BRASELTON, GA September 30, 2006 – That is what separates racing from every other sport – in other forms of competition, you know how long your event will last, whether it be nine innings, four quarters, or eighteen holes. But racing is not as benevolent. You transport your team, 100,000 pounds of cars and equipment – test, practice and qualify, but there is no guarantee you will be there at the end.
Two and a half hours into today’s ten hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, Chris Dyson and Guy Smith’s race ended in turn five. Smith had passed the third place Audi and was less than a second behind the leading Audi when the car veered off the road. “The car was going really well,” said Smith. “We were tracking the race leader and running a comfortable pace. I don’t know what happened. It just snapped and I was facing backwards, and I thought, ‘that is not good’ and than I saw those big imposing concrete walls, and I thought, this is really not very good!”
Another two and a half hours latter, the sister car of Butch Leitzinger, Andy Wallace, and James Weaver retired with an oil system failure. “There was an oil pressure warning at one point in a fast corner, and I checked back with the pits, but their telemetry was fine,” said Wallace. “All of a sudden, I smelled smoke and I thought I better get off the road quickly and sure enough, there were flames coming out of the right hand tail pipe.”
“We have made some huge steps forward this year and we had two cars that ran up front this weekend,” noted Chris Dyson. “If circumstances had been different, we would have been on the podium like we were last year. We will go back to the shop and take a look at the data for the #20 car and analyze various components on the #16 and see what took them out. We will gather ourselves up and have two cars ready for the last race of the season at Laguna in three weeks time.”
And that is the defining hallmark of racers compared to other sports – the ability to turn disappointment into a motivating redoubling of effort for the next event.
|2.||15||P1||Johansson/Mowlem/Kurosawa||4 laps||Zytek 06S/Zytek|
|3.||9||P1||Dayton/Gidley/Meira||5 laps||Lola EX257/AER|
|5.||6||P2||Maassen/Bernhard/Collard||8 laps||Porsche RS Spyder|
|6.||7||P2||Luhr/Dumas/Rockenfeller||9 laps||Porsche RS Spyder|
|7.||1||P1||Biela/Pirro/Werner||11 laps||Audi R10|
|8.||007||GT1||Enge/Turner||20 laps||Aston Martin DBR9|
|9.||009||GT1||Sarrazin/Lamy||21 laps||Aston Martin DBR9|
|10.||4||GT1||Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen||22 laps||Corvette C6-R|