Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Takes Fourth After Heartbreaking Final Stint At Daytona

Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Takes Fourth After Heartbreaking Final Stint At Daytona

26.01.2019: The No. 84 Atlanta Speedwerks/BHR Honda Civic Type R Was Leading TCR Class With Less Than 30 Minutes Remaining

The No. 84 Atlanta Speedwerks/BHR Honda Civic Type R Was Leading TCR Class With Less Than 30 Minutes Remaining
 




Drivers Brian Henderson and Todd Lamb put the No. 84 Atlanta Speedwerks/BHR Honda Civic Type R at the front of the opening round of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge on Friday at Daytona International Speedway, and crew chief Chris Degioanni made a correct but gutsy call with just under an hour to go that nearly led to a victory.
 


Unfortunately, a cut tire with 24 minutes to go in the four-hour race erased the advantage and left the team with a heartbreaking but still successful fourth-place finish in their series debut. Lamb led three times officially for a total of 17 laps, the last one the ill-fated lap 86 of an eventual 100 in the race.
 


“I’m really proud of the team,” Lamb, also the Atlanta Speedwerks team owner, said. “We came here this weekend not knowing what to expect. We thought we were ok, but we proved out there that we’ll be a force to contend with during the season. I’m really happy with everybody just putting 100 percent into this thing for the last month just to get everything ready. Honda, Pagid Brakes and Michelin have really helped out with this, and we have to give a big shout out to Lemons of Love.”



The flat tire, likely caused by debris left behind during one of the nine full course caution periods (for 34 laps) in the race, forced a late and unexpected pit stop and put Lamb a lap down.


 
Lamb was running in the lead when a full course caution came out on lap 69 with just over an hour remaining. Following four caution laps, the Honda was inside the pit window to go the distance on fuel. Lamb fell back to seventh following the green flag pit stop. But with the pace and final pit stops happening in front of him, he’d cycled back to the class lead.
 


“I was certainly surprised because there was no warning,” Lamb said. “I got the call that said ‘pit this lap, you’re going to get fuel and tires and finish this thing out.’ I know we had some really good guys making the calls, and I didn’t even question them. I told them I wasn’t going to make the call while I was out here driving. It almost worked out for us. I’m heartbroken that we didn’t win, but we put ourselves in contention and sometimes luck just happens the wrong way. Fourth place is a great points weekend for us, and onward we go.”


 
Henderson’s IMSA debut was just as outstanding. The 21-year-old qualified and started third in the TCR class, and stayed near the front for his opening hour-long stint.
 


“It’s a new team, like we’ve been saying all weekend, so we’re really happy with fourth,” Henderson said. “I learned a ton about how these races go, and what you need to do when you’re behind the wheel. Endurance racing is a lot different, but we’re getting there. The driver change was a little slow, and that caused us to fall back. Once Todd got in the car, we picked it back up.”
 


It was a learning experience for Henderson, whose previous sports car experience has been in sprint races, including the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup last season with Atlanta Speedwerks.
 


“The start went pretty well,” Henderson said. “I stayed in third for a little bit, and then fell back. As the tires started getting hot I fell back a little bit further. Overall it was pretty good. The car felt good. We were in a good spot.”


 
In all, it was a very successful debut for the team, Henderson as a rookie driver, and Lamb, who hadn’t run an IMSA event since 2009.
 


“We made a point of setting up the car for the race and not focusing too much on individual lap times,” Lamb said of the team’s strategy. “We were a little worried, being a front wheel drive car, that we’d start burning the tires off of it. We made a conscious effort to focus on that during testing, and overall the balance didn’t change that much, even over a long stint. We went a stint and a half on the Michelins. We had great pace, and both Brian and I had great battles out there with the other drivers.”


 
The race, round one of 10 in the Michelin Pilot Cup Challenge, will air on NBC Sports Network in a two-hour window on Wednesday, February 6, at 1 p.m. Eastern.
 



-Atlanta Speedwerks also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/atlanta-speedwerks-honda-fourth-final-daytona---185769.html

26.01.2019 / MaP

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