This weekend, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the finest drivers in sports cars, NASCAR, and virtually any other sort of motor racing you can think of as teams from every facet of racing challenged the historic track.
In the first sports car race ever held at the legendary track, RSR Motorsports and drivers Randall Smalley and Chris Puskar entered their names in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway history books on Friday with a third-place finish in the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge. During the two and a half hour race, No. 198 Cruise America/Thor Motor Coach MINI Cooper S overcame a transmission issue, overheating from the hot and humid weather, and some rain at the end of the race to earn a Street Tuner podium finish that carries special significance.
“It’s like something has been checked off from my bucket list! Standing on that podium felt great; I’m still smiling ear to ear. It’s neat to be a part of history,” says Smalley. “We owe a big thanks to the team and crew. Everyone worked hard and did a great job, as always.”
“Our crew chief Andrew McNamara made an awesome call to stay out and not come in for rains at the end, and that was the biggest key,” Puskar adds. “Being the inaugural race, it was the biggest race of my career. To race there was epic, and to wind up on the podium was unbelievable. This is definitely the high point of my career.”
Ron Farmer and Jason Hart were nearly on the podium, as well, after running as high as third in the No. 196 US LED Honda Civic Si. On the final restart, however, Hart was hit by an overly-aggressive lapped car. Hart dropped back to 15th, but a few laps of intense driving resulted in a finish of sixth.
“Thankfully I was able to recover and get a top six, but I hate it for US LED and Ron, and for the series that there was that kind of egregious contact,” Hart remarked. On an optimistic note, Hart says, “It’s nice to get back on track with the 196. We’ve had a lot of bad luck this year. We’re doing the right things, though. We’ve got to keep our heads down and remember that we are a top-ten team. I look forward to having some good races the remainder of this season.”
Like the other RSR Motorsports drivers, Farmer was especially excited about racing at Indy. “It was fun to walk on the bricks at the start/finish line and to go out and actually stand there on the track,” he says. “I’ve got to compliment our team. We’ve had some challenges this year, and this weekend we had a finish that fulfilled everyone’s expectations and efforts. I was really pleased with the car we had.”
The No. 197 RSR Motorsports Honda Civic Si of Owen Trinkler and Corey Fergus finished 16th after losing third gear. The co-drivers continued their race despite the setback. The No. 195 MINI Cooper S of Mark Congleton and Dicky Riegel had to withdraw from the race following a mechanical issue in qualifying.
See Smalley, Puskar, and RSR Motorsports make history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the broadcast of the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge on SPEED. The coverage begins at noon on Sunday, August 5. Fans can also keep up with the team online at www.RSRMotorsports.com.
Be sure to subscribe to this column, and keep track of your favorite racers. If you’re a motorsports fan, and know of an event, team, or person you’d like to see profiled, please let me know. Also, be sure to follow me on twitter, and read my articles about local getaways, HOAs, elections, and restaurants.