Our Racing to End Alzheimer's ambassador Danielle Stratton is ready for the fans at Watkins Glen, NY. The tent was updated, and loaded up with caps and wristbands ready to be snatched up by the eager crowds. Danielle appeared alongside drivers Devin Jones and Nick Galante on the paddock as well, to greet attendees and talk up Racing to End Alzheimer's.
See the accompanying story to find out how the race went, and don't forget to donate at r2endalz.org !
WATKINS GLEN, NY — The final weekend in June was a scorcher in upstate New York. With temps in the mid-90s on race day at the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in Watkins Glen, every team in attendance knew they were in for a mind-frying, tire-melting, four-hour test of sheer human and mechanical endurance.
For the #81 BimmerWorld Legistics/Veristor/YouRulz Racing to End Alzheimer’s team, things were heating up in more ways than one. At the top of the timing sheets in practice sessions, the team had a blazing fast qualifying run, with driver Devin Jones setting a new track record (previously set by teammate Nick Galante the year before). Meanwhile, the Racing to End Alzheimer’s tent was a hive of activity, with dedicated team members working full throttle to get the word out about this year’s revved up campaign to fund efforts to stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks.
A smokin' start
With the mercury soaring as the green flag came down, Devin Jones got off to a great start to take the lead into turn one. A crash up ahead in another class threw the field into chaos, forcing Jones to navigate around the mess, narrowly avoiding a potentially debilitating collision to maintain his lead in the ST class. By lap 15, Jones had extended his lead by over 8 seconds. Still holding the #1 position, he pitted for a full stop at the halfway point in the race.
Nick Galante tore onto the track for the remaining two-hour stint. Maintaining the lead, he pulled into the pit for a final fuel stop and fresh tires with an hour remaining on the clock. But something wasn’t right. A slight fuel leak tipped the crew to a rip in the fuel hose. The team made a strategic decision to send Galante back onto the track while repairs were made. He pitted again to receive the necessary fix and fuel to finish the race. Despite the lost time, the #81 quickly caught up with the field. Now in 4th place, Galante began his charge toward the front. With 20 minutes remaining, he was in 3rd and closing in on the points-leading car of Matt Pombo. After a five-lap battle, Galante executed a pass heading into the tight downhill turn #6 to claim the 2nd spot.
Keeping the heat on
With only 10 minutes left in the race, it looked like the team was going to cruise its way to at least a 2nd place finish. But this sizzler of a race wasn’t over yet. A car attempting a late pass failed to hold his line, slamming into the side of the #81. When Galante recovered from the subsequent spin, he was back in 3rd place. Keeping his head down and gunning it to close the gap, Galante was in position to capitalize when the points-leading car broke its drive shaft on the penultimate lap of the grueling four-hour race. The #81 claimed the 2nd spot after all – and rose to 2nd in the season points standings. All in all, a great result in a true pot boiler of a race.
Next up: The team heads over the border to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville Ontario. Watch the race live at imsa.com on Saturday July 7th at 2:55 ET.
LEXINGTON, OHIO — Unpredictable traffic on an unfamiliar track made for a wild ride at the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race on May 5th.
With five years since the last series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, some of the drivers had never raced on the highly technical 2.258-mile track – and many others were feeling the pressure of getting reacquainted with the quirks of the course after such a long hiatus. Intermittent rain over the weekend meant that conditions were changeable, adding another level of uncertainty to the mix.
Despite the challenges, the BimmerWorld #81 BMW 328i sponsored by Legistics, Veristor and Racing to End Alzheimer’s (r2endalz.org), had an impressive run. Driver Nick Galante was blazing fast all weekend, setting a new ST track record with a time of 1:34.309 to earn the class pole.
On race day, Galante led for the first 15 laps before pitting for fuel on lap 17. In fifth place after the pit stop, he battled back to third by lap 30 – and reclaimed the lead on lap 36. Five laps later, Galante pitted to turn the wheel over to co-driver Devin Jones.
Starting his stint in fourth place, Jones soon found himself in heavy traffic, with some cars violating yellow flag procedures, causing confusion and congestion on the track. Even though he was a novice on the tricky Mid-Ohio course and dealing with adverse conditions, Jones set a solid pace and kept the car out of trouble, earning the BimmerWorld team another trip to the podium with a third place finish – and more points in the hard-fought battle for the ST season championship.
The next race for the Legistics/Veristor/r2endalz.org team will be over the June 28–July 1 weekend in Watkins Glen, New York.
SEBRING, FLORIDA — Sebring International Raceway has a reputation as a rough ride. The historic track in the heart of Florida is 3.74 miles of jarring bumps and unpredictable turns. There’s not another track like it, and the two-hour IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series race in mid-March posed unique challenges for even the most experienced cars, drivers and crews.
The track was already hot when the #81 Legistics/Veristor/YouRulz/r2endalz.org BMW 328i driven by Nick Galante started the race from third position and quickly took the lead. The run up front was short-lived, however, as the 2nd place Mini made contact in an effort to pass – and both cars spun out.
“I had some pressure from the No. 37 Mini and out of nowhere, I got hit,” Galante said. “It seemed like it came from very far back, so I didn’t see it coming. Luckily, our car wasn’t that damaged. It went from 100 percent to about 95 percent. The contact knocked some toe out of the rear, which may have actually helped it turn better in some of the turns. I hunted down the other ST cars and regained the lead again four laps later.”
Overall, the #81 led a total of 14 laps through the race. But fate had other plans for the BimmerWorld BMW. The team was forced to pit for emergency fuel under a yellow flag while the pits were closed. That drew a 60-second penalty. A few laps later, the car made its only scheduled pit stop, and co-driver Devin Jones took the controls. Hoping for another yellow to give them a fighting chance after the costly drive-through penalty, the team discovered that they had a sensor issue and were running low on power. They finished the race in 5th place.
“It was just one of those days,” Jones said. “The BimmerWorld guys did a great job getting the car prepared, and we’ll get back up there for Mid-Ohio. The car has the speed; we just have to work some of the kinks out of it and we’ll be good.”
Despite the disappointing finish at Sebring, the team is still in second place in the championship standings going in to the next event May 4-6 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Stay tuned – the season is just getting started!