Mullins added. “There were a lot of big accidents that we were just behind that we could have been collected in. Mark made a pass in his stint to get us into third and I just had to maintain it and stay out of trouble. It looks like there’s a chance, due to one of today’s accidents, that we may end up starting tomorrow on the pole. That’s always a great place to start the race.”
Piscopo started today’s race fourth overall, third in class but was able to make a pass on the opening lap to move the No. 50 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills into third-place overall. A slight miscalculation on the pit stop resulted in a .6 second penalty which ultimately cost the PRO drivers their podium finish.
“Not the result we hoped for,” Piscopo said. “Unfortunately, we made a small mistake in the pit stop but that’s racing and it happens. The fact that we had a safety car at the end penalized us. Otherwise we would probably have finished the race third and we would have passed the Change Racing car for the championship lead. Overall, nothing is lost and nothing is gained. We’re still here fighting for tomorrow.”
“Today was good,” Taylor Proto added. “We had good pace. We were really gearing up to have a good fight toward the end but the last few laps we unfortunately had some issues with safety cars. I tried to pull away on the restarts in order to clear the six-tenths of penalty time we had from a pit lane timing error. Unfortunately, as we were coming around putting our sights on the No. 29 car, we had another safety car come out. At that point there was really nothing we could do. So now we’ll knuckle down and focus on tomorrow.”
Brian Thienes was running fourth in the AM class when he was hit hard with just two laps to go in the race. The No. 17 Thienes Engineering Lamborghini of Beverly Hills hit the wall hard bringing out the final yellow flag of the race. US RaceTronics’ owner Shane Seneviratne was disappointed for Thienes as well as the duo of Piscopo and Taylor Proto, but was proud of the effort everyone put into today’s race.
“It was an up and down race,” Seneviratne said. “We had some bad luck with the 17 car. Brian got hit, which resulted in a pretty big crash and a lot of damage to his car. Hopefully we’ll be able to get it back out tomorrow. We’re going to try our best. All the other cars did a great job. We did get a small penalty on the No. 50 car with Edoardo and Taylor for a pit lane infraction which cost us a position. Overall, they had a really good race. Our focus is on points, so we have to keep finishing well and getting as many points as possible. Taylor got his first career pole this morning and I’m very proud of him, so we’ll be starting tomorrow’s race from P1. We’re hoping for a good result tomorrow for all the cars.”
Race 2 goes green Sunday, August 5 at 10:55 a.m. CDT and will be streamed live at http://squadracorse.lamborghini.com/en-en/live-streaming and http://imsatv.imsa.com/.