Lexington, Ohio (4 May 2019) – The Acura Sports Car Challenge race weekend got off to a wet start with rains flooding practice on Friday, followed by a semi-dry practice on Saturday morning.
The No. 57 Caterpillar Acura NSX GT3 of Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing will be co-driven by Christina Nielsen and Katherine Legge in Sunday’s two-hour, forty-minute race (1:30pm ET NBCSN live broadcast) and the start will see the No. 57 entry roll off the grid fifteenth in the order.
Tire strategy would be the name of the game for Saturday’s 15-minute qualifying run. With a heavy mist dampening the track, the team made the decision to go out on Michelin rain tires, anticipating that the cloud covered skies would remain throughout the session.
Midway through the session weather conditions significantly changed which created a completely dry line. Per IMSA regulation, the No. 57 Acura NSX GT3 needed to remain on the chosen tire for the entire session.
After a brief red flag period to extricate an off-track car from the muddy infield grass, Nielsen went back out on track and improved her time by three seconds. However it wasn’t enough to overcome the advantage that other teams had running on slick tires. The team finished the session in fiftieth position.
“I think this was the quickest that we’ve seen Mid-Ohio dry up,” said Nielsen. “We made the decision to go out on wets and we made that decision as a team. So I think the saying ‘you win and lose as a team’ definitely applied today. We all went into it with the best intentions. We just made the wrong call which is sad because I actually think we have really good pace in both the wet and dry conditions. I feel like we are really strong as far as getting the car set up. It was just tough with mixed conditions.”
Team Principal, Jackie Heinricher was proud of her drivers despite the unfortunate weather conditions that prevented the No. 57 Caterpillar Acura from moving up the order during qualifying.
“The weather has played a major factor today and we did a great job with what we had,” said Heinricher. “I’m looking forward to the race.”
Mike Shank, competing at his home track for over a decade in sports car racing, was aiming to give his home crowd a better result for Sunday’s race, but is confident in the team’s overall pace in stable conditions.
“It was a 50-50 decision and unfortunately we didn’t make the right choice with tires,” said Shank. “We all spoke about it before we went out and we thought that rain tires would be the way to go but the track dried up so quickly that we were stuck with that choice for the whole session. Christina and Katherine have great pace in the wet and dry so I’m confident in what they can do for the race tomorrow.”
The Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio will go green on Sunday, May 5th at 1:30pm ET and will be broadcast live on NBCSN.