Fighting Fourth for Ben Waddell at Barber in IMSA Prototype Challenge

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Fighting Fourth for Ben Waddell at Barber in IMSA Prototype Challenge

Images via Carole Doorley,

Birmingham, Ala.  (22 April 2018) – Young American racer Ben Waddell impressed in IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda competition on Saturday, charging from 13th in the field to finish fourth at Barber Motorsports Park.

The race was just the second start in the category for Waddell, as he teamed with Max Hanratty in the No. 3 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P3 in the 1 hour, 45-minute enduro. The two had previously shared the controls for the LMP3 entry last month at Sebring.

Hanratty started the race from fourth on the grid, and then turned the car over to Waddell on a lap 31 pit stop while running in podium position. The multi-class racing format didn’t favor the duo after Hanratty saw his critical in-lap speed squandered by traffic from the slower MPC entries that cost him time before the exchange.

Following the stop, Waddell returned to the fray 13th in the order, but was able to make continued progress forward as he made his first long run of the weekend in the car.

“Max (Hanratty) got held up on his in lap so that put us pretty far behind,” said Waddell. “But I had some clear track when I got back out there so then it was just a matter of settling in.  Throughout the weekend I’ve kind of been the guinea pig with set up changes so I never really got in a rhythm in the car all weekend. But as the race went on, I did and I was catching third place right at the end.”

Moving up to run fifth by lap 51, Waddell claimed one final spot late in the going to come home forth.

Racing with the support of Stoner Car Care (, the parent company of Invisible Glass, Waddell has worked to make the transition from open-wheel competition to the endurance format of the powerful prototypes. Waddell also enjoys support from Bell Helmets as well as USWAG (, the leader in custom socks that was founded in early 2015 by late Indy Car driver Justin Wilson and Michael Waddell.

“Coming from F4 to here, the speeds are higher and the race is longer and it just takes a lot more concentration for a longer time so I am happy that I was able to show the pace that I did while dealing with all of these new factors,” said Waddell.

Also new to Waddell was the track itself, a smooth but tricky strip of pavement that features blind corners, elevation changes, and some very high speed sections.

“I had never even been here, I had just run it on the sim going back to when I was twelve or thirteen,” said Waddell. “So it was my first time here and just second time in these bigger cars so a lot of new variables. The car was great and it was a long run so was definitely physical! I might need a new seat done. Right now my back is having muscle spasms with the long duration corners. But I’m happy with the weekend. You of course always want more, but it was good overall. I just want to improve from here.”

Follow @imsa and @patronesm for updates.

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