ESM Patrón Finishes Second at Road America
ALMS - Elkhart Lake, WI
Guy Cosmo at the wheel of the No. 01 Tequila Patrón machine was battling rival Marino Franchitti in the closing moments of the race. Both HPD P2 competitors had to make a last-minute splash for fuel.
Cosmo pitted first and was quickly up to speed. When Franchitti pitted the following lap, Cosmo was able to pull off a pass as the duo both raced down into Turn 1. Unfortunately, the late-race splashes for both cars for fuel enabled Franchitti’s teammate Simon Pagenaud to move into a narrow lead which Cosmo was unable to bridge at the finish before a race ending full-course caution.
Almost the entire first hour of the race took place in the rain. Scott Sharp, co-driver of the No. 01 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b, started from the second position on the P2 grid. Less than three minutes into the race, Sharp charged to the P2 class lead. Working through the wet conditions, he ran away from the class and built a lead of 20 seconds on the competition. Sharp maintained that lead until first pit stop, and he regained the P2 lead near the end of his stint. Sharp was ranked in first position of the P2 class during the scheduled pit stop and driver change.
Before handing the No. 01 machine over to co-driver Cosmo, Sharp was experiencing some understeer issues. In the scheduled pit stop and driver change at the one-hour and 26-minute mark of the race, Cosmo returned to the field in the second position in class.
Cosmo battled the handling of the race car, maintained a quick P2 pace and was en route to a podium finish. Leveraging the team’s strategy, Cosmo pitted with less than 15 minutes to go in the race for a splash of fuel.
A quick four minutes later a competitor car went off course and deep into the Turn 1 gravel which drew a late race caution while Cosmo was still running in second place. The race finished under caution, and Cosmo crossed the finish line as runner-up.
Despite a well-timed and executed race strategy, today’s race did not fare as well for the No. 02 team.
Ed Brown opened the race for the No. 02 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b, from the fourth position. Cautiously aggressive, Brown completed his hour-long stint and reached a class-high position of third during some of the most the challenging portions of the race. Brown managed the wet-to-dry conditions with ease before during the wheel over to co-driver Johannes van Overbeek.
Upon entering the black and green P2 machine, van Overbeek was fierce. Track conditions were dry, and van Overbeek was looking to pick up a few spots during his stint. Powering through, van Overbeek was clocking some of the fastest P2 times when problems struck.
At the one-hour and 16-minute mark in the race, the No. 02 was smoking and fire emerged from the left rear. He immediately pulled over at Turn 10, jumped out of the car, found a fire extinguisher and attempted put out the fire.
Next up for the Extreme Speed Motorsports team is the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT on Aug. 30-31.
“It was a good weekend for the team. We keep getting closer and closer, honing in our setup. We were quick in practice. Guy did a really good job in qualifying. I think we tightened up the gap to the Level 5 in qualifying. We qualified second, so that was pretty strong.
“In the race, I was really happy with the car. It was great to drive in the rain, and in my ensuing dry stint as the track dried out. I really thought this was going to be our race, but it didn’t unfold that way.
“Guy drove his tail off. We had some understeer that seemed to be getting worse, that’s certainly affected the performance of the car for him trying to chase down the Level 5 guys.
“Had the race gone a bit longer, I don’t know what would have happened. Simon Pagenaud (Level 5) was pretty quick there at the end. He pitted and came out. There was a time when he could have pitted, came out and been behind us, but he put in so many killer laps that he changed that. He pitted and was out in front of us, I don’t think we would have been able to catch him. I think second was as good as we were probably going to get today. We finished ahead of Marino and he was the points leader, so we’ll see what those look like. We’ll just keep staying in the thick of things.
“It was a shame to what happened to the No. 02 guys. Johannes drove his tail off. Ed did a great job. I think this was the first time Ed has ever in earnest driven in the rain and loved it, so that was nice to hear. He did a good job, then you have a strange and large mechanic issue is a real shame.”
“I did pretty good in the rain, so I must have liked it. We had a disappointing end to our race. We executed everything like we wanted to and we were in really good shape to have a good finish, probably our best finish of the season. But things happen and we’ll look forward to Baltimore to see what we’ve got there. The No. 01 car was in good shape and they had a great second-place finish.
“It was so wet out there that you really couldn’t tell. Nobody was really doing anything. We were in pure survival mode trying to around each lap. Traction control was on full both sides, just trying to get around. You feel like you’re barely going at times even though you’re still going pretty good. It was stressful fun.
“Everybody was in the same boat. Nobody was able to drive very quick when it was raining. I think that’s a lesson – sometimes you think you need to pressure on yourself to go even faster, but you just have to do the right thing to keep the car on track and then it all falls into place.”
Johannes van Overbeek:
“The car was good. We were the fastest car out there by a large margin, from what I understand. Ed did an awesome job in very tough conditions in the beginning with the rain and a drying track. Our strategy worked out perfect. I was in a mood to absolutely go for the jugular today and we were. Unfortunately we had something let go, we’re not clear what it is yet, had a fire and we were out.
“I had some oil pressure alarms, some sort of oil leak somewhere. I lost all power. I was told over the radio we were on fire, so I pulled over, got an extinguisher and put the fire out.
“I learned a couple more things this weekend: Ed is one hell of a rain driver, and we’re figuring out what the car is like in terms of setup and in terms of driving style. I’m having a blast driving this car. I’m sorry we were benched early, but this makes me really look forward to Baltimore.”
“In some ways, I got the easy job today. Scott did a great job. None of us have driven these cars in the wet yet. It was really a great job that he did to get acclimated right away, assess the conditions and drive right to the front and led for a while. He turned the car over to me in a great condition.
“Once I got in the car it was a flat-out dogfight nuntil the end. The rain really changed the track, so the wonderful setup we had on the car really didn’t work too well considering how much the track surface changed once it dried.
“In a way the track had more grip and we had a lot of understeer and it was really bad. I tried all the tricks a driver could do to get a car to turn and it wouldn’t turn. It was one of the more frustrating things a driver could experience. We had no way of knowing and there was no way to adjust at that point. You drive what you have and do the best you can. I’m sure everybody else had handling issues as well, we just lost out on it.
“I did what I could and so did the team. We had great pit stops and everything went well. We just ran out of time. That yellow came out and we just pitted for fuel to try to get to the end, so did Marino. I guess (Simon) Pagenaud gambled by staying out. The yellow came out right in their favor and we were sitting P2.
“It was a great day all in all. It is always a great day when Tequila Patrón is on the podium. We just look forward to Baltimore now.
“I feel bad for the No. 02 guys. Ed has done a really good job. He did a great job in the rain considering he’s never driven in the wet with this car either. Johannes was just flying. I feel bad that he didn’t have a chance to show his colors. But, we’ll get them at the next one.”
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