Dempsey Racing VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GT Teams Post First Double Top-10 Finish of 2012 in Montreal
MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (August 18, 2012) – Dempsey Racing drivers Charles Espenlaub, Charlie Putman, Tom Long and Scott Maxwell combined to give the team and its pair of VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GTs its first double top-10 finish of the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season Saturday in the Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Espenlaub and Putman ran in the top five during the two-hour sprint and ended up earning a solid sixth-place finish in the No. 41 FishingCapital.com/Bass 2 Billfish Mazda RX-8 GT while Long and Maxwell – subbing for regular No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA Mazda RX-8 GT co-drivers Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster – finished just two spots back in eighth place. It was the first time this season that Dempsey Racing put both of its Mazdas in the top-10 (let alone the top-eight) and first time since the July, 2011 race at New Jersey Motorsports Park that both Dempsey Racing Mazdas placed in the top-10 in a race.
“The Dempsey guys did a great job as usual,” Espenlaub said. “They worked hard all weekend, and in back-to-back races to get a fifth and a sixth place finish with the 41 Mazda shows a lot of hard work from the team. Once again the prototypes got a little racy and we were able to avoid any major contact, we had some minor contact but were able to go on, but it was a close call there a time or too to say the least.”
Espenlaub drove to the finish of the two-hour sprint after taking over from Putman who started the No. 41 in his Montreal debut. The duo also finished a season-best fifth in last Saturday’s race at Watkins Glen International.
“The track is very active, it is pretty visceral because it is fast, and my stint saw quite a bit of action,” Putman said. “I got to dodge one wreck in Turn 10 and the results of that wreck were still in front of me when the guy finally lost a tire, went into the wall, and ping-ponged back and forth between the walls a little bit. We got by it and I was pretty happy to escape that one.”
Putman was also happy to just get the No. 41 to the finish relatively unscathed in a race in which so many other teams did not.
“We got through with a relatively small amount of wear on the car for all of the carnage that was going on around us,” Putman said. “I got the car to Charles and he went to work with his usual magic from there.”
Long and Maxwell, co-driving as a duo for the second time this season, raced in touch with their No. 41 teammates for most of the Montreal 200. They were driving the No. 40 for regulars Dempsey and Foster who are competing in the ALMS event this weekend at Road America in the Dempsey Racing No. 27 Trina Solar/GNC Beverages/Motegi Racing Lola Judd. Long and Maxwell also stepped in at New Jersey Motorsports Park in May to drive the No. 40 when Dempsey and Foster were debuting the new P2 program at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“Scott did a great job in qualifying and in his opening stint,” Long said. “We worked hard on the VISIT FLORIDA Mazda all weekend, which was a replacement car we didn’t even know we would be running here even at this time last week. We kept improving where we could and found ourselves battling in the top-10 not long after the green flag dropped. It was just about playing it smart in a short race that we saw could be risky if you got involved with some of the attributes of the Montreal track.”
Next up for Dempsey Racing and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, September 7 – 9. That event at Mazda Raceway is favorite annual stop for Dempsey Racing, just like this weekend’s Montreal 200.
“It was great coming up to Canada,” Espenlaub said. “Everybody here in Montreal is real nice, the fans are great and the energy is very high. We met a lot of people that have visited Florida and a lot that are going to make the trip soon. It was a pretty good weekend on and off the track.”
- Before they took to the track this morning for the Montreal 200, all four Dempsey drivers participated in a meet-and-greet event at the team transporter area with VISIT FLORIDA guests, VIPS and members of the media. “The high energy of this race made it the perfect place for VISIT FLORIDA to bring some clients and guests to the event and entertain,” Espenlaub said. “It was very positive, listening to their input from what we bring to the program, and also maybe what we can do better. Being born and raised in Florida I have met a lot of Canadians on vacation there and have a lot of friends in Canada that come down in the winter time. Having 3.3 million Canadians visit Florida every year is an impressive number.”
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.