Greener BeeGreen ElectronicsEric Curran, Dane Cameron repeat as Road America IMSA winners

Elkhart Lake — The words “routine” and “workmanlike” come to mind in describing the action Sunday in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America.

Eric Curran and Dane Cameron didn’t do anything spectacular. The just didn’t do anything wrong.

And the result over 2 hours and 40 minutes was . . . well . . . predictable.

Curran put their Corvette prototype in position during his stint, and Cameron navigated traffic and brought to the checkers for the second consecutive year at Road America.

Teammates Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa finished second — as they did last season — and Action Express Racing scored its third consecutive 1-2 finish this year. The cars are first and second in the IMSA WeatherTech sport-car championship with Sunday’s result moving Cameron and Curran within a point with two races remaining.

“It’s fun to be in a good fight, and it’s fun to see how good our Action Express program is,” Curran said.

“Pit stops and strategy, the consistency and the reliability is all there. It’s amazing this team can be this strong. For Dane and I, we’re just jelling more and more as the races go on, and Dane’s doing an amazing job behind the wheel.”

As perfect as their day appeared, the 31 car did have a couple of “little issues behind the scenes,” Curran said, including Cameron losing his dashboard electronics late in the race.

“Our team just keeps pushing forward,” Curran said. “Whatever the issues are, deal with them, go. Deal with them, go. Never give up, and expect to win.”

Meanwhile, the Mazda shared by pole-winner Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez, the fastest car in the opening stages of the race, fell out of contention because of curious pit strategy.

Nunez sat second behind Barbosa after the driver change 40 minutes in. When a yellow flag flew a short time later, Nunez stayed on track while all the other prototypes pitted.

The Mazda would still need two more stops, but Nunez had to make them both under the green flag.

The last of them, with 34 minutes left after everyone else had pitted, turned his 28-second lead into a 38-second deficit. Nunez and Bomarito finished fifth, more than 20 seconds back.

“They had something different working for them, and at the end of the day it didn’t work out,” Fittipaldi said. “If you had asked me at that point, I’d have said, hmmmm, this is a pretty risky move.”

Cameron grabbed the lead from Jordan Taylor with an hour to go, using a lapped GT car in Turn 3, and controlled the race from there.

A late caution, for a tangle of Prototype Challenge cars at the entrance to the Carousel, set up a three-lap shootout, but Barbosa couldn’t capitalize.

“At the end, the pace was very similar but track position is key here,” he said. “There was not much I could do at the end when you feel you’re a bit faster and you just need the right opportunity. Unfortunately, the opportunity didn’t show up.”

The late yellow changed the GT Le Mans class race completely.

Corvette veteran Tommy Milner restarted fifth but was close enough to take advantage of the game of bumper cars that broke out ahead.

“It went green and everything happened in front of me,” said Milner, who teamed with Oliver Gavin.

“A car spun in front of me in (Turn) 5. The next lap . . . the Ferrari got taken out. I was able to get by the 912 (Porsche) and I was able to get close to the Ford and it seemed like they were a little hurt at the end.

“I don’t know that happened. I don’t know how we went from fifth with three laps to go . . . to talking about the win.”

Although the final yellow didn’t affect the outcome of the race in the pro-am Prototype Challenge class, it did impact the championship.

Regner van Der Zande and Stephen Simpson crashed out in their battle for second in the race, while Tom Kimber-Smith and Robert Alon were on their way to victory.

“The first thing that went through my mind was, why is there a safety car and how annoyed I was,” Kimber-Smith said. “Regner was going to be right on my back.

“If you were going to have any cars go out of the race, it’d be the championship leader (van Der Zande) and the guy who’s third place in the fight (Simpson).”

Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen repeated as winners in the GT Daytona class driving a Viper.

“Even going back to the old GTSR days, there’s something about Road America that seems to like the Viper,” Keating said. “So everyone seems to ask me what track I love the most. My answer is I love the tracks that love me back. This is one of those places.”

Porsche GT3 Cup: Jesse Lazare pulled away early and then again after a restart to beat teammate Jake Eidson and complete a weekend sweep.

Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo: Shinya Michimi won by more than 21 seconds.

Article source: http://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/motor/2016/08/08/eric-curran-dane-cameron-repeat-road-america-imsa-winners/88353522/


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