2015 BMW Performance 200 Race Review – Rebel Rock Racing

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Rebel Rock Racing went into the opening round of the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series season with a lot of new faces, new challenges and optimism for great accomplishments.  Anyone that knows the Grammy award winning team owner Jim Jonsin, also knows he and his team are always up for the challenge that’s put in front of them head-on.  This past weekend at Daytona International Speedway was no different.  The team welcomed many sponsors to the event that included the teams’ ultra-competitive stable of Porsche race cars in the very capable hands of the team drivers.

In the top Grand Sport (GS) class would be two-time Trans Am TA2 Class champion Cameron Lawrence with former series champion Andy Lally behind the wheel of the #08 Blik Porsche 997.  The pairing would consistently run at the pointy end of the field throughout the weekend, and looked strong early on in the race.  Lawrence would start the car from his 12th grid position and through the pit cycles would come into pit lane to hand the car over to his co-driver Lally in the Top-5.  During the stop however, two wheel stud bolts would break during the tire change and end a very promising day far too early.  The team ended up with a 20th place finish in the GS class for the Blik liveried entry.

Drivers in the #87 Western Star Trucks/Alliance Truck Parts Porsche Cayman would have an almost opposite weekend of their sister car, albeit in the Street Tuner (ST) class.  Initially battling handing issues early in the weekend, the pairing of Ramin Abdolvahabi and Mark Pombo found form during the race after the team put in the work to completely change the set up that allowed the drivers to run a fast, but comfortable race pace.  Ramin would start the car from the 27th position and turned the car over to Pombo within the Top-20 for a great first stint with the team.   Mark would pick up where Ramin left off, running a steady pace that allowed him to pick his spots for gaining positions and the #87 Western Star Trucks/Alliance Truck Parts pairing would end the day with a 13th place finish for a very strong start to the season.

Team owner Jim Jonsin would share the #88 Ingersoll Rand Products Porsche Cayman with actor Erik Valdez.  Both drivers showed strong pace throughout the weekend, and in the race itself.  Valdez showed great early form, and quickly picked up five spots, steadily running in the 19th class position from his 24th position on the starting grid.  Erik would take advantage of a few yellow flag conditions to perform quick restarts and continue picking off his competition before turning the car over to his team mate.  Jonsin would jump in the #88 machine at the race midpoint, but Jonsin’s timing of the yellow flags and performance of his car in the second half of the race weren’t as much in his favor as they were early on for the pairing.  The Porsche was losing power, but Jonsin was able to use his driving prowess to hold off the competition to maintain a strong result as the #88 IR Products machine would cross the line in the 19th position in class.

Although the results on track were mixed, the Rebel Rock Racing team had a very productive start to the 2015 racing season that ended with all three cars with Top-20 results on the weekend.  The team was also able to not only entertain the fans at the track, but also their sponsors in an amazing pre-race hospitality event that allowed the sponsors to interact and meet the team and drivers alike.

Team Manager Mike Morgan: “I’m very happy with how the team came together this past weekend.  There were a lot of moving parts, but we made it all happen, and all had a blast doing it.  Our guys did a great job adapting to new drivers and setting up the cars to how they drive, and our drivers were strong behind the wheel all weekend.  I can honestly say that we plan on being a force this season in both classes.  Next time out if we reverse some of the bad luck from this weekend, we’ll show the fans, our sponsors and our competitors what we’re capable of….Winning the Rebel Rock way!”

#08 Driver Cameron Lawrence: “Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned, but it was still a great opportunity to run up front and work with Andy Lally and the very talented Rebel Rock Racing team.  The team did a great job and make progress all weekend, it’s a shame we weren’t able to bring home the result everyone involved worked so hard to achieve.”

#08 Driver Andy Lally: “Although it obviously wasn’t the result we were looking for, I had a great first weekend with Rebel Rock Racing.  I gelled well with the guys, and was very happy with the amount of effort put into our Porsche to make it a very strong race car for Cameron and I.  I can’t wait to get another shot to prove what we can do with this car!”

#87 Driver Ramin Abdolvahabi: “Good start to the 2015 season.  A Top-15 finish for new co-drivers getting used to a new car and new team is not bad at all!  We would have finished Top-10 if we didn’t run into some mechanical problems.  The team, the drivers and the whole crew pulled together and we had a solid result.  My co-driver Mark is a true professional with lots of knowledge, and I’m glad that I can learn from him every step of the way.”

#87 Driver Mark Pombo: “Daytona was a solid start to the season.  We had some gremlins pop up in the race, but the team rallied and we managed a solid finish.  We developed a lot of chemistry for race weekend #1 and have the tools, people, and plan to make this a successful season.  The Rebel Rock guys are committed to getting results and so am I.

#88 Driver Jim Jonsin: “We didn’t have the best finish at our first race, but we definitely showed up ready to win, sometimes things happen that are out of our control and therefore show different results than we are hoping for.  The Rebel Rock crew and drivers put there best efforts into the week, it was just not in the cards for us at the Daytona race, however, we had a great experience and we learned a lot.  Friday before the race we had the pleasure of hosting a lunch for our partners at Ingersoll Rand, it was nice to see the expressions on their faces when we walked through the paddock, peaking in the race cars, and over to pit wall where the action takes place.  Racing cars at these venues is one of the coolest things ever and we were happy to share the experience, we are preparing for Sebring and hope to have a different outcome!” 

#88 Driver Erik Valdez: “What an amazing week!  We had a few gremlins pop up with the car, but the crew worked through it, and the car was good for my stint on race day.  Unfortunately, it didn’t hold out for Jim and we didn’t get the result we wanted, but I’m confident we’ll get it sorted for Sebring.  I want to thank Jim, the entire Rebel Rock Racing team, our sponsors Ingersoll Rand, Justice Brothers, Blik and everyone at Continental Tire and IMSA who made this possible.  To my old fans that came out to support, and the new ones I met at Daytona, thank you…you are all amazing!  It just feels so good to be back in a race car!”

The second round of the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series takes place on the weekend of March 20, 2015 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, FL.

About Rebel Rock Racing: Jim Jonsin founded Rebel Rock Racing in 2011. Jonsin’s dedication and vision to unite the entertainment and motorsport industries has created a more exciting environment for motorsport enthusiasts as well as attracting new fans. “Rebel Rock is going to be responsible for developing new, fresh, young drivers similar to the way we develop an artist.” Jonsin said.

Jonsin’s passion for cars and racing developed as a young boy. His appreciation for all things automotive and true love of motorsport has led Rebel Rock to a new approach in racing. Jonsin strives to bring a young and refreshing energy to the sport thru exciting new programs like Rock The Grid. Rebel Rock Racing is looking forward to an amazing season on the track with new opportunities available to partners completely new to the sport of racing!

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January 27, 2015

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