ELKHART LAKE, WI August 20, 2011 – It was the closest finish in the history of the American Le Mans Series. After four hours of racing today at Road America, Guy Smith finished a tenth of a second (.112) behind Klaus Graf in the Muscle Milk Aston Martin. Smith set the fastest race lap ten laps from the end in the #16 G-OIL ModSpace Construct Corps Lola Mazda after more than two hours in the car. The fastest lap of 1:52.517 was only a tenth off his qualifying time. Graf said after the race, “I can’t remember pushing so hard for the last two hours of a race. The last twenty minutes were the toughest of my career.”
“It was one of the best races we have ever been part of,” said Smith’s teammate Chris Dyson. “You cannot ask for a better race to come down to such a close fight after four hours. I have to hand it to Guy: some of the moves he pulled off at the end, especially where he overtook on the grass, were inspired and brave and this is why I so enjoy having him as my teammate. He is able to dig deep and find the speed when needed and put in exceptional performances.”
“The car was awesome at the end,” recounted Smith. “The last set of Dunlop tires was fantastic. A couple of times Klaus would get really good breaks in traffic and we would drop five or six seconds back but I kept charging and would catch up again, only to have to repeat it again as we went through traffic. I am disappointed because it was so close, but it shows that even after four hours of hard racing, how strong the Mazda is.”
Steven Kane had an equally strong race beginning in the #20 Oryx Dyson Racing entry. He led the first nineteen laps and an additional thirteen laps five laps later. He passed the #6 car on the first lap under braking going into turn three and repeated the move two more times in his hour and a half in the car. “The stint went very well. We were able to fight back every time the Aston got close and when he passed I fought back right away and kept him at bay. It is great to be competitive and we are doing better than our expectations were to start off with.”
Humaid Al Masaood took over from Kane on lap thirty-six, but nine laps later, a water leak necessitated a radiator change that put them down the order. Their race ended prematurely three hours into the event when the car ran wide and slid off the track. Humaid noted that “Steven’s run shows the pace of the car. Unfortunately having the radiator fail today was totally out of any ones hands, but performance wise, it is hard to fault this weekend.”
Today’s event was one of motorsports’ better examples of two teams putting their whole heart and soul into a race. The playing field moves to the east coast for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on September 3rd. Stay tuned for more of the best that ALMS racing has to offer.