Muscle Milk AMR wins nail-biting thriller to score three in a row

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing had one of its best days in racing, if not the best, at Road America on Saturday, taking its third victory in a row in a four-hour endurance race that was more of a sprint to the checkered flag which resulted in the closest finish in American Le Mans Series history.

Asked to do the impossible of 'pushing hard and saving fuel', Klaus Graf drove an amazing race to hold off a charging Guy Smith in the Dyson Racing Lola in the final 30 minutes of the race and capture the win by 0.112 seconds.

Graf had taken over driving duties just over one hour and 25 minutes into the four-hour event and thanks to an excellent job by the Muscle Milk crew picked up the lead upon exiting pit lane.

The German had built a gap of over 20 seconds at one point in the race, only to see it vanish when the third full course caution came out. When the green flag waved again with one hour and 19 minutes to go, Graf had to keep on pushing as his lead now ranged from 1.9 to 3.7 seconds.

With another full course caution slowing down the field with 54 minutes remaining, the team could now look at finishing the race with only one more stop for fuel, but it would be really, really close to make it the full distance.

So, while Graf was on track pushing as hard as he could and saving as much fuel as possible, the crew members behind the wall and on the timing stand were having flashbacks to last season when the team lost the race in the final turns after being slowed by a GT car.

Fortunately for the team déjà vu was not in order but sweet redemption was despite facing some adversities, like a small fire during the first pit stop and contact with a GT car, throughout the event that took 107 to complete.

Earlier in the race, Lucas Luhr, who had started aboard the Muscle Milk Aston Martin LMP1 car, had built a gap of over one minute to the 16 Dyson car in third, all while fighting for the lead with the 20 Dyson car.

Unfortunately for the Muscle Milk squad, the huge gap with their Championship standings rivals was lost when the second caution came out on Lap 35, but less than three hours later it didn't really matter as it all came down to just over a tenth of second.

By completing their first hat trick of victories, Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing now have four wins this season and have closed the gap to 18 in the Championship point standings. The win was also the 35th career victory for Luhr who now sits alone in third place in all-time wins in the ALMS.

Next up for the Greg Pickett-led team will be the Baltimore Grand Prix in two weeks time.
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes