Bodymotion Racing's Rabe and Faulkner Nab Victory in Crazy VIR Race

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

In a race that was as unpredictable as the weather at VIRginia International Raceway Saturday afternoon, Bodymotion Racing's Jason Rabe and Max Faulkner collected their first 2018 victory in the Street Tuner (ST) class in the Biscuitville Grand Prix IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race. The two-hour event was a display of grit and perseverance by the entire Ocean Township, N.J.-based team, as it came from two laps down at one point and vaulted from third to second on the very last lap of the 59-lap contest. Then in a twist of fate, the pronounced winner was penalized due to a technical infraction, which elevated the Bodymotion Racing Porsche to the top step of the podium.

The choice of slicks or rain tires was never more crucial, as not only did it rain various times during the race, sometimes some areas of the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course were dry while other portions of the track were simultaneously being pelted with rain, making conditions even more treacherous than usual. As a further testament to the race's odd nature, it went non-stop despite the weather conditions.

Rabe, of Monticello, N.Y., qualified third on Friday night with a time of 2:06.049 (93.391 miles per hour) in the team's No. 21 Porsche Cayman, which is sponsored by Competition Motorsports and Delaware Funds. He passed Colin Mullan for second on the first lap, but Mullan got the spot back on lap four as it began to pour. At that point Rabe pitted for rain tires and he dropped to fifth, and went down a lap a few laps later.

Although Rabe set the car's fastest lap of the race on lap three with a time of 2:06.211, which was third-fastest in the class, getting that lap back proved difficult, especially when the sun came out and he had to continue racing on rain tires. He was still in fifth place and one lap down when he pitted for Faulkner to take over with about 53 minutes remaining in the contest.

With that pit stop Faulkner, of Rumson, N.J., went two laps down to the class leader, but he was able to make up one of those laps with about 45 minutes remaining when others pitted. Still, he was more than a minute behind fourth place with 29 minutes remaining. About four minutes later he found himself in fourth when the BMW that won the pole and led most of the race pitted on lap 41. He moved into third with about 15 minutes remaining in the race on lap 45 by passing Mat Pombo in a MINI, but he was still a lap down to the class leader and some 1:47.371 behind second place.

Faulkner slowly chipped away at that margin, and with just 2:34 minutes remaining in the race he was still 10.687 behind second. But he was determined to get everything he could out of the Porsche, and on the very last lap he passed Derek Jones' MINI in the last turn to nail down the runner-up honors. He was 6.775 seconds behind the class winner and just 0.353 ahead of third place after the herculean effort. Then, to make the ending just as bizarre as the rest of the race had been, the No. 52 MINI that crossed the finish line first in class was penalized due to a technical infraction. A post-race inspection revealed that the car exceeded maximum boost pressure and was moved to last in class. This turn of events catapulted Rabe and Faulkner and the Bodymotion Racing Porsche to the ST class winners.

After the VIR race Rabe and Faulkner are unofficially tied for second in the point standings with just two races remaining: The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 in Salinas, Calif. Sept. 7-8 and the Fox Factory 120 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. Oct. 10-12.

Saturday's race will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Aug. 26 from noon to 2 p.m. Eastern.

Post-race quotes follow:

Jason Rabe, co-driver, No. 21 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman:"The beginning of the race, my stint, was absolutely crazy. There was so much contact in front of me with GS cars and TCR cars. It looked like the BMW and the MINI got together going through Turn 5. But we were able to capitalize. I ran second for a while, then I was able to pass Nick [Galante] which was great. It was another good battle with him. We were back and forth for a second. Then the rain started to come and that was interesting. Half the track was wet, and half the track was dry, so it was absolutely insane going down the rollercoaster. Guys were sliding off at slow speeds, so there were cars in the grass everywhere. We were passing GS cars and TCR cars, but we were able to keep it on track, thank God. I think we went in the grass a little bit once and was able to keep it straight back on track and then the rain came down even harder, so we came in for rain tires.

"The Bodymotion guys did an amazing job on the pit stops all day. At Road America and here they've been on it. We pitted out right behind the BMW and the MINI again and were able to just battle with them and pass them. So, it was a really good stint for me. We were getting held up by GS cars big time which was kind of frustrating. It was making it easy for the other guys to catch up. I couldn't really walk away like I was wanting to, but the driver change pit stop was awesome. Max did an awesome job out there really catching the other MINIs. This one was a real nail bitter. I really want to thank my sponsors. All of this wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for Delaware Funds, Monticello Motor Club, Competition Motorsport, Stable Energies and the Bodymotion crew. To get a victory at the end of it all just added to the madness of this crazy race. I wouldn't change it though and we're so happy to get a victory finally."

Max Faulkner, co-driver, No. 21 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman:"It was a good race for us. The boys did a good job with the strategy and we were more than happy to finally get a win. The car was good. The grip levels around the track were really low, especially early in my stint. There was a little bit of rain out there and obviously we were on slick tires, so we were struggling a little bit initially and had the MINIs hounding me the whole time. They finally broke away, but then the track started drying out and the car came back to me a little bit and we were able to catch back up and get by them.

"On the last-lap pass I got by him coming to the line out of the last corner - literally a hundred yards to go, I get by him and we're coming into it and I feel a bump from behind and it's a GS car shoving me down the straight. So, that was a pretty cool finish. Then we found out post-race that we won and that was unbelievable!"

Geoff Abel, team manager: "It was a great day for the No. 21 Bodymotion Competition Motorsport Macquarie Delaware Funds Cayman. It was wild action on track with the weather changing constantly. We had to change up our strategy quite a few times and the boys did a great job with a helluva drive from Max at the end reeling in those MINIs. Then in the odd but wonderful turn of events after the race to find out we were the winners after the leaders were penalized for a technical infraction, that was an unexpected turn of luck we needed. The whole team has worked hard and even though this isn't how you want to win a race, these guys deserve a break, so we'll take it." 

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