After a late race caution eliminated the team’s 15 second leading advantage on the field, Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) finished second in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday.
Drivers Olivier Pla and Dane Cameron combined to lead 125 laps of the 200 lap race in the No. 60 MSR Acura DPi on their way to a second podium (12 Hours of Sebring) of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
Starting the race from the front row, Cameron made a decisive move to take the lead on the opening lap and ran out front for 47 of the 51 lap opening stint before turning the car over to Pla for his first laps behind the wheel. Pla and Cameron traded turns onboard the AutoNation / SiriusXM Acura, managing the pace of the race in what looked to be a run to the top of the podium.
It was a strong team performance, as the No. 60 Acura ran in first or second position for all but six laps of the race, when the car was classified third.
Cameron had raced to a 15 second advantage by lap 169 before turning the Acura over to Pla for the closing stint. But that lead was erased as the field regrouped for a caution period following an incident for an LMP2 with just 40-minutes to go. The team took to pit lane for a fast final service for a splash of fuel and left side tires only as Pla returned to the fray in second position.
Working through intense traffic in pursuit of the lead, Pla had to keep a close eye on fuel strategy as he gave chase all the way to the line. Pla closed the gap to the leader 1-second per lap but GT traffic slowed his charge and Pla came up just 0.965-seconds short of victory.
“Dane (Cameron) gave me the car with a massive gap, but that last yellow came at the wrong moment, so I knew what I had to do and after that and that it would be a fuel saving race,” said Pla. “I was able to close in on the Mazda at the end, but unfortunately traffic got in the way. We just needed another lap, it’s a shame. The Meyer Shank Racing team did a perfect job and we know what pace we have so we will need to keep it going.”
The pace will prove beneficial to MSR who will be competing at Watkins Glen for a second round of competition on Friday.
“I am disappointed to come up short after what was a really great day – the best day of the year for us,” said Cameron. “I am proud of everyone for executing so well today. It hasn’t been an easy year with results, but today was a good showing for us. There was an odd call during the yellow about spacing, so when it stayed green longer than expected, that is when things changed. While we didn’t win today, I am super happy with the effort this Meyer Shank Racing team put in today. P2 is good and in a couple days we get to do it again knowing we have a great package. Today wasn’t our day but we will go after it on Friday.”
The team will return to Watkins Glen for the WeatherTech 240 this Friday, July 2.