Photo: Steve Bernstein
Indianapolis Motor Speedway | July 26, 2013 | The Godstone Ranch/AHA Heart Car with Park Place Motorsports once again improves as it ran as high as 7th place in it's inaugural appearance at the Brickyard 400! Jason Hart pushed the #71 Porsche GT3 Cup up to 7th place with just twenty minutes remaining in this three hour endurance race. Needing a yellow anytime in the last hour, the race went green to the very end forcing the Heart Car into the pits for a splash of fuel with only 5 minutes left to go, losing three places to the field.
It was a watershed moment for the Godstone team as the car showed it and the team had the pace to run with the Rolex GT leaders. Jason laid down 1:31.xx laps on his last stint to keep contact with the best sports car drivers in the world. The race was masterfully called by Gary atop the box, who crafted a strategy that would allow the team to maximize the gifts of each of its two drivers.
Jason Hart qualified the car to get it near the front with the aim of quickly turning it over to John McCutchen on the first yellow who was driving in his rookie appearance at the Brickyard. Voila! Mission accomplished, Jason streaked to a 7th place spot on the starting grid! Next, as if right on cue, the yellow flag waived just twenty minutes in. Jason brought the car down pit lane, stopped right on the marks, and Karen Garrett jumped the wall and got to work swapping out her two drivers in under 20 seconds. John McCutchen rejoined the race for the restart in 14th place. The green flag waved and John kept the car clean for over an hour, taking full advantage of two more yellows to gain valuable track position. Pitting on the third yellow, McCutchen brought the car into pit lane in 11th place, right where Jason left off.
Hart's plan...stay on the island, track down the leaders and stay out of the infield hand-to-hand combat that seems to mark racing on the Indy F1 track. As the race wound down, Hart kept the car clean as he worked his way up the leader board. The team anxiously waited for that yellow that they were sure would come in the last hour, but alas...it was not to be. The car stumbled with just 5 minutes to go and Jason was forced into pit lane for a 5 second splash of fuel. With a 40 second pit lane delta plus the fuel service time, the Heart Car gave back 3 hard won places to once again finish in the Top 10.
"I was in fuel map 1 for almost an hour, conserving fuel, but still keeping pace with the leaders. Our pit stops had been flawless and quick all day, so I was convinced that when the final yellow came, we would be able to answer the call, and keep our 7th place, or maybe get up to 6th," Jason Hart explained. " But, the race went clean," Jason lamented.
"I want to praise the entire Godstone Team with Park Place for a job well done," said John McCutchen "Indy is a busy place. It's incredibly easy to turn the car around in the infield, or get tangled up with another car. Our spotter, Bryan Gregory made the difference there. He is our eyes in the back of our heads!" exclaimed McCutchen. "And I also want to add props to Gary who called a super race, all the guys on the pit crew, John Horton and Park Place for a bullet-proof car, and Karen Garrett for flawless lightning fast driver changes," he added.
The team continues to make big strides against a field of world-class teams and drivers, without losing sight of their mission to make people aware of the life-saving Hands-Only CPR technique. Bill Sewall and the folks at Hunt Construction Group filled the Godstone Pit Party suite with 100 fans and supporters while also raising money for Godstone's mission. The night before, the team made an appearance at the PRS Guitars Gear Heaven event at the Hard Rock, debuting the Heart Guitar on the Hard Rock stage with Davy Knowles.
The team also welcomed Dr. Steve Bernstein M.D., a noted Minneapolis urologist, our new Godstone Team Photographer, who documented the weekend. It was as advertised...a super weekend. Thank you Indy!
UPDATE: The Whelen Corvette was penalized for avoidable contact moving the Heart Car up one place to 9th!
Godstone Ranch is a proud supporter of the American Heart Association's Hands-Only CPR campaign.