Alex Job Racing drivers Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.), Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Frankie Montecalvo (Highlands, N.J.), finished 14th in the GTD class in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
Bell started 16th on the GTD grid and his No. 23 Audi R8 LMS ran a nearly flawlessly throughout his first stint. In fact, he had the car in the top 10 just 22 laps into the six hour race. But, no sooner than he got into the top 10, the left rear tire on the No. 23 Audi went flat exiting the Turn 1 curbing. Subsequently, Bell had to limp the car around the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course back to pit lane. This put the team two laps down with a little more than five hours remaining.
“Early on, the car was good,” Bell said. “We made up a few spots and things were looking good. But, coming off the Turn 1 curbing, I got a flat left rear tire and had to drive it slowly back to the pits. When you have to drive more than three miles slowly, it takes some time. This really impacted the rest of our day.”
Once in pit lane, Bell handed the controls over to Sweedler for his first stint. From there, the team knew it needed some luck to get the two laps back. Sweedler did his part and drove a clean, solid stint before turning the No. 23 Audi over to Montecalvo on lap 54 for his iron man triple stint.
“It is tough when you go down laps in the first stint from a tire issue,” Sweedler said. “We worked on the car all through practice, the team had to put a new transmission in it after qualifying so we were looking forward to the race. Townsend reported that the car was handling great his first stint and then the flat. We tried to fight back all day, but it was too big of a deficit to make up.”
“It wasn’t easy out there,” Montecalvo said of his triple stint. “I went into this race with a minimal amount of track time. The first stint was about getting up to speed and learning the car. After that, I really started to figure it out and drop our times. I think we had a great pace similar to the race leader. It was a really weird race for us. We stayed out of trouble, didn’t have any penalties, and didn’t have any major spins or contact. I think whole team, AJR, Bill and Townsend did a great job. It just wasn’t our weekend. We’ll take what we learned and build off of it.”
“The flat tire killed us early,” Bell said. “We couldn’t get any luck. We couldn’t get our laps back. We didn’t hit anything. We didn’t make any mistakes. We didn’t have any penalties. But, we ran toward the back all day and that rarely happens.”
“Frankie, Bill and Townsend did all they could today,” Alex Job, team owner said. “We got the Audi right for the race and then the unfortunate flat. The GTD class is so competitive that an issue like that is very tough to overcome. The drivers and team did a good job the rest of the race, we just couldn’t make up the laps.”
The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship next heads north of the border to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix July 7 – 9.
Source. Kyle Chura/Alex Job Racing