October 15, 2005 – Eight months, ten races and over 5,000 miles of racing came to a close today with Chris Dyson finishing second in the American Le Mans Series Championship. Dyson and Andy Wallace finished third in the season-ending four hour “Racing into the Darkness” finale at Mazda Raceway.
“I am very happy with the result,” reflected Dyson. “The boys just never gave up this year. They kept their heads down and I am a reflection of their efforts.”
“It was very hard fought race,” added team principal Rob Dyson. “The Champion team is very tough and to split the two cars and to secure second place in the championship for Chris is very rewarding for the team.”
The second Dyson Racing entry finished sixth. Butch Leitzinger took the lead going into turn two at the start and held it for the first thirty minutes until coming if for fuel during the second full course yellow. This plan was for the car to make it to the end with only two more pit stops. The far-sighted strategy was negated when an unscheduled green flag stop during the race for punctured tires put them down the field. Both Leitzinger and James Weaver would lead later parts of the race, and Weaver did his patented hounding and passing, but the puncture ended up derailing their charge.
Andy Wallace was equally masterful keeping the Audis at bay for the last forty-five minutes of the race on Michelin tires that were past their “sell-by-date.” “We had a good old battle going and kept the Audi’s behind me for a long time,” Wallace said later. “The only way to get ahead of the Audis was to not change tires so once I got fifteen, twenty minutes into my second hour with the same tires, it became quite the challenge. It was very cold out, plus when you wear the rubber off, the tire temperature goes down and you start to slide around even more. It was as much as I could do to keep it on the road and that really was my sole concern so that we could finish ahead of the #1 Audi and get Chris second in the championship.”
“It was a great year,” summed up Rob Dyson. “Randall Kelsey and all the boys did a phenomenal job and to finish ahead of one of the Audis in the points chase and to have won a couple of races: I think we have a lot to be proud of this year.”
Randall Kelsey, Team Manager:
“It was a good season. We had a few disappointments but in the end we got Chris second in the championship, so that is good. The team hung in with the Audis in every race so I am happy with the way it went.
“I will be sorry to see these cars go. They were the first cars that I was a team manager of and we did some things with them that not many people were able to do. We beat the Audis and that was something special.”
“The race was terrific. We would have given them a better run if we had not had the tire problems. I am really impressed with how Andy and Chris drove to get Chris the points he needed. They did what they had to do and Randall did a great job on the pit strategy.
“Overall I think the season was hard-fought. We had a few systems problems and minor accessories problems that we have since redesigned and improved and I think the cars are pretty much bullet proof now. To secure second in the championship at this level of competition is gratifying. It is very rewarding for the team. Not only as a car owner, but as a father I am very proud of the job the boys have done and very proud of the job Chris has done.”
”It is a great result for the team. We were consistently competitive all year. If luck had gone our way in a couple other of the events this year, we would have been right up there for the championship.
“This is the last race for the Lolas in Dyson Racing hands, but we are hoping to keep them in the series next year. We are talking to some interested parties. A page has been turned and we are moving on. We look forward to running next year with the new car. As we said at the beginning of the year, all things are in motion and nothing is at rest at Dyson Racing.”
Final 2005 ALMS LMP1 Points Standings
Emanuele Pirro 182
Frank Biela 182
Chris Dyson 154
Marco Werner 148
JJ Lehto 148
Andy Wallace 135
James Weaver 124
Butch Leitzinger 124
Michael Lewis 45
Bryan Willman 45
Guy Smith 38
|3.||20||P1||C.Dyson/A.Wallace||1 lap||Lola EX257/AER|
|5.||6||P2||S.Maassen/L.Luhr||29.774||Porsche RS Spyder|
|6.||16||P1||J.Weaver/B.Leitzinger||2 laps||Lola EX257/AER|
|7.||4||GT1||O.Gavin/O.Beretta||6 laps||Corvette C6|
|8.||3||GT1||R.Fellows/J.OConnell||7 laps||Corvette C6|
|9.||58||GT1||P.Kox/P.Lamy||8 laps||Aston Martin DB9|
|10.||57||GT1||D.Brabham/D.Turner||9 laps||Aston Martin DB9|