WeatherTech Racing Earns Top Five Finish at Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 28, 2015) - WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Leh Keen (Charleston, S.C.) and Andrew Davis (Atlanta) earned a solid top five finish in today's TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTD class Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
Under damp conditions, MacNeil started third in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche. The team's starting position was the result of yesterday's rained out qualifying, which IMSA gridded by Championship points. The team started the race on slicks despite the wet track. It was a good decision because the track began to dry out during the course of MacNeil's stint.
Under caution on lap 15, MacNeil completed his stint and handed the No. 22 Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche to Keen. Keen spent most of his first run battling changing weather conditions [from dry to wet] and traffic. By the time his stint was complete, it was raining and the team decided to go to rain tires for Davis' stint.
This decision worked. Keen was third when he handed the car to Davis and Davis spent most of his time at the wheel in the top three. Before the race was complete, Davis put in two stints and Keen did three. In fact, Keen was running second with under an hour remaining. He was knocking on the door for the top spot before he went off at Turn Seven. His trip through the grass saw him drop to 11th.
At this point, the team knew it would be an uphill battle to salvage a top five finish. Oddly enough, several other teams had similar issues late in the race, which allowed Keen to bring it home fifth.
"We really had a wild day," Keen said. "I'm really bummed because I think we could have won or at least finished on the podium. I was going for it at the end of the race. We were running third and I just passed [Andy] Lally for second. Almost right after I got into second place, I made a mistake went off in the grass and into the wall. The entire field was on the lead lap so that put us in the back - last place. We were able to bounce back to fifth, which is kind of a salvage deal. In my opinion, we missed an opportunity for a real good result or possibly a win. It's really hard right now because the guys did an awesome job."
MacNeil is still happy with a good points day and another top five finish.
"The WeatherTech Porsche was pretty good today," MacNeil said. "The conditions varied throughout the race. It started wet and then dried up. Then, we had pretty heavy rain here at the end. Leh was running second with about 50 minutes to go and spun in Turn Seven. I'm not sure if he got hit or if he did it himself. It's too bad we couldn't finish on the podium because we definitely had a winning car here to today. But, we got some decent points. It's another top 5 finish."
Davis' two stints were completely different - one in the dry and the other in the rain.
"In my first stint, it was totally dry and I was able to get it up near the front," Davis said of his stints. "We had a good car in the dry. In my second stint, the guys did a great job switching to rain tires before Leh came in. Leh suggested rains and the team thought that was a good idea. It saved my butt. We had a great run. The car was really good in the wet as well. We worked our way up to P2 and were sitting in good shape. But, the conditions make it very difficult.
"These rain races are insane. Ten minutes ago it looked very bleak [we were going to finish last], and we finished P5. Those are good points for the team championship. I think we actually gained some points on a few of the cars we're battling [in the championship]. It's a little disappointing. I think we had a car that had a shot at the podium. But, it's such a tossup with the weather conditions - and how they changed. It was very difficult [out there]. I'm really proud of the entire Alex Job Racing WeatherTech team. Our Porsche ran great. These guys worked so hard. Today's finish was not indicative of what I felt we deserved, but that's how racing goes. I'm looking forward to being back with team at Petit Le Mans."
"The WeatherTech Porsche was good enough to win today," Alex Job, team owner, said. "We had a really good run going. We were running second when Leh, unfortunately, went off. At that point, we thought that was it. We went from second to last. But, there was a lot of drama from when Leh went off to the end of the race. A lot of other cars had some issues. In the end, we finished fifth. It was still a good points day."
Up next, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship travels north of the border for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance July 10-12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.