Mother Nature reminded the racing world who’s boss on August 27th in Alton, Virginia. Going into race 8 of the grueling 10-race IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the heat was truly on. Triple digit temperatures sparked extreme concern among the competitors and event organizers. Drivers took extra precautions to stay hydrated, and the cars were allowed additional cooling measures to handle the heat.
Team RS1/Legistics entered the weekend as the season’s point leaders. Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly started the #17 Porsche from the 16th spot. After a great start, Nick had passed three cars by turn one. He was settling into hunt mode and moving towards the front when everything changed.
Thundering around the track
The skies suddenly and unexpectedly turned dark; within a matter of moments, a violent downpour dramatically disrupted the course of the race. With deep puddles forming, thunder and lightning overhead, and cars flying off the track on all sides, the team made the decision to pit earlier rather than later for rain tires.
Just as Nick was being sent back out, the race went into a full course caution period. Cars slowly picked their way around the dangerous track, some with limited or no visibility because of fogged windshields and pouring rain. In the fury of the storm, tents from the stands and the paddock were being ripped from the ground. The timing and scoring mechanisms that monitor every car malfunctioned due to power outages. Safety workers and the flag crew were told to stand down for safety reasons. In the chaos, a red flag period was called. All cars were called to the pits to wait out the storm.
Time running out
The rain finally let up about a half hour later, and the race resumed on a wet track. When Nick handed off to Spencer Pumpelly with 58 minutes remaining, Spencer roared out of the pits in 21st place. Relentlessly picking off car after car, the #17 had maneuvered its way to 16th when the adrenaline-fueled team simply ran out of time. Despite the wild antics of Mother Nature, Team RS1/Legistics/RickieFowler.com remains in first place with a 6-point lead in the series. The excitement is sure to continue as the team heads to Austin, Texas on September 16th for the penultimate race on a state-of-the-art, Formula-1-designed super-track. Don’t miss it!