Sep 24 2014

Snow and Heylen Fourth in Texas in No. 58 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America

AUSTIN, Texas (September 20, 2014) – Madison Snow and Jan Heylen co-drove to a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas for the third-consecutive top-four finish for Dempsey Racing in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) division.

Saturday’s result followed third-place finishes by Patrick Dempsey and Andrew Davis in the previous race at Virginia International Raceway and another third-place showing by Snow and Heylen one race prior to that at Road America.

Snow started the race from eighth on the GTD grid in the No. 58 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America and started passing cars in the race’s opening minutes.

“After the second lap or so I made up a couple of positions,” Snow said. “I was doing the best I could. I got stuck behind a Porsche and the Aston Martin and had to stay back there for a while. The dirty air wasn’t making the handling great on the car so once I got to clean air the car definitely was easier to drive at the pace I needed. It had the pace there definitely. Once I got around those two cars there was a big gap between me and the next car so I just maintained it until the end.”

Snow pitted from third place with the rest of the GTD leaders during a timely caution period at the race’s one-hour mark. Heylen took over and continued to battle with the class pacesetters throughout the race’s remaining one hour and 45 minutes.

“I think we had a good car, a really good car as our base,” Heylen said. “On fresh tires I was able to close the gap right away and run with the guys up front, but a few laps into the first stint the car went to so much oversteer and I was just hanging on. It literally wore me out so bad, it was unfortunate and we lost a little time by staying out a lap or two too long.”

Despite the challenges, Heylen worked his way to the GTD-class lead with one hour to go and dashed to the pits from the top spot for the final time a few minutes later.

“By the time we came into the pits we had lost too much time on the first set of tires, but the car was not bad on the second set, not bad at all,” Heylen said. “I haven’t looked at the times to see how the tires were but that first set just killed me. I was hot at the end, the last 30 minutes I really wasn’t feeling well. For sure there was more in the car and I just didn’t get it out of it. I’m disappointed for that. Fourth isn’t bad but with a car like we had it still is disappointing. The first stint just really did me in.”

While Heylen and the No. 58 team were disappointed about coming up just short of a podium, Dempsey and Davis endured a race they would soon like to forget in the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America.

Starting driver Dempsey was forced to the pits just 15 minutes into the race after contact from a Prototype Challenge (PC) class competitor punctured a tire and more on the No. 27 Porsche.

“Patrick was punted by a PC car during his stint,” Davis said. “It was unfortunate because it ripped the whole front splitter off the car and really hurt us. There was just lots of questionable driving and people were taking chances and not quite keeping control of their cars. It’s really unfortunate because you had to work harder to avoid cars and contact more than anything out there.”

After the early stop, only another 30 minutes went by before the team brought Dempsey back to the pits for a fresh set of tires and some quick repairs. The unforeseen stops dropped the No. 27 two laps off the lead pace and well out of podium contention.

“Today was a disappointing day,” said Davis, who took the checkered flag in 14th place. “After the early contact, something wasn’t right with the car, the balance was off severely and we had some aero problems with the front. That led to some braking problems as well but we had to just solider on. It was a difficult day.”

Despite the frustrations, Davis put Saturday’s race in perspective as Dempsey Racing looks ahead to the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, October 4. In last year’s Petit, Dempsey, Joe Foster and then teammate Andy Lally finished second in the ALMS GTC class, a division that has been folded into GTD in the IMSA TUDOR Championship.

“These days build character for sure,” Davis said. “I hate it for the guys because they worked so hard. They were here late Friday night. They don’t always get what they deserve but that’s the way this sport works sometimes. It’s always a challenge and that’s why we keep coming back for more. I think it will be a character building event for us. It will make us stronger heading into the finale in Road Atlanta.”

Petit Le Mans can be seen live in its entirety on IMSA.com and in same-day coverage on FOX Sports 2 beginning at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 4. Race highlights will air on FOX on Sunday, October 5 and viewers can check local listings in their areas for air times.

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