Dumas Posts Top-Five Finish in Utah 250

September 19, 2009

TOOELE, Utah (September 19, 2009) - Romain Dumas drove the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley to a fourth-place finish in the Utah 250 at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday after a mishap in the pits cost the team the lead and, ultimately, its first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series victory of the season.

Dumas' co-driver, Timo Bernhard, started the two-hour, 45-minute timed event from the second position. At the 30-minute mark of the race, Bernhard pitted for fuel only, which set the pace for race strategy.

After the remaining Daytona Prototype entries pitted under green flag racing conditions, Bernhard moved into the lead and held onto the point for more than 35 minutes before a full-course caution period slowed the field.

When Bernhard drove down pit road on lap 31, the Verizon Wireless pit crew was ready for a driver change, fuel and four fresh tires. The exchange of drivers ended up being the pivotal moment of the race as Bernhard's radio cord became tangled in the car on his exit and, despite efforts to rip it free, the cord held and delayed Dumas' stint.

"We were competitive and we led for a long time," said Bernhard. "The Penske Racing team showed a great performance. I had a problem disconnecting the radio cable to my helmet in the driver change, and we lost a few seconds there that we needed. A little thing that doesn't happen (very often), and it happened to us. We never were able to get those seconds back."

Adding to the ill-fated stop, Dumas stalled the car while exiting the pits after the exchange and he required a push from the Verizon Wireless team to get back underway. Dumas was posted in the fifth position for the restart on lap 33, but he moved into fourth place just one lap later when he capitalized on another competitor's mistake. Dumas held on to the fourth position until the checkered flag was displayed one-hour later.

Dumas was disheartened by the mistakes that cost the team a podium finish, but he recognized the strong overall performance of the Verizon Wireless team.

"We had the speed to compete, but the mistake in the pits cost us time we needed at the end," said Dumas. "That is how competitive Grand-Am racing is. A little mistake and it was enough to cost us a podium. We have a great car. Now that we have all the power back, we know we can win. We just need everything to be perfect. We will try again at Miami."

The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 will conclude its 2009 season on Saturday, October 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway's 2.3-mile road course. The two-hour, 30-minute timed event will air live on SPEED beginning at 1 p.m. ET.