Michelin win streak ends at five
A stirring charge from four laps down ended less than 1/10th of a second short as the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD Honda/Michelin win streak ended at five today here in the Road Race Showcase at Road America.
A pair of final hour caution periods and a frantic dash to the finish saw Muscle Milk’s Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr get back on the lead lap and pass the 21 cars between them and the leader after the final restart with 20 minutes to come within 0.083 seconds of the Dyson Racing Mazda at the finish.
Luhr and co-driver Klaus Graf fought back from a water leak that turned their early two-mile lead into a 16 mile deficit in the first hour of the four hour race. The pair relentlessly reeled off qualifying pace laps for the next three hours to regain laps under caution periods, restarts and pit stops as their fastest race lap at 1:51.248 second was 1.67 seconds faster than the winning car’s best.
The record crowd was standing throughout the final chase at the iconic 4.08-mile natural terrain road course, the seventh stop on the 2012 American Le Mans Series season. The result reverses the finish order of the 2011 Road America event that Muscle Milk, Graf and Luhr won by just 0.112 seconds.
CORE FIRST TO CLAIM A 2012 TITLE
Backing up its 2011 American Le Mans Series Team title, the CORE autosport team became the first to clinch a 2012 ALMS championship as Tom Kimber-Smith and Alex Popow took the PC class victory by 0.403 seconds over teammates Colin Braun and team owner Jon Bennett, the victory was the fifth of the season for the second year team.
DEMPSEY RACING CLAIMS ANOTHER PODIUM
Stepping up to its second podium finish in just four races, the new Dempsey Racing/Michelin P2 class team of Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster moved up to the second step of the podium and a ninth place overall finish in the 35 car field.
UNTIMELY CAUTION PROVES COSTLY
After dominating the first three hours of the four-hour race, the top four Michelin GT teams plans were upstaged by a yellow caution flag just as they were approaching the final round of pit stops with one hour remaining.
Despite yielding track position to five cars that had stopped just before the caution, Michelin technical partners rebounded to finish 2-3-4 as the Flying Lizard Porsche, driven by Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long recovered to finish second in the fierce GT class. The Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari of Johannes van Overbeek and Scott Sharp claimed third. The championship leading Corvette Racing team and drivers Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin rallied to secure fourth place.
“Road America once again produced some of the most incredible racing that many of us have ever seen,” said Karl Koenigstein, technical team leader, Michelin North America. “We had the fastest tires and our teams had the fastest cars, but the breaks went the other way,” said Koenigstein, “When manufacturers, teams and drivers put everything they have into their performance and strategies and produce finishes like we had today, you see racing at its very best.”