Jr III ("Junior-Three") Racing drivers Eric and Greg Palmer claimed the team’s first top five finish on Saturday at Sebring International Raceway, Round Two of the IMSA Prototype Challenge. The Palmer father-son pair took on the 3.74-mile Florida circuit in the No. 03 Copps Industries Ligier JSP3 for the one hour, 45-minute race in the hot Florida sun and emerged with a fifth place finish to follow on their Daytona debut run to 10th in January.
The Palmers started from the fourth row in the 13 prototype field after Friday’s scheduled qualifying session was canceled due to severe weather and the field was set by points.
The eldest Palmer, Greg, took the green flag for the opening stint where he settled into race pace quickly. The iconic Sebring bumps were no challenge for the experienced driver as he drove a consistent opening stint on the challenging 17-turn course.
Focused driving kept the No. 03 Ligier on the lead lap and moved up the race order to run in seventh by lap 20 as Greg turned the car over to his son Eric with 23 laps to go.
Taking over the No. 03 Copps Industries Ligier, Eric Palmer, returned to the fray eighth in the order as he was determined to bring the car to the finish in one piece. Palmer showed off his speed by improving his best time lap after lap, laying down his best time of the weekend on lap 37 of the 43-lap race.
Eric crossed the finish line in fifth, marking the Palmers’ and Jr III Racing’s best finish in IMSA Prototype Challenge competition.
"The track conditions here at Sebring were subpar and I knew it was a fight for survival," said Eric Palmer. "When I first was released out of the pit box, I knew I had fresh tires and had to get to work quickly. From there, I managed to lay down my fastest time here at Sebring. Halfway through my stint, the track conditions got worse with the car producing a lot of understeer. We fought through it and brought the car home for Jr III Racing’s first top five finish in IMSA which is an outstanding accomplishment for all of us."
"With yellow after yellow, I struggled to get into that perfect race flow," said Greg Palmer. "I kept focused on getting the car in Eric’s (Palmer) hands in the best condition and position that I could. A closed cockpit and a south Florida day makes for hot temperatures which pushes you mentally and physically as a driver. Eric had an outstanding drive and I am very proud of the team’s effort to help us get this result."
Jr III Racing will head north to Road America for Round Three of IMSA Prototype Challenge competition Saturday, August 1st.