Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) had the controls of the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche for the start of the two-hour event at the 2.2-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca track. After flying in late last night due to a final exam at the University of Colorado at Boulder, he did four laps in the warm-up at 8 a.m. this morning and then lined up for the start at 10 a.m. Driving a strong first stint he turned the car over to Leh Keen (Charleston, SC) in the top five. Keen was able to make it up to second place as strategy in the race began to play out. Hopeful for another full course yellow in the late running, which never happened, the team was forced to pit with just seven minutes remaining for a splash of fuel which relegated them back to sixth position. By the time the checkered flag flew, one other car pitted and the leading No. 45 Audi ran out of fuel 100 yards from the finish line putting the WeatherTech Porsche in fourth just off the podium.
“My stint was alright,” MacNeil said. “It went better than I thought, just because I only had about four laps on the track this weekend before the race. School comes first at this point. I was able to get into a good rhythm and turned some good times out there today. I gave the car to Leh in the top five. The way the race fell, if we would have pitted a few laps later we could have made it, so would have everyone else. The way it went we had to come in with seven minutes to go and we ended up fourth. We could have gambled and stalled short of the finish like the 45 or go for the points. Not a bad points day after all, looking forward to Detroit.”
Keen hoped for more, but will take the fourth place points.
“Fourth place is tough when you are just off the podium,” Keen said. “There are some really strong cars out there in GTD. The BMW is a great car and it showed today. The guys worked hard all weekend. We were going for it. We put our money on a late yellow that never happened. The 45 did the same and didn’t finish. We got a good top five and are taking home fourth place points. When you qualify on the front row you always hope for a little for more. But not too bad of a day to finish fourth.””
Alex Job, team owner, took the gamble.
“We held our strategy to the end,” Job said. “The way the race started with two yellows it looked like we were going to, at least, see one more, which didn’t happen. We were in a good position and then we just had to pit for a splash. Cooper did a nice job jumping in with minimum laps and Leh had us in a position to win, we just needed a few more minutes of fuel.”
The TUDOR Championship will travel to Detroit for the Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Park May 30-31.
Source. Kyle Chura/Alex Job Racing