DANVILLE, Vir., (August 27, 2017) – Sunday afternoon at VIRginia International Raceway, Paul Miller Racing earned an additional top five finish in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, surviving a chaotic race to earn a fifth place result.
The No. 48 TOTAL Lubricants/UIS Lamborghini Huracán GT3 lacked speed in the opening practices, and the engineers and crew at Paul Miller Racing experimented with various set ups in the three practice sessions to find the desired set up for Sunday’s race. Snow qualified the No. 48 TOTAL Lubricants/UIS Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in seventh.
The GTLM class led the field to green, for the second of two GT only events of the year. Racing in close quarters into turn one, Snow lost a position to Christina Nielson’s Ferrari on the start, but gained it back in lap two to sit sixth behind Andrew Davis and the Stevenson Motorsports Audi. Davis and Sage Karam battled for fifth position in turn two, resulting in Davis taking the position. Snow stayed close to Karam’s Lexus, gaining ground in the corners. In lap six, Snow set it up and made the pass for fifth. Trouble then struck for Davis in fourth, when a tire issue caused him to go off in the esses, moving Snow up to fourth. For the next 30 minutes, Snow sat comfortably in fourth, with a large gap ahead and behind the No. 48 Lamborghini. With 50 minutes complete, Snow pitted the Lamborghini in fourth for a full service stop.
Bryan Sellers took over the driving duties, rejoining in fifth. Cooper McNeil made his scheduled stop, moving Sellers back up to fourth position. Sellers began to reel in the third place car of Trent Hindman, gaining a second on the Mercedes with every lap. With one hour and four minutes remaining, poor luck struck. As Sellers exited Oak Tree, the sensor on the left rear tire reported an immediate loss in tire pressure. Fortunate to be near the pit entrance, Sellers brought the car in right away for fuel and tires. The pit stop was outside the pit window, forcing the team to conserve fuel or make an additional stop before the checker flag.
Sellers rejoined in seventh, and a fight with the Scott Pruett in the No. 15 Lexus ensued. Sellers steered clear to make the pass, taking fourth place and pulling away. With 30 minutes remaining, Sellers pulled away, hoping a caution would allow for the No. 48 to save fuel and finish the race without an additional stop. No caution came, and with five minutes remaining, Sellers pitted for a splash of fuel, rejoining and taking the checker flag in fifth.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will host the penultimate race of the season, September 21-24. The America’s Tire 200 will air Sunday, September 24, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT.
I’m pretty happy with that race. We moved up a bit from where we qualified. We knew we had a more pace in the car after we did morning warm up. We changed a couple settings that paid off, and I’m glad we were able to show that to everyone. We ended up having to take a splash of fuel at the end, but thankfully everyone was so spread out, we didn’t lose too much position. We lost one position, but made it to the end. We had a quick car and a great race.
It was a good result for us. Fourth was in the cards, had we not had a tire failure. That’s what we thought we had pace for today. It was a good day for the team, and we executed well, and came back with a decent results. A lot of people had issues today, and I felt like we dealt with them just as good, if not better than everyone else. We were able to take advantage of a bad day for a lot of people. On to the next one now. Hopefully we’ll have the pace and see if we can fight for a win before this season is over.