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Plumb, Trinkler take overall win in SportsCar challenge

South Boston News
Hugh Plumb, left, and Owen Trinkler celebrate after winning the overall Cotinental Tire SportsCar challeng at VIR Saturday. (Brian Cleary) / August 20, 2018

Turbulent weather turned Virginia International Raceway into a steam-drenched water park during the early going of Saturday’s IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge.

It looked all too reckless, watching plumes of water splashing around as the field sought to navigate the track.

With an international field all but afloat at times, Saturday’s feature looked more at like a chapter of ‘Master and Commander - the Far Side of the World’ - the Peter Weir epic about seafaring conquests.

The tire walls and VIR run off areas hogged plenty of airtime, along with the drivers.

“The beginning of the race, my stint, was absolutely crazy. There was so much contact in front of me with GS cars and TCR cars,” said Jason Babe, co-driver of the class winning No. 21 Porsche.

“Then the rain started to come and that was interesting. Half the track was wet, and half the track was dry, so it was absolutely insane going down the rollercoaster. Guys were sliding off at slow speeds, so there were cars in the grass everywhere,” he said.

The overall winners, Hugh Plumb and Owen Trinkler in the No. 46 survived two heavy rains that many of their competitors didn’t in the two-hour IMSA Continental Tire series race and then sealed the victory with a key pit-side call by team strategist Joe Varde.

Trinkler stayed on slick Continental tires throughout his race-opening double stint and pitted from the lead to hand off to Plumb with just over 45 minutes remaining. Plumb rejoined the race in third place but cycled back to the top when the first and second place competitors had to pit for fuel 14 minutes from the finish. Varde’s fuel-stretching, two-stop strategy worked, and Plumb raced to the finish for a 6.046 second margin of victory.

The win was the second for Plumb and Trinkler in the last three races and follows a breakout victory at Lime Rock Park in July.

And talk about close calls. “Every lap. Close calls, you always try to put yourself in a position, or at least I do, where I know I can get my way out of it if somebody turns into me,” said Trinkler.

“When I put myself in those positions, I better be damn sure that I’m going to come out on the other end unscathed,” he said.

Adam Saal contributed to this article.

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