McCumbee, #40 Mustang Hang in there to win Alan Jay Automotive Network 120
Chad McCumbee had two laps left to turn his lead into victory. He took advantage of every turn.
Leading the Grand Sport (GS) class and the overall race when she restarted with 3 minutes and 25 seconds left, McCumbee withstood a challenge from Trent Hindman to win the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, the two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge event on Thursday. at Sebring International Racetrack.
McCumbee was leading Eric Foss when Max Faulkner’s No. 38 Fast® Racing Audi slid into the tire barrier on Turn 13 with 15:30 remaining, prompting a full course warning. When racing resumed, McCumbee wasn’t sure the tires would hold up against the #40 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 he was co-driving with James Pesek.
“We were really lucky there,” McCumbee said during the post-race celebration. “I felt like our tires were deteriorating pretty badly. … I would beat them pretty well.
McCumbee’s Mustang was ahead of Foss’ #56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 when the final green flag was waved. Hindman drove Volt Racing’s #7 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 past Foss in second and began chasing McCumbee. Hindman got close but couldn’t regain the lead.
McCumbee crossed the finish line 0.472 seconds ahead of Hindman, who co-drove the Aston Volt with Alan Brynjolfsson. Andy Jakos and the #14 Riley Motorsports Toyota Supra GT4 he shared with Alfredo Najri passed Foss on the final lap for third place.
The final caution wasn’t ideal, McCumbee said, but it helped prove a point.
“I certainly didn’t want to see that warning, but I’m glad it came out,” he said. “It proved we had the pace to be there. I’m glad we were able to finish it and get to the checkered flag in green flag conditions. It’s really important.
Winning also helped the team bounce back from a disappointing 17th-place finish in the season-opening Michelin Pilot Challenge in January.
“We had so much bad luck,” McCumbee said. “Strange things happened. We were in position for some good finishes. Man, we went to the top this time.