ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – Tony Buffomante kept his impressive string of Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) runs going with yet another podium finish at the Road America Grand Prix this past weekend.
The weekend started with Buffomante picking up right where he left off at the previous PWC round on the streets of Detroit, on top of the speed charts in the only official practice session of the weekend. A lap of 2:18.927 in his Boss 302 Ford led the huge GTS field of participants, with the Kia of Mark Wilkins and the Porsche of Jack Baldwin rounding out the top 3. Inclement weather forced the series officials to cancel the qualifying session denying a chance at the pole position for race 1. Instead, Buffomante lined up 5th on the grid, owing to his current position in the championship point standings.
Race 1 was a green race flag-to-flag, with fierce competition throughout the GTS field. Tony quickly moved from his starting position into a solid 3rd place, behind the Kia duo of Nic Johnson and Mark Wilkins. Unfortunately, as the race came to a close, Buffomante’s #33 Capaldi Racing Mustang ran out of fuel with a lap-and-half to go, relegating Tony to his second DNF of the season and effectively out of the championship points hunt.
“Obviously it’s disappointing to be sitting there cruising to what looked like another podium for the team.” Buffomante said, “I hate to say it, but unfortunately I hope there is a caution flag tomorrow, otherwise we’ll have no chance of making it to the end with the fuel cell we have in this car.”
In Race 2, other competitors’ misfortune turned out to be Tony’s fortune, as there was in-fact an extended caution period for an on-track incident in which all drivers were uninjured. Laps under yellow allowed Buffomante to go into “fuel conservation mode”, giving him enough to race hard at the end of the race.
A few laps from the end, the #33 was in a battle with the Ford Mustangs of Jack Roush Jr. and Dean Martin; in addition to the Kia of Mark Wilkins for the third and final podium spot. Heading into the famous “Canada Corner”, turn 12 at Road America, Tony was sitting in 4th place on the last lap. He made a bold outside pass on Martin and was able to hold on for his third podium and fifth Top-5 finish in five weekends of PWC racing!
“It feels great to be on the box again in this series! It’s also great to have family and friends here at the track to celebrate with since this will most likely be my last PWC race of the season. We knew going into the year, we only had budget for a partial season, and unfortunately those are the harsh realities of auto racing. We are working with some other teams that want me to join them based on the results they’ve seen from me so far…so hopefully we’ll be able to announce something soon!”