Bizarre caution-free ending to the Brickyard event wreaks havoc with race strategy
Motor racing can present team owners and drivers with numerous levels of frustration. Possibly the most dreaded outcome, as the BimmerWorld Continental Tire Series team can attest, comes from days where a team has race-winning speed yet comes away without the results to support that pace and potential.
Notorious for its frequent caution periods, the Continental Tire Series followed a familiar script during its first two visits to Indianapolis Motor Speedway where late-race yellows slowed the field and eliminated the need for a final splash of fuel to make it to the finish.
The 2014 event defied convention as the second half of the 2h30min race went caution free, ruining BimmerWorld’s plans to score its second win at the famed Speedway as its fastest entries were forced to surrender the lead and visit pit lane for a few drops of fuel.
It left the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW E90 328i of Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke as the first car home in 12th, followed by the new No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW F30 328i piloted by team owner James Clay and Jason Briedis in 13th.
“As a whole, we just got caught out with pit strategy this race, which ended with an hour and twenty minutes of green running,” said a befuddled Clay. “Since when does that happen in our series? We needed a yellow and we didn’t get it, and we didn’t have the fuel we needed to give a different set of results, but everyone worked hard and we had all the makings for another win this weekend. I really hate it when we are at the tracks where we CAN win and fall short. This was just one of those weekends.”
BimmerWorld’s in-house development of the turbocharged F30 BMW platform continues to pay dividends as the No. 84 car visits each track for the first time. Indianapolis offered another chance for Clay and Briedis to gain valuable knowledge with the chassis, and despite the unrepresentative finishing position, BimmerWorld’s F30 was in the mix for most of the race.
“I am really happy with the progress of the new platform 328i that Jason and I drive, and with our work in the car,” Clay added. “Every weekend is getting better, and I am very aware that we are headed to the track where I got my first pro win next week. Certainly I expect big things for the F30 next race, for the rest of the season, and for a lot of seasons to come. It has been a difficult road to make this car a winner, but I think we are just about there!”
Liefooghe and Cooke are still in contention for the Street Tuner Championship, and according to the sports car veteran, the best outlook after Indy is to concentrate on the remaining races on the calendar.
“It didn’t make for a very good points day for us with two of the cars we are fighting against for the championship finishing on the podium,” said Liefooghe. “But we still have four races to go and I think we have made some progress chassis wise which allowed us to run upfront at Indy, so I’m looking forward to what we can do over the upcoming races.”
Liefooghe’s teenage teammate spend the event pulling double duty as the opening driver in the No. 81 and the closing driver in the No. 80 he shared with Street Tuner rookie Eric Zimmermann, and can’t wait for the next round at Road America to give it another go.
“My first weekend pulling double duty went very well,” said Cooke. “I got to learn how to drive in two completely different handling cars as well as giving the feedback. We were having a great race in both cars and I definitely think we can carry that momentum to Road America.”
UP NEXT FOR BIMMERWORLD: Road America, August 9
FOLLOW: BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com
No. 80 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Eric Zimmermann & Tyler Cooke: Qualified P32, Finished P24
No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Tyler Cooke & Greg Liefooghe: Qualified P14, finished P12
No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (E90), Seth Thomas & Dan Rogers: Qualified P25, Finished P17
No. 84 BimmerWorld BMW 328i (F30), James Clay & Jason Briedis: Qualified P10, Finished P13