Watkins Glen, N.Y. (29 June 2014) – After running strongly all day long, the No. 90 Visit Florida Corvette DP raced to Victory Lane at Watkins Glen International on Sunday after Richard Westbrook made an assertive move for the lead in the final laps of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Westbrook, who shared the driving duties with Michael Valiante through the six hour enduro, then made that lead stick in a dramatic final lap restart to score a big victory for the Spirit of Daytona Racing team.
The victory is the fourth IMSA Prototype win for the team, with Westbrook and winning co-driver Michael Valiante having won together for the team at Mid-Ohio in 2012.
Valiante opened the race from the front row and slotted into second place early in the day. Contact from behind from a familiar LMP2 entry caused damage to the back of the Visit Florida Corvette DP.
Valiante soldiered on before turning the car over to Westbrook as the duo started their back and forth rotation through the six hour race, which ran under mostly green flag conditions and featured nearly 15 lead changes as the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship staged a blue-riband event at the classic New York circuit, which included a one-lap shoot out to the finish.
“That yellow made things complicated for us at the end because we were good on fuel and we just needed it to go green. But you know you cant count on that in racing. The yellow came, it was unfortunate for Alex (Brundle) as he got caught up with the 9 car on the restart so I got a really good run and I made it stick. Well done to Michael (Valiante), his stints were incredible, fast and still saving fuel. I’m just so thrilled for everyone on this Visit Florida team, it’s just a massive achievement. We just needed a podium, it has taken a while, but we just want to make this a habit now like we did in 2012, finishing on the podium. I’m really proud to be part of this team. ”
“I knew Richard would be great on the restart,” said Valiante of what it was like to watch the final few laps. “I knew if he could get into turn one we would be ok. This whole race was just like qualifying laps. Our approach was to just keep the car safe and be in position to podium. We’ve had quick cars and the team has been doing a great job. The racing is really close in this series and we would like to keep this roll going with some more podiums.”
“No I didn’t!” said team owner Troy Flis when MRN Radio asked him if the race would return to green for the final lap. “But, you’ve got to be ready for it! Richard did it when he needed to do it. We didn’t wait. He just put his head down. It’s just great. It’s a great team, a great effort by everybody, Visit Florida, all my supporters, everybody at Spirit of Daytona, just a great effort. Just want to get some more of these before the end of the year!”
The team finished second in the previous IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar round in Detroit, and will look to continue the championship momentum in two weeks’ time at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Mosport.
Spirit of Daytona Running positions, Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen
June 29, 2014
Hour 1 P1
Hour 2 P1
Hour 3 P3
Hour 4 P1
Hour 5 P2
Hour 6 P1