ELKHART LAKE, WI August 20, 2006 – Last year, Chris Dyson came in second at Road America in the closest finish ever in an American Le Mans series race here with a 3.2 seconds margin. This year, Butch Leitzinger came in third in the #16 car, .713 seconds behind the leaders. It was one of the more exciting races of the year. “On the restarts, I would get a good jump and I could get under Allan (McNish),” said Leitzinger. “But whenever you got up under their wing, you lost all downforce off the front end. The car was right on and the team did a great job getting the most out of the car and we gave it all we had today.”
The race started with the same kind excitement as the ending: James Weaver started the #16 car fourth, but b the first turn had moved up to second with one of the Audi’s taking a side excursion through the gravel. “Alan McNish was blocking quite a bit, which he is entitled to do,” said Weaver. “But while he was busy blocking, Frank Biela got hung out to dry on the outside and Frank had no where to go, so we all met in the middle and he unfortunately slid off the road.”
Guy Smith, with the fastest race lap to his credit, finished seventh with Dyson. The #20 Thetford/Norcold would have been with the leaders but for the slings and arrows of misfortune. On the first lap, Dyson had a puncture and had to come in, putting him down to last. “I had no choice but to hang in there and plug away at it,” said Dyson. He had moved up to seventh by lap nine and was second by the nineteenth lap. By the thirty-first lap, Dyson had to come in for fuel: he was on the reserve tank and the fuel alarm had sounded. But the track went yellow and the pits were closed. “I had no choice but to come in,” recounted Dyson. “It was either that or run out of fuel on the track. Our team manager made sure there was no work done to the car so we would not violate the regulations. But they still hit us with a one minute and fifty second penalty. That just took the race away from us.” Smith got in the car and added to a race that never saw a dull moment, finishing seventh, in tandem with the #16 car.
The American Le Mans series travels across the border for its next race in Mosport, Ontario Canada on September 3.
|4.||6||P2||Maassem/Bernhard||27.374||Porsche RS Spyder|
|5.||7||P2||Luhr/Dumas||27.524||Porsche RS Spyder|
|7.||20||P1||Dyson/Smith||1 lap||Lola B06/10/AER|
|9.||3||GT1||Fellows/OConnell||2 laps||Corvette C6-R|
|10.||4||GT1||Gavin/Beretta||3 laps||Corvette C6|