ALTON, VIRGINIA, SEPT. 1 — It was an emotional first visit to the Virginia International Raceway for the Thetford / Norcold Dyson Racing team, as Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson prevailed to drive the #16 Crawford SSC-2K-Judd its first ever victory in the Rolex Series` VIR 500.
The Anglo-American pairing outlasted the best efforts of championship rival and runners-up Didier Theys and Mauro Baldi in the #27 Dallara, and took the checkered flag with a winning margin of 25 seconds.
Wallace drove first third of the caution-laden race and ran second before handing off to Dyson. After losing nearly a lap after a slow driver change and an early spin, the 24 year-old rookie recovered to run near leader Mauro Baldi`s pace. The Dyson team was able to capitalize when the Italian had two costly off-course excursions, and Andy Wallace, having taken over for Dyson, took the lead with two hours to go. Wallace would engage in some head-to-head combat with the Dallara drivers, but he was not to be outdone.
The British star was delighted with the result, which had not come easily.
“I am so very happy for everyone at Crawford, they have worked so hard for this,” Wallace enthused. “It is great to be back winning with Dyson Racing. Our car had a few problems today. The clutch went away early in the race and the splitter had been a bit damaged, so it was a handful. But we fought hard enough all day and it paid off.”
Chris Dyson was overjoyed to have taken the first major sportscar win for Max Crawford. “I am really pleased that Andy and I were able to give this car its first win in our first race together,” Dyson said. “James Weaver and I almost won at Fontana with the car and it has run strongly everywhere it has been. It is perfect that today we won with it at VIR for the inaugural race here. This is a fantastic track with every type of corner, and it is absolutely beautiful.”
Dyson came into the race trailing Theys by nine points in the drivers championship. With the win, he leaves with a six-point deficit with two rounds remaining.
“We are really looking forward to Mont-Tremblant in a couple of weeks,” Dyson said. “There is still a good chance for us in this championship, and we are going to give them a run to the end.”
The Dyson team will be running the Crawford again at the Rolex Series next round, at Mont-Tremblant, on September 15.