Whelen Engineering Returns to Victory Lane in Canada
Bowmanville, Ont. (9 July 2017) - After nearly three hours of hard racing, some dramatic weather changes, shrewd calls from the pit box, and a lot of teamwork, Whelen Engineering returned to victory lane at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday.
The victory is the first of the 2017 season for 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Champions Dane Cameron and Eric Curran, who co-drove the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R for their first victory with the new Cadillac platform.
Curran opened the race and slotted into ninth on the opening lap, moving up to seventh before turning the car over to Cameron. With no caution periods for nearly the first two hours of the race, the race clicked along at a furious pace on the high-speed Canadian circuit as Cameron moved up to run sixth.
With rain making a dramatic and sudden appearance at the track with just over 40 minutes remaining, Cameron pitted for Continental rain tires as the field made the most of the caution period with pit stops. But before the race went back to green, the heavy precipitation left as quickly as it had arrived. The call was made by the Whelen Engineering Racing pit box for Cameron to pit for new Continental Tire slicks ahead of the lap 95 restart.
The conditions were still a challenge, as Cameron had to balance his forward progress with the limited amount of traction on offer from the still-wet track. His patience was rewarded as the track grew drier and he was able to move up to second in the order. A lap 109 incident with the race-leading No. 10 Cadillac entry saw the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R assume the lead for a frantic 10 minute sprint to the finish.
Cameron held on to his advantage to score a big victory with the Whelen Engineering machine.
“We won this race with full team execution, making good decisions as a group,” said Cameron. “It feels great to get a win on the board. We will take the luck today. It is tricky. The way the track is oriented you can get some rain on just part of the circuit. You have to rely on the guys on the box for some help to know what is coming. We got some heavy rain on half of the track. Most people put on wets, then it went dry really fast. The guys made the right call to keep us on slicks to get us to the front. I couldn’t get full throttle on the back stretch. It came back to us when some of the cars got together. We will take this luck after our tough start to the season.”
"Once the race got underway, it would have taken a very optimistic imagination to expect a win," Curran said. “We didn’t have the best handling Whelen Cadillac today, but people were pitting for rains and back to dry and then the 10 car had their incident and it came back to us. We fought it all day and all weekend. First win of the year! This is a good start to the second half of the season for us. I am excited for Sonny Whelen at Whelen Engineering and everyone at Cadillac.”
“You never, never, never, give up,” said team owner Bob Johnson.“It just the way this series (IMSA WeatherTech) goes, especially in the last 30 minutes of a race. We had some very good luck there at the end with the way the rain came through but this team made the most of it and just kept after it. It is a super result!”
Whelen Engineering Racing will be back in IMSA action next month at Road America as the team looks to defend its race-winning outing at the renowned Wisconsin track on August 4-6.