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Apr 14, 2007 / reports


Miami, FL – Compass360 Racing's drivers dealt with the hot and humid conditions to give the team a good finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway this past weekend. The cars qualified nose-to-tail, with youngster Matt Pritiko taking the team's highest position – 10th place on the grid – in the #74 Acura RSX-S he shared with Daniel Columbie. Beau Buisson put the first of the team's two Acura TSXs in eleventh spot, with Karl Thomson close behind in the #76.

"We're thrilled with Matt's performance this weekend," remarked Thomson. "He's a rookie not just to Grand American, but to touring car racing altogether. To qualify in the top ten in just his second race bodes well for the rest of the season."

The team elected to use different strategies for each car, with Thomson being the first to pit under an early yellow. This put co-driver Billy Johnson out of sequence the rest of the front-runners, but Johnson was able to move through the field and took advantage of other caution periods to gain track position. With an hour to go in the race, he pitted from second place for a splash of fuel, which put him back to seventh, knowing he could push his tires, brakes and not have to conserve fuel.
Meanwhile, Columbie had taken over from Pritiko in the #74 RSX, and was climbing the leader-board when he was involved in an shunt with a car that was rejoining the track after running onto the grass. While there was some damage to the right side of the Acura, Columbie managed to continue, bringing the car home in ninth position.
Buisson pitted the #75 during a mid-race caution, handing to Travis Walker. On lap 58, Walker took first place after the leading car pitted. Unfortunately, the TSX's handling, which had been good at the start of the race, began to deteriorate and gradually was overtaken, settling into fifth position behind Johnson in the closing laps. However, a fourth-fifth finish for the TSXs was not to be, as Walker was hit by the sixth-place Subaru as it attempted to overtake him. His tire delaminated along the front straight, and Travis stopped the car on the banking after turn one."It would have been great to have all three cars in the top-ten today," said Crew Chief Ray Lee. "Maybe that'll happen next week in Iowa."
The fourth-place result was enough to keep Thomson and Johnson atop the ST-class points standings, seven points ahead of the Turner BMW of Burrows and Hopwood. The team will make repairs to the cars and quickly head north to the third event on the KONI schedule in Iowa this coming weekend.