Indianapolis, Ind. (25 July 2014) – Visit Florida Racing extended their run of strong finishes on Friday as the No. 90 Visit Florida Corvette DP finished third in the Brickyard Grand Prix with drivers Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante.
The podium finish marks the fourth consecutive top-three for the Daytona Beach-based squad, which has continued to pick up momentum in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship battle with the string of strong results.
Valiante opened the race from behind the wheel and slotted into third at the drop of the green flag. The Canadian stayed in podium contention through a long stint before turning the car over to Westbrook to take to the finish on a lap 67 pit stop. Returning to the field ninth in line, Westbrook cycled up the order and made his own forward progress to be back to third on lap 78.
But before the champagne could be sprayed, ‘Westy’ had to make one final dash for fuel to make it to the finish but had the speed to hold the track position he had earned, bringing home another solid points finish as the team will now focus on the Road America round in two week’s time.
“We are just keeping this incredible run going,” said Westbrook. “Since Detroit, we’ve been on the podium – second, first, second, now third. That is where we need to be if we want to be vying for the championship. That is our goal now. So yes, I’m pretty happy. It would have been nice to have a bit more pace, we’ll come after them at Road America. It was so close at the end. It was a tough one, but it has been a good Indy for us compared to last year. It is just 200% better.”
“We came here not with a great car, and the team did a fantastic job making as many gains as we could before the race,” said Valiante. “We were close. Richard (Westbrook) and I talked and wanted to make sure we got on the podium today because we didn’t think we had the car to win. We achieved that goal, but we are going to have to roll off the truck better the next couple of rounds if we want to contend for a championship. We have a four-race podium streak going, but we want to be back on top.”
The team has been working remotely the last few races, preparing the No. 90 Visit Florida Corvette DP away from the team shop in Daytona Beach, Florida thanks to some good relationships with teams like Whelen Engineering’s Marsh Racing. But with a fortnight to the next race, the team is looking forward to heading home to reset and prepare for the relished weekend at Road America.
“We started this weekend a little bit behind, but I’m proud that we made up the time that we did this weekend,” said team owner Troy Flis. “Just a couple of practice sessions, not much time at all to make progress but we still did okay. It will be good to get back home to Daytona and reset a little bit. We wanted to be more than third, but if we can just keep doing that consistently we’ll have nothing to complain about and we can be where we want to be championship wise. It was a great result from the team and Michael (Valiante) and Richard (Westbrook), but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t mad about losing today. Hopefully we can turn it up a bit in a couple of weeks.”
The Road America event will take place in two weeks’ time on August 8-10.