LONG BEACH, CA April 19, 2013 – The palm trees go by very quickly at 170 mph whether it is in Florida or California. The American Le Mans Series moved from east to west and from the longest to the shortest race of the year this weekend. Guy Smith qualified on the front row for tomorrow’s ALMS race here on the streets of Long Beach. Smith qualified a solid second on the eleven turn, 1.968 mile course alongside one of southern California’s more famous beaches.
“After this morning’s practice, I knew the car was solid,” said Smith. “To beat the Muscle Milk Guys is good. It is always comforting to be quick in qualifying but especially here because of the nature of the weekend. We ran at 7:30 this morning and then did not go back out until after 6:00 PM to qualify. IndyCars have been on track all day and the weather is different so we are happy with the performance.”
Guy raced here in 1998 and 1999 in Indy Lights. “In ’98, it was my second street race and my second race in America and I ended up on pole. It was a very American experience: here you are in Los Angeles with all its history and Hollywood glamor. This is just a great event and this is what makes American sports car racing so good: you race on pretty much every type of circuits from wide open tracks like Sebring to street races here in Long Beach and Baltimore.”
On the way to Long Beach, Dyson Racing tested their #16 Mazda-powered Thetford/RACER entry at Willow Springs Raceway north of Los Angles. They ended up breaking the twenty-four year old sports car track record set by the Toyota GTP car. “We went there with our Long Beach set-up and were not optimized for the track, so we were pleasantly surprised,” said Chris Dyson, “I have been fortunate to have done it twice now – once at Lime Rock in 2007 and now at Willow Springs. It is satisfying because the GTP cars had a thousand horsepower and seven thousand pounds of downforce.”
Last weekend, Dyson raced at Silverstone with Michael Marsal in the combined World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series weekend. “It was a baptism by fire with the Greaves Motorsport crew,” said Dyson. “Michael and I had not tested the Zytek and it rained the first two days we were there. We struggled in Saturday’s ELMS race but we learned a lot and carried that over into the six-hour WEC race the next day and we stood on the podium at the end of the day. That was a great accomplishment for the team in a race with such a deep field and very well prepared cars. This was the first time for Michael racing overseas and we came away with a successful result. We are looking forward to going back over to Europe and racing at Spa next month.
“Even though with my travel schedule I feel like I am in a time machine, our focus is on Long Beach and winning on one of racing’s more famous and iconic street courses.”
Green flag is set for 4:30 P.M. PT tomorrow. ABC’s coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 21, and live coverage is available on ESPN3 starting at 7:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 20. The Series’ website offers live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring.
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