Plumb Gives Acura TSX its First Win
-‘The Monkey’ is dead!-
June 26, 2004 – Lexington, Ohio
Matt Plumb, the 2003 SPEED Touring Car Championship Rookie of the Year, validated that award today by driving RealTime Racing’s A-SPEC equipped Acura TSX to the model’s first North American professional road racing win.
Plumb qualified his Acura TSX on the pole and led the 35-car field to the checkered flag at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course by 2.269 seconds over the BMW 325 Ci of Nic Jonsson. Plumb fell to second after losing the drag race to the first corner, but kept the heat on Jonsson until the BMW’s engine died momentarily, allowing the Acura to slip into the lead on lap 17.
“He was screaming in my ear the entire race,’ Plumb enthused, referring to the ‘monkey’ on his back which had until now kept him from the top level of the victory podium. “And now he’s been shut up for good. Becoming affiliated with a championship-winning team like RealTime Racing was the best thing that’s ever happened in my career.”
The finishing order was a classic display of the inter-manufacturer rivalry in the SCCA Pro Racing sanctioned series, as four manufacturers – Acura, BMW, Nissan and Mazda – placed their best cars in the top six finish positions. Two of the six were RealTime Acura TSXs.
The inaugural race win for Acura’s stylish and quick TSX model came in only its third race, one race before three-time series champion Pierre Kleinubing gave the RSX its first win in 2003, and former RealTime pilot Michael Galati provided the now-retired Acura Integra Type-R its maiden victory in 1997.
Plumb’s TSX teammate Kleinubing was slowed by a dragging brake caliper but finished fifth, only seven seconds away from the win. Nick Esayian recovered to finish 23rd, after getting helped off the road on lap 6 in his Acura RSX, while Victor Gonzalez Jr., dropped out of the race on the 20th lap in his RSX.
“The key to winning today was staying cool in the heat of all the pressure from the BMWs and Nissan behind me,” Plumb said. “I really wanted to push the car and see just what the tires could take, but I knew if I just stayed calm, and hit my marks on every turn of every lap, everything would turn out well. There was no letting-up either, because this was our first race of the year where the pace car never once came out to control the field because of an accident or something.
“Pierre and I have become great friends,” he added, “and to beat him is an achievement I’m proud of, considering all his wins and championships. He is the driver I measure myself against.”
After three races, Plumb is third in the championship points with 73, Kleinubing is eighth with 58 points, while Gonzalez sits 14th at 26 and Esayian is 17th with 19 markers. In the race for the Manufacturers’ Championship, Acura is now second.
Rounds Four and Five of the 2004 SPEED Touring Car Championship will be July 17 and 18 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
The RealTime Racing Touring Cars are sponsored by the Acura Division of American Honda, A-SPEC Performance Parts, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, BOSCH, Sparco, Hella, Brembo, Hawk Performance, and Acura Genuine Parts.