McCumbee, No. 40 Mustang Hang on to Win Alan Jay Automotive Network 120
SEBRING, Fla. – Chad McCumbee had two laps left to turn his lead into victory. He made the most of every turn.
Leading the Grand Sport (GS) class and the overall race when it restarted with 3 minutes, 25 seconds left, McCumbee held off a challenge from Trent Hindman to win the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, the two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge event Thursday at Sebring International Raceway.
McCumbee was leading Eric Foss when Max Faulkner’s No. 38 FastMD Racing Audi slid into the tire barrier in Turn 13 with 15:30 left, bringing out a full-course caution. When the race restarted, McCumbee wasn’t sure if the tires would hold up for the No. 40 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 he co-drove with James Pesek.
“We were really fortunate there,” McCumbee said during the postrace celebration. “I felt like our tires were going off pretty bad. … I’d beat them up pretty good.”
McCumbee’s Mustang was ahead of Foss’ No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 when the final green flag waved. Hindman drove the No. 7 Volt Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 past Foss into second and began pursuing McCumbee. Hindman got close but couldn’t wrestle away the lead.
McCumbee made it to the finish line 0.472 seconds ahead of Hindman, who co-drove the Volt Aston with Alan Brynjolfsson. Andy Jakos and the No. 14 Riley Motorsports Toyota Supra GT4 that he shared with Alfredo Najri worked past Foss on the final lap for third place.
The final caution wasn’t ideal, McCumbee said, but it helped prove a point.
“I definitely didn’t want to see that caution, but I’m glad it came out,” he said. “It proved that we had the pace to be there. I’m glad we were able to finish it out and get to the checkered flag under green-flag conditions. That’s really important.”
Winning also helped the team bounce back from a disappointing 17th-place finish in the Michelin Pilot Challenge season opener in January.
“We’ve had so much bad luck,” McCumbee said. “Strange things have happened. We’ve been in position for good finishes. Man, we went to the top this time.”