Knowing that winning the Street Tuner championship was out of their hands due to having an eight-point deficit in the standings, Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly concentrated on putting the No. 17 RS1 Legistics/RickieFowler.com Porsche Cayman at the front of the field – which Pumpelly accomplished with 30 minutes remaining.
At that point, Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer were in position to defend their championship, before the No. 25 Freedom Autosport ModSpace Mazda MX-5 dramatically slowed with 18 minutes remaining – allowing Galante and Pumpelly to claim their first career titles.
“We came here knowing the championship would be a little out of our hands, so we came here trying to do the best we could,” Pumpelly said. “We figured if we won and the 25 car was fifth or worst it would be ours. “It was just a matter of being patient with the tires and letting the guys come back to us. We figured we could just win the race and that would be that. I certainly wanted to win my first championship in 20-some years of doing this, but it’s unfortunate for the 25 car – they’ve been our greatest competition all year. But I can really enjoy this win and the championship.”
“Freedom Autosport did a great job all season, but unfortunately, it blew up,” lamented McAleer, who fell to fourth in the final standings following a 21st-place finish. “We had warning going forward – there were a couple of stumbles coming out of pit road. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this before, and it turned out to be the same thing. The Mazda’s so highly strung here. We’re very disappointed. This is a big loss for us.”
McCumbee revealed after his stint that he drove with a broken left arm, suffered last week while working on a car at his shop.
“Driving was tough – it was a lot different experience doing it with one hand,” McCumbee said. “We knew what we had to accomplish today, and that was how my whole stint went. I didn’t want to push the issue early, I wanted to settle back and then pick off positions. It’s been a dominant year minus these couple of issues. Unfortunately, that’s part of the game we play.”
Outside of the championship fight, Ryan Eversley finished second in the race driving the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si started by Chad Gilsinger, 11.310 seconds behind.
Connor Bloum gave the No. 19 RS1 Zero Lag Communications/Intervision Porsche Cayman started by Greg Strelzoff its second consecutive third-place finish on the final lap.
Mat Pombo and Derek Jones lost third position on the final lap in the No. 73 MINI USA MINI JCW. Pombo finished fifth, also passed by his brother Mark Pombo on the closing lap. Pombo was driving the No. 37 Hire Heroes USA MINI JCW started by Nate Norenberg that was crewed by four U.S. military veterans.
CREDIT: IMSA Communications