Top-10 Showing For Dempsey Racing No. 41 FishingCapital.com/Bass 2 Billfish Mazda RX-8 GT in Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indy
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 28, 2012) – Dempsey Racing’s Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman drove the No. 41 FishingCapital.com/Bass 2 Billfish Mazda RX-8 GT to its third-straight top-10 finish Friday in the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) where their teammates Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Tom Long were forced to retire in the race’s second hour with engine issues in the No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GT.
Both Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 GTs persevered through a rainy race start with Dempsey quickly moving all the way from 18th on the grid to the top-10 and Putman making sure the No. 41 just survived for Espenlaub to take it to the eventual ninth-place finish.
“I had a good start in the rain, I got out from 18th to the top 10 right away, just cruising around in the wet but unfortunately the race didn’t go our way,” Dempsey said.
Both Mazdas went a lap down in the first half of the race after a series of pit stops to change from wet to dry tires and related issues in the ever-changing but predominately rainy conditions. From there, fortunes split for the Dempsey Racing Mazdas with the No. 41 making it back on to the overall lead lap and to the top-10 finish while the No. 40 never really had a chance to do the same thing.
“The Dempsey guys fought to the very last lap,” Espenlaub said. “We had some problems there, and fought back, fought back, and got back on the lead lap due to excellent strategy, excellent pit stops. We stayed out in the rain on slicks and I was able to stay ahead of the other guys long enough to make it to the next yellow and get our lap back. My hat’s off to the guys, they did a great job, and I just kind of hung on.”
Starting driver Putman endured not one but two heavy downpours in his opening stint.
“The rain early on gave me a little bit of the fits with the visibility from where we were sitting,” Putman said. “We had a good qualification spot in 10th, a nice spot to be, but when you are in the middle of all that traffic in the rain, the self-preservation and car preservation instincts kicked in, and that is part of my job. I have to save the car for Charles and when I can’t see through the rooster tails are taller than some of the grandstands, I tend to slow down a little. So we lost a couple of places early on but as soon as the visibility picked up a little we were quick in picking those back up and then we got Charles in the car and he did his usual magic.”
Foster was just beginning to build on Dempsey’s solid opening drive at the wheel of the No. 40 when the race-ending issues emerged at the end of hour two. Long never had a chance to drive and the No. 40 was eventually classified 21st in the final race results.
“We had some visibility issues in the full wet, but as it began to dry out the car was actually very good on the wet track, set-up wise,” Foster said. “The Dempsey crew and engineers did a good job setting the car up for the wet and it has always been quick in the wet and was at Homestead earlier this season. Once you could see the car was really good but unfortunately it just developed an engine problem. We don’t know what happened for sure but the engine definitely went down to two of the three rotors. We opted to quit and not hurt it any further.”
Dempsey, who was racing at Indy for the first time, enjoyed his experience at the legendary track but is looking for a longer stay next time.
“It was great, but it’s a rough day,” Dempsey said. “It’s unfortunate we can only be here for one day, it would be nice to spread out this event over a couple of days at least, and it’s a lot to pack in. It’s great to be here on the road course, great turnout from the fans and great to see some rain in this part of the country. It’s great for the farmers, certainly, they needed that and it made for some exciting racing too. Nice to be here, hopefully we will come back, and maybe we will be able to spend more than just one day here.”
Next up for Dempsey Racing in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is Round 10 of the 2012 season on the NASCAR short course at Watkins Glen International where the Continental Tire 200 presented by Dunn Tire will run Saturday, August 11. The race can be seen live on SPEED at 6 p.m. EDT/3 p.m. PDT.
About Dempsey Racing: A fulltime and year-round enterprise, Dempsey Racing (www.dempseyracing.net) is a professional sports car auto racing team based in the greater Atlanta area in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Owned by actor/driver Patrick Dempsey, the team races in support of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing (www.dempseycenter.org) in Dempsey’s hometown of Lewiston, Maine, and the Team Seattle Guild (www.teamseattle.com) to benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital Heart Center (www.seattlechildrens.org).
About Dempsey Racing’s Partners: Dempsey Racing (www.dempseyracing.net) is an official Mazda (www.mazdausa.com) racing team and has competed exclusively in Mazda RX-8 GTs in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series since 2007. A primary partner for the Mazda program is VISIT FLORIDA (www.VISITFLORIDA.com), the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, and its www.ShareaLittleSunshine.org and www.FishingCapital.com promotional programs, and the television show Bass 2 Billfish with Peter Miller. Additional Dempsey Racing partners include Trina Solar (www.trinasolar.com), a leading manufacturer of high-quality solar photovoltaic (PV) modules that deliver reliable, environmentally-friendly power to homes and businesses and value to customers, and Specialized Bicycle Components (www.specialized.com), a manufacturer and worldwide supplier of technically advanced bicycles and related components. New partners for 2012 include GNC Beverages (www.drinkGNC.com), built upon the 75 years of nutrition innovation from the leader in sports nutrition, Motegi Racing (www.motegiracing.com), a leading manufacturer of competition and high-performance tuning wheels designed and engineered for performance, Racing Electronics (www.racingelectronics.com), the number one source for professional race communications worldwide, and Silicon Tech Racing (www.silicontechracing.com) which provides high-tech corporations a dedicated marketing platform through sports car road racing focused on technology executives.