Slow Driver Change Costs No. 50 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills a Shot at the Win
|Lexington, Ohio (Monday, May 7, 2018) – US RaceTronics grabbed three more podium finishes on Sunday, to bring their total to seven for the opening weekend of the 2018 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course. Mark Proto and Parris Mullins won the LB Cup class on Sunday to remain undefeated in their class. Damon Ockey finished second in AM, while Brian Thienes held on for his second third-place finish of the young season. Taylor Proto was running second overall prior to the mandatory pitstop, but a slow driver change cost the team valuable seconds and a chance to challenge for the win.
While Mark Proto and Parris Mullins lead the points in LB Cup after winning both races in their class at the season-opener, Proto would have liked to have seen a bit more green-flag racing. The yellow flag was out for much of the opening stint on Sunday, which was disappointing for the co-driver of the No. 88 Lamborghini of La Jolla since he drove under yellow much of Saturday’s race as well.
“I was excited to be the starting driver for today’s race,” Proto said, “but once again I did a lot of my stint under the yellow flag. The team gave me a great car and I was really looking forward to pushing it harder than I had the opportunity to. Hopefully Watkins Glen will have fewer yellow flags and I’ll get to do a bit more green-flag racing. Parris did a great job during the second stint and brought car home in perfect shape for another class win.”
“There were a lot of cautions this weekend,” Mullins added. “I feel really bad that my co-driver didn’t get to do as much driving as I did. This was a very challenging track and it was our first time here, so I’m extremely happy with our results for the weekend. I’m excited to being going back to Watkins Glen for the next two rounds of the championship. That’s a track we’re all familiar with and I’m confident we can be competitive there as well.”
Damon Ockey leaves the season-opener with a four-point lead in the points over Ryan Hardwick. Ockey was leading the class in the No. 09 Lamborghini of Calgary on Sunday when a mistake took him briefly off-course. Although he recovered quickly, precious seconds were lost allowing Hardwick to grab the win. Despite the disappoint of not winning both races, Ockey was happy with his overall success in his return to the sport.
“Well, today’s race I started P1 in class and P7 overall,” Ockey said. “I had a really good start and the first half of the race was really good. We were under yellow before the pitstop. I came in really well and had a killer pitstop. My out-lap was good, but the second lap after the out-lap I made a mistake and went into the grass after turn 1. I lost three seconds on that lap and that’s where the P2 car was able to get around me in his pitstop. He came out just in front of me, but I was never able to challenge him. He was just driving really well. So, I’ll take P2. It was a good race. It was a fun weekend and I’m really happy to be back.”
Brian Thienes, who is tied for third in the points, would have liked to have finished higher on the podium but was satisfied walking away from a track that doesn’t really suit his driving style still in the hunt for the championship. Thienes is expecting to have much better results when the team goes to Watkins Glen International the end of June.
“We started from third today and finished third,” Thienes said. “I had a good chance to finish second, but I made a couple of mistakes which is typical for me at this track. I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen where the track suits my driving style better. I know the team will put together a great car for Watkins Glen just like they did here. I expect to be on the top step of the podium there.”
Taylor Proto started the race in second overall and was challenging for the lead before bringing the No. 50 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills in to the pits for the driver change. A miscalculation by the team resulted in a much longer pitstop than was normal and cost Proto and Piscopo the opportunity to challenge Snow and Lewis for the win.
“We had really good race-pace,” Proto said. “Unfortunately, we had some mistakes in the pitstop. We have to learn from that and come back from it. We had a good weekend overall and I think we’ll be in better shape for Watkins Glen, which I’m looking forward to.”
“I’m a little bit disappoint with the result as we are normally very strong during driver changes,” Piscopo added. “but this time we made a mistake that cost us over 30 seconds and that was it. The race-pace was competitive and I’m sure we would have definitely fought with Snow to win the race if it weren’t for that mistake. On to the next one.”
Team owner Shane Seneviratne was pleased with his team’s performance in the opening rounds of the 2018 season.
“It was a good weekend overall,” Seneviratne said. “This is our first year running four cars and the team structure worked pretty well. Everybody on the crew did a great job. All the drivers performed well and I feel like we worked well as a team, so I’m proud of that accomplishment. Race 1 was very good for us, but Race 2 we made a mistake on the No. 50 car with our driver change and that cost us. It took us a little bit longer than it should have to get it done. Without that, we would have had all four cars on the podium for the second straight day. I feel for the guys on the 50 car, but I’m happy that we had an overall decent weekend and that everyone’s in good shape in the points.”
The team will be in action again at the famed Watkins Glen International June 29 to July 1. You can follow US RaceTronics and their drivers all season at: