Mancuso's dominant performance had the SPEED TV cameras following his progress up through the field, garnering extra media coverage for both his team and sponsors. The race will be broadcast this Saturday at 2pm ET.
"It was a great feeling to score my first podium, but it was also inevitable because of the caliber of the Multimatic Motorsports team and the sheer speed of this Aston Martin," said Mancuso. "I hadn't raced at Road Atlanta since 2009, but I went up to the Multimatic headquarters and spent some time on their extremely sophisticated, Formula One-style simulator. That was not only a really cool experience, but also very helpful since we were fast in every session; I even lead one of the sessions. Unfortunately a downpour kept us from qualifying, so we were gridded on points, and the fact that we didn't get to race at Circuit of the Americas due to a technical problem with the car means our points don't really reflect the results we've had so far."
Knowing his #16 Aston Martin was quicker than many cars ahead of him, Mancuso avoided the bulk of the usual first-lap door-banging, and moved up three places on the first lap. From there, it was a matter of picking cars off one at a time as opportunity presented itself... and Mancuso did just that until he was in 1st place. Team strategy called for staying out as long as possible, even if it meant pitting under green, and then hoping for a yellow in the second half of the race that would lure most of the competition into the pits and allow the Multimatic team to run a 1-stop strategy.
"That sort of plan is always a gamble, but it worked out well this time," said Mancuso. "When we were running low on fuel, after everyone else had pitted, they told me to go as fast as possible for several laps to build up a lead for when we pitted... but take care of the tires. So I really let the car run and pretty much dusted the field; we had an almost 10-second lead when I pulled in and turned the car over to my co-driver, Frankie Montecalvo. He went back out in about 13th place, but then the late-race yellow we were hoping for happened and Frankie cycled up to third during the caution when everyone else pitted. When it went green again, he was chasing the first-and second-place cars, and two of our team cars were chasing him. Unfortunately the race ended under yellow, but we still got our first podium finish and Multimatic cars finished third, fourth and fifth."
With a top-5 finish in the season –opener at Daytona, a DNS in Round 2 at Circuit of the Americas, a top-10 in Round 3 at Barber Motorsports Park and a podium at Round 4, Mancuso and Montecalvo are tied for 12th in the driver points, and the #16 team is tied for 11th with Roush Performance in the team points. And in the manufacturer points battle, Aston Martin is second, just 15 points behind Porsche.
"What the podium finish at Road Atlanta did for me was reinforce my confidence that we have the team and the car to win races," said Mancuso. "I don't know if it's going to be the next race, or five more from now, but we will be winning races. That knowledge gives us strength, a goal and a plan on how to get there."
The next Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, June 15.
About Nick Mancuso: Nick Mancuso is one of the most interesting, and accomplished drivers in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. In addition to his racing activities, he was inducted into the Cum Laude Society in 2004 and in 2005 he was made a member of the National Honor Society and chosen as a National Merit Scholar before graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2009. He is a black belt in Shotokan Karate and an 'extreme adventurer' with hobbies that include spearfishing, Krav Maga (an Israeli martial art), skydiving and capturing/photographing reptiles in the wild. He began racing in 2006, winning numerous races in SCCA Regional Sports 2000 competition. Mancuso joined Multimatic Motorsports in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge for the 2013 season after having helped the team develop their factory-backed Ford Focus ST-R racecar in 2012.
About Multimatic Motorsports: Multimatic Motorsports is a leading motorsports organization that is the competition arm of Multimatic Engineering, one of Canada's largest and most successful engineering organizations. Multimatic Motorsports has a rich racing history, having captured major international wins such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP675 class in 2000, the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prototype class in 2003 and the 12 Hours of Sebring GT2 class in 2006. Multimatic Motorsports programs include car design, engineering, testing and development, track support and turn-key competition management.
About the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge: Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge cars are often purchased directly from the showroom floor with only minimal racing modifications allowed to enhance safety and performance. Two classes of race cars compete on the track at the same time during Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge—Street Tuner (ST) and Grand Sport (GS)—with drivers competing for top honors in their specified class, as well as the overall win. Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge cars are classified by weight, engine size and model. Fields of 80+ cars are common.