A Wild Race at VIR Results in a Surprise Podium for Jones and BimmerWorld
Nick Galante, of Greenfield, Mass. qualified the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) on the ST class pole with a time of 2:04.987, procuring the BimmerWorld team’s seventh pole in eight races and his fourth.
On and off rain resulted in a wild race with mixed strategy and cars struggling to keep their noses clean.
Galante stayed on track until lap 30 when he pitted for tires, electing to switch to rains as the skies started to open up again, as well as fuel and a driver change to Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. Galante’s fastest lap came before the rain, on lap 3, with a time of 2:06.482. Jones started his stint in fourth place, one lap down from the ST class leader.
On lap 38 with over 38 minutes remaining, Jones passed the No. 37 MINI of Derek Jones (no relation) for third place in ST. Then on lap 45, with 25 minutes left, as the track dried, Jones’ rain tires started deteriorating and the left front tire eventually went flat and required a pit stop for a tire change under green-flag conditions. Although he lost valuable time with the additional pit stop, being out on fresh tires allowed Jones to click off some good times once back on track. His fastest lap came on lap 52 with a time of 2:05.301.
Jones crossed the finish line in fourth place. However, the first place ST class competitors received a post-race technical infraction, allowing the entire class of ST cars to move up one position. Additionally, the third-place finishers were assessed a drive-time infraction, and so the No. 81 Veristor/Legistics BMW 328i (F30 chassis) of Jones and Galante was then awarded second-place honors and the points to match, keeping them comfortably in first place in the ST point championship with two races remaining.
“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. I just have to thank Trent, James, and all the guys that worked on the car this weekend. We’re kind of disappointed. We thought we had the car to win, but at least we were able to salvage some points and maintain the points lead going into the last two races. With the leader and another car being disqualified, we finished higher than originally scored at the checkered so, overall, we can’t complain.”