MAY 22, 2005 — A classic race – it had it all: very aggressive, but fair racing measured in inches; a new young gun, fearless in his maneuvers; a team normally train-like in its running, experiencing fortitude-building fortunes; and even more drama at the end, with the last laps run in the rain. Through this all, Dyson Racing owned Mid-Ohio today. They finished one-two, led 85 laps, and moved Andy Wallace into second place in the championship. The #16 Thetford/Norcold AER powered Lola with Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver finished first, followed by Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace in the #20 sister car. This was the first one-two placement for Dyson Racing in the American Le Mans Series.
The first lap set the tone for the race. Twenty year old pole sitter Hayanari Shimoda in the Zytek had side to side contact with JJ Lehto in the Audi and Butch Leitzinger quickly capitalized, and moved into first, holding the lead until the first yellow. They ran nose-to-tail, separated by less than a second for the first 18 laps. Shimoda took the lead on lap 15 only for Butch Leitzinger to take it back two corners latter. Leitzinger and Chris Dyson came in under the yellow for fuel and tires on lap 18 with Chris beating Butch out. Not everyone pitted during the yellow, and the Dyson pair rejoined in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
By lap 34, Leitzinger was back to second, and when the second yellow of the race occurred one lap latter, Butch pitted and handed the car over to James Weaver. Dyson stayed out, splitting pit strategies. It went green on lap 39 and the #20 car was second and James Weaver was fifth.
Dyson was in the lead eleven laps later and Weaver did some head down driving to ascend toward the front. Chris Dyson pitted under yellow on the 55 th lap and Andy Wallace got in the car (Wallace is fresh from a first place finish at Saturday`s Six Hours Circuit Mont Tremblant). It went green three laps latter and Weaver stayed in front the remaining 59 laps, conserving his tires while still stretching out his advantage. Andy Wallace continued running smoothly in second the last half of the race, navigated the wet track at the end and took a secure second.
Rob Dyson: “The competition is so tough in the American Le Mans Series and the guys we run against are so good but it is good to have such a great result. Mid Ohio is a great track – the fans are great and it is an honor to win here and I am proud as hell of all the guys. They did such a super job. I think it came down to Butch and Chris doing so well at the start of the race. The team works so routinely hard to get the job done and now we have the stamp that says we can beat the best. From here we go to the Lime Rock circuit which is our home circuit and I hope we can take it to them just like we did here today.”
Chris Dyson : “This one two is so terrific. We had two cars up their all day in a competitive race and we underlined how strong this team is and how good our strategy was with being one-two the last half of the race. It is a pleasure to be with these guys. We have put a lot of testing into this car and into wining races. This just makes us work harder to keep on improving the car. I am happy that Andy got a lot of points so he can get right back into the driver`s championship.”
Butch Leitzinger : “Let us go back one year. James put the car on the pole and I almost got the green flag before I blew the car up. I can not tell you how nervous I was for today`s start. I have taken a lot of grief over this the past year! At the start, it was a really tough battle with Shimoda. We battled for a long time. He drove really aggressive, but he always gave me that inch and kept it clean. It is great to have the Zytek in the mix. They were a wild-card and they came in and challenged us. We had to play our best and bring our best game, not knowing what they could do. From where I sat it was it a very intense and competitive race.”
Andy Wallace : “This day belongs to Dyson Racing. We are all part of the team and you can not do better than one-two and everybody is pleased. It is satisfying when their hard work pays off like this. You can not do better than this and I am really proud and happy to be part of this.”
James Weaver : “It was quite difficult watching Butch on the monitor. The racing was absolutely stunning. The passing and the moves he was making have to be some of the all time greatest. The best feeling of the race for me, was going into the back stretch and seeing Andy coming around and that we were running one-two.”