Press Contact: Dennis Punch Howard Motorsports (704) 530-4754 cell
Alton, VA (April 29, 2007) … On a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the picturesque Virginia International Raceway, the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford Team, driven by Rob and Chris Dyson, posted a 16th-place finish in the VIR 400K. The annual visit to the Alton, Virginia road course by the Grand-Am Rolex Series was the third race of the 2007 season for the father-son team of Rob and Chris Dyson for Howard Motorsports.
Rob Dyson was selected to qualify the Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford on Saturday afternoon and responded with a fast lap of 1:51.870 / 105.229 mph to earn the 19th starting position on the grid. The VIR 400K would be contested by only the Daytona Prototype Class of the Rolex Series, with a separate event for the GT cars on Saturday.
Rob Dyson started the race and worked his way up to the 10th position when several of the leaders decided to pit on the first caution on lap seven. The veteran sports car ace would not make his initial pit stop until lap 24 when he turned the car over to son Chris.
“It’s great to be back racing again,” Rob Dyson commented after his stint. “There on the pace lap, I had some time to reflect on Bob Snodgrass, and thought back to racing with him at Daytona. As for the car, I had a good run the first half. We just need to get some speed, and we can do that. We have a great car and beautiful weather, so we have two out of three. That’s not bad.” Bob Snodgrass was a pioneer in road racing and the Rolex Series. He passed away earlier last week in Jacksonville, Florida after a lingering illness.
Once Chris Dyson climbed aboard the Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford, he was faced with two major issues. First of all, starter issues caused Chris to lose several positions on the track. Then, Grand-Am Rolex Series Officials notified the Howard Motorsports Team that a penalty had been issued for entering pit lane too fast. After serving the “drive through penalty”, Chris Dyson set his sights on catching the field. In fact, Dyson ran his fastest lap of the race, 1:48.824, on lap 26.
Dyson was running 17th when he made a stop for tires and fuel on lap 46. Once again, starter issues plagued the team and caused the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford to go one lap down to the leaders. However, the #16 Howard Motorsports entry was the first car one lap down, and would be the recipient of the newly-instituted “Lucky Dog” award at the next caution. The VIR 400K was the first race with the Lucky Dog rule in effect where the first car one lap down will receive his lap back during the next caution. Great rule, but on this day, no additional caution flags would wave and the #16 team would not be able to take advantage of this rule.
Even though he was one lap down, Chris Dyson drove a competitive stint and brought the Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford home in the 16th position. When Chris jumped out of the # 16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford, he had this to say about his finish, “While it wasn’t an ideal result, it was great to get Rob back in the Crawford Porsche this weekend. Considering he hasn’t raced since Daytona, I think he did a very solid job in his opening stint and he made good progress throughout the weekend. We were treating this race as a tune-up for the upcoming Six Hours of the Glen. We made some gains with the setup over the course of the weekend, and we have some directions we can take to optimize the car for the Six Hours. The Howard Motorsports team did a good job as always.”
“The Howard Motorsports Team had a great run here at VIR today,” Rick Howard, President of Howard Motorsports stated. “It was great having the Dyson’s here with us on this beautiful weekend and seeing Rob and Chris having fun driving. That’s what this whole weekend was about, two families coming together and having an enjoyable time. We are looking forward to our next race at Watkins Glen on June 9th. The team has been working hard, and we can’t wait to see our efforts pay off.”
The next race for the #16 Thetford / Norcold Porsche Crawford will be the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen on Saturday, June 9th. For addition information on Howard Motorsports, please see www.howardmotorsports.com.