ELKHART LAKE, WI August 19, 2011 – In a closely fought qualifying session on the four mile, fourteen-turn Road America course, Dyson Racing qualified second and third for Saturday’s four-hour American Le Mans enduo. Steve Kane qualified the #20 Oryx Dyson Racing entry three-tenths off pole and Chris Dyson was two-tenths back in the #16 G-OIL Modspace/Construct Corps Lola Mazda. At 4.048 miles, Road America is the longest circuit on the ALMS calendar. It also is one of the fastest with Kane setting a 129.892 mph qualifying lap and Dyson a 129.650 mph effort.
“It is really pleasing to come to a track like this and be so competitive,” Kane said after getting out of the car. “I have to thank Dyson Racing, Dunlop tires, all the boys and Vince Wood for giving me a great car. Being our first time here, we are still learning the track. I made a mistake in braking and did not get the ultimate lap I wanted which could have put us on pole, but the car was good and we are pleased with today’s results.”
“Both cars are in the ballpark and Steve did a great job today,” Dyson said. “We have a good, raceable package for tomorrow and with it being a four hour race, anything can happen. If the practice sessions were any indication, there will be a number of yellows tomorrow and Dyson Racing has a history here of making good strategic calls in fluid race situations.”
Commenting on strategy, Humaid Al Masaood, Kane’s co-driver in the #20 Oryx car, thought that “saving fuel is going to be important. Timing your pit stops during yellow flags is also going to be more critical in a longer race. As a driver, you need to pace yourself and relax when you have a chance on the straights. Road America is unique in a good way, with flowing fast corners, slow corners and long straights.”
Guy Smith, pole winner at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago, noted that his first time here was in the 2004 Champ Car race. “I remember being impressed by the circuit because of the nature of the speed here. It was my first race in a Champ Car and I was on the rev limiter going down the straight early in the first practice and I thought ‘I must be doing really well.’ But it turned out the end plate had come off the rear wing! To race our sportscars here is very gratifying. From a driver’s point of view this track has everything and is very challenging for both the driver and his engineer.”
Chris Dyson first raced here in the 2000 June Sprints. “That was back in my SCCA spec racer days and the field was seventy cars so it did tend to get pretty crowded when you were in the thick of it! I have raced here at least once a year with the exception of 2002, and it is always great to come back here. I have been coming here since 1986 so this is my twenty-fifth year here and it has really come full circle.”
The Time Warner Road Race Showcase starts at 3 p.m. CT tomorrow. ABC will air the race at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 21. Live video coverage will be available at 3:45 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com in the US, and americanlemans.com for international viewers. Radio coverage will be available at americanlemans.com.