LONG BEACH, CA April 17, 2009 – The Long Beach Grand Prix is the premier street race in America and the biggest motorsports event in southern California. This is the third year the American Le Mans Series has run this iconic track and Dyson Racing had their best Long Beach qualifying effort to date with Guy Smith qualifying second, two tenths off pole and Butch Leitzinger third, four tenths behind Smith in their BP Mazda Lola Coupes.

“Mechanical issues prevented us from running many laps yesterday,” recounted Smith. “We put those right today, had a good practice this morning and the car showed its pace. We came here with a completely new set up with the #16 car. Peter Weston, our chief engineer did a fantastic job of getting the car working well. We made a couple of changes between practice and qualifying and the car improved again.”

In keeping with the weekend’s theme of building improvement, Leitzinger set his fastest time on the last lap of qualifying. “It was a good session and a good boost to the team,” said Leitzinger. “The Mazda Lola is a comfortable car to drive fast, which helps when you are driving a street course like Long Beach that rewards precision and concentration.”

“This is our best qualifying effort of the season in our third race with the new Mazdas,” said Chris Dyson. “We are racing against cars with much more racing and development time behind them, but we are closing the gap at an encouraging rate.”

Tomorrow’s race starts at 4:15 p.m. PT. The race will be shown on ABC from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 19. ALMS radio and timing and scoring will be available at americanlemans.com. XM Channel 242 and Sirius Channel 126 will carry the race Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. ET.

Mazda is the brand choice of road racers across North America. On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race-tracks of America than any other brand. You will see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car.

Pos Car# Class Drivers Time Car Make
1. 9 P1 Brabham/Sharp 1:11.627 Acura ARX 02
2. 66 P1 de Ferran/Pagenaud 1:11.699 Acura ARX 02
3. 15 P2 Fernandez/Diaz 1:13.134 Acura ARX-01
4. 16 P2 Dyson/Smith 1:13.378 Mazda MZR-R
5. 20 P2 Leitzinger/Franchitti 1:13.763 Mazda MZR-R
6. 37 P1 Field/Field/Ducote 1:15.303 Lola B06/10
7. 12 P1 Lewis/Willman 1:16.470 Lola B06/10
8. 4 GT1 Beretta/Gavin 1:17.952 Corvette C6
9. 3 GT1 Magnussen/OConnell 1:18.144 Corvette C6
10. 87 GT2 Henzler/Werner 1:20.369 Porsche 911