Keeping ‘em guessing
BISCUITVILLE GRAND PRIX, ALTON, VIRGINIA — Thanks to a home track advantage and a healthy lead in the season’s points standings, Virginia based BimmerWorld Racing entered this past weekend’s Biscuitville Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway with high expectations. The #81 BMW 381i sponsored by Legistics, Veristor and Racing to End Alzheimer’s got off to a blazing start, capturing the pole for the seventh time in eight IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races.
The team’s prospects looked bright, but storm clouds were (literally) gathering on the horizon. The track was wet at the start, and the skies opened up shortly after lap 4 of the two-hour, 59-lap race. By the fifth lap of the 17-turn circuit, it was raining heavily, and many of the competitors opted to pit for rain tires.
Betting on sunshine
BimmerWorld decided to stay on the track, betting that the rain would eventually subside – and that driver Nick Galante would be able to manage the slippery track conditions on dry-weather tires. The bet paid off. By lap 11, the sun was peeking back through the clouds, and Galante was leading the ST class.
Nick Galante: It was a mayhem of a start with the TCR cars and some of the GS cars dropping back. So, we were actually battling two different classes and a championship at the same time within our own class, which was quite interesting. Jason Rabe drove really well, and we had a great battle back and forth. Collin Mullin had a great start and passed me at the start. We had contact at the exit of turn three, unfortunately. It was unintentional on both sides and it was just good, hard racing. We actually broke our window and had some glass in the car that was affecting our throttle pedal. The car’s pretty good on rain tires in the wet, but on slicks it was a handful.
Betting on rain
Galante pitted on lap 30, and the team elected to switch to rain tires in the midst of another downpour. This time, the gamble didn’t go their way. On lap 45, with 25 minutes left in the race, the track began to dry up, the rain tires began to disintegrate, and driver Devin Jones was forced to pit for a tire change during green-flag conditions.
Devin Jones: When I got in the car, we put on rains [tires], kind of gambling that the rain was going to keep steady. It was working for the first few laps, but then it started to taper off, and the track dried. Then the rain tires started coming apart and started getting really hot, and then one of them went flat. We had a left front flat, so we had to come in and put dries on. We lost a bunch of time there, but we were able to knock off some good laps. We were running everyone down and just kind of ran out of time, honestly. We were probably the fastest time at the end there, but everybody rallied really well. It’s just one of these races where it can fall either way. Rain races are tricky, especially when it’s off and on like that.
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over
Jones crossed the finish line in fourth place. But the day’s surprises weren’t over. The first-place finishers received a post-race technical infraction, the third-place team was assessed a drive-time infraction – and the #81 wound up with second-place honors (and the points to match) at the end of another wildly unpredictable weekend of racing.
The penultimate round for the 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season will be held at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on September 8, followed by the finale at Road Atlanta on October 12.
The Biscuitville Grand Prix race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, August 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.