June 29, 2018 —
For the second time this season all four of US RaceTronics’ entries finished on the podium and all in the top 10. The No. 50 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills driven by Edoardo Piscopo and Taylor Proto finished second overall while taking the win in the PRO class. Parris Mullins and Mark Proto drove the No. 88 Lamborghini of La Jolla to the win in LB Cup. This was their third win of the season. Brian Thienes led the AM class for the entire race in the No. 17 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills but dropped to second in class as the result of time added for a pit-stop violation. Damien Ockey was holding onto second-place in the No. 09 Lamborghini of Calgary until the closing laps of the race before falling back a spot to finish P3 in the AM class.
Edoardo Piscopo started the race fourth overall but moved into third overall prior to the mandatory pit-stop. Taylor Proto took over and was able to get out of the pits in the lead. Proto pushed hard to pull out a big gap during the second half of the race. While Proto crossed the line first, a pit-stop violation moved the pair down one spot to second overall, P1 in the PRO class.
“I’m very happy with the results,” Piscopo said following Saturday’s race. “We came here with no testing and with rain for both practices, qualifying was really the first time for us on track. We minimized the damage and today in the race we showed our pace, which is good enough to win.”
“Today’s race went pretty well,” Taylor Proto added. “We were really consistent in the first half. Edoardo was good at keeping the car fast and was able to move us up a position as well as build a gap to the cars behind us. During our pit-stop we had an issue with our timer, but luckily that turned out in our favor as we were able to get out in front of the 71 and 1 cars. Upon being informed that we would be getting a 7 ½ second penalty for the pit-stop violation I pushed as hard as I could to try to cover the additional time. Towards the end it was starting to get a little bit stressful as we were encountering more and more traffic. Luckily that traffic was for the cars behind us as well and they caught it at a bit more inopportune time. I’m happy with the result and thankful to the team for all their support.”
Parris Mullins and Mark Proto continued their impressive start to the 2018 LSTNA season adding another win in Race 1. The pair now have three wins in three races and are looking forward to trying to extend their streak in Round 3. The duo will start the second race of the weekend second in their class but are confident that they can move forward again to secure the top spot on the podium.
“The key to our race really was Mark’s bold move going into the bus stop with a few laps to go,” Mullins said. “It positioned us perfectly, putting lapped traffic between us and Meredith. It also allowed us to pull out a really big gap on the guys we were racing against. So, stellar move by Mark. That was the clutch move of the race.”
“I’m extremely happy with our result today,” Mark Proto added. “We started P2 in class and Parris did a fantastic job in the first half of the race. Our pit-stop strategy paid off and we were able to come out of the pits in the lead. The field was very competitive and both Parris and I had to stay focused and drive a mistake-free race. We start in a similar spot tomorrow, so hopefully we can be as on-point as we were today and bring home our fourth win of the season.”
There was plenty of action in the AM class in Race 1 as well. Brian Thienes qualified on the pole for Race 1 and was out front from start to finish. However, a pit-stop violation put a damper on what should have been Thienes’ first win of the young season.
“Really great race today,” Thienes said after the race. “We had the winning pace. The Thienes Engineering race car was set up very well today and was easy to drive. Unfortunately, a pit-stop violation moved us from first in class to second, but I’m still very happy with the results from myself and the team. The team put together a great car again. Hopefully tomorrow we can run up in front and take the win.”
Damon Ockey would have liked to have had a better finish but wasn’t as disappointed as he could have been considering his starting spot on the grid. With poor weather conditions for Thursday’s practice sessions, Ockey who hasn’t raced at WGI since 2016, didn’t get the qualifying results he’d hoped for.
“We had a pretty poor start to the weekend,” Ockey said. “With the bad weather and rain yesterday, we didn’t get a lot of running time in the dry until this morning’s qualifying sessions. I didn’t get any great laps in during Q1, so we ended up starting today in P3. I was able to put down some pretty good laps in the second qualifying session, so we’ll start Race 2 in P1. In the race, I started in P3 and ended in P3. I would have liked to have finished higher, but I’m okay with the result. I did make my way into P2 for a while, but my tires gave out and I spun them in one of the corners which allowed me to get passed. After that there was no use trying to make up the time since I had a penalty anyway, so I just finished the last three laps cleanly. Now I’m looking forward to Race 2.”
Team owner Shane Seneviratne took a positive outlook on the final results from Race 1 but expects the team to do better in Race 2.
“Not a bad result,” Seneviratne said. “We made some miscalculations on our pit stops, which got us a few penalties. The outcome could have been a lot worse. We’ll make things right for the next race and look forward to having a good race tomorrow. I think overall we did well in points today which is important. Now we’re going to regroup and try to get better results in this weekend’s second race.”
Race 2 goes green Saturday, June 30 at 10:25 a.m. EDT and will be streamed live at http://squadracorse.lamborghini.com/en-en/live-streaming and http://imsatv.imsa.com/.