FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 25, 2014
James French jokes of his ‘curse of third’ place podiums. While most drivers envy such results, James considered it a rut to get past and move up to one of the two spots higher on the podium before the season ends. Last year at Virginia International Raceway also ended with a third place podium finish, so this year he was determined for more.
The Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR would mark French’s third race with the Performance Tech Motorsports team, sharing all three events with co-driver David Ostella. This weekend marked the first time James would experience the sprint race format, meaning he would qualify the #38 Dash Neighborhoods/Phillips 66 Prototype Challenge entry, and would run the first 45-minute race solo on Saturday, then on Sunday his co-driver would run another 45-minute race by starting where French finished.
James would qualify the car in seventh position to start the race. He would be up to sixth before the race even began as one of his competitors missed the starting grid and had to start from pit lane. French would get a good start at the drop of the green flag, and be up to fifth by the first turn. From there he would have strong battle to gain fourth by working traffic to his advantage, and a spin by another competitor would move him up to third place for his first podium finish of the season…yet another third!
Ostella would start the second race in the third position that James ended Saturday’s race in, and after battling handling issues during the race would bring the car home in fifth place. The combined results would actually mean they finished the weekend in second place by combining the results from the two races, for the teams highest finish of the year, their first podium since getting one in the opening round at the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona, and James’ first second place finish of his professional career, and thus breaking the ‘curse of third’.
Following the race James had this to say; “It was a great weekend for us. As usual the Performance Tech team gave us a great car this weekend, and David (Ostella) did a great job. I want to thank everyone for helping make this happen especially my Dad for all his support.
The second place finish would also have the team move up to fourth in the TUDOR United Sports Car Prototype Challenge Team Championship points. The next round of the series will take place at Circuit of the America’s in Austin, TX on September 20th airing on Fox Sports 1.
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