Bryce Miller earned an eighth-place GT-class finish in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, despite physical and mechanical difficulties resulting from the 90-degree temperature. Miller, of Summit, N.J., combined with Dane Cameron of Sonoma, Calif., for the finish, Miller's first in the Marquis Jet Mazda RX-8 prepared by Racers Edge Motorsports.
Cameron drove first, starting from second on the GT grid, but quickly taking the class lead on the first turn of the first lap on the 3.27-mile road course in Alton, Va. He held the lead until his first pitstop, 21 minutes into the two-hour 45-minute race. He returned to the track ninth, then regained seven positions to second. He stopped for fuel during a caution period just before the one-hour mark and was fifth as the race restarted. But the high temperature and a long stint took their toll on the car and tires – Cameron was eighth when he pitted for a driver change with one hour remaining in the race.
Miller took over, ninth in class. He was unable to hear or speak to the crew, so he waited for direction on a potential final pit stop. The resourceful crew crafted a sign board to advise Miller to stay on track, enabling him to gain a position to finish eighth.
"From the beginning of my stint, I had no radio contact. I was turning it on and off, and checking all the plugs, but I just couldn't hear the guys. I knew we were going to be close on fuel, but I didn't know how much the caution was buying us. Luckily, I saw the crew's pit sign, I stayed out and we were able to maintain our position," Miller said.
"The car was also pulling badly to the left and it seemed to wear down on the power steering. I was really struggling to counteract the suspension, just wrestling it. It was very hot out, so it was difficult in the car, just physically, and also the engine was overheating. It was running really well in the high end and I could close up on some guys at the very end of the straightaway, but we couldn't come off the corners. But an eighth-place position helps us to secure points in the championship, so it's positive."
time driver action
1m Cameron GT class leader
21m Cameron pit – four tires, fuel
54m Cameron pit – fuel
1h44 change pit – Miller in, four tires, fuel