Alex Job Racing Qualifies Second in GTC at Long Beach
Alex Job Racing's (AJR) Leh Keen qualified the No. 23 Battery Tender/Robert Graham/William Rast/AJR/Porsche second in GTC for tomorrow's running of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prix. Keen shares the No. 23 seat with teammate Bill Sweedler.
This is my first day at the track and my second time ever on a true street course.
In the two-hour morning practice session the team was able to run a 1:24.633 good for third on the timing sheet. Keen was able to put in a lap time of 1:23.853 in the concrete confines of the 1.98-mile Long Beach street circuit in qualifying good for a second place in GTC and a front row starting position. The qualifying effort puts AJR in a great position to defend their GTC class win from last year.
"Practice this morning went really good," Keen said. "The AJR guys did a great job with the car. We ran the full two-hours with no issues at all. I have never been here before so I was really excited to run this track. I watched about two-hours of video and spent about an-hour-and-a-half walking the track yesterday. I felt like I did my homework. I was able to get up to pace and I was having fun. I seem to do pretty good when I am having fun. We had a different brake compound this morning, so we put a new set on half-way through practice to get a better feel. Again the guys did great work doing a brake job on pit lane.
In qualifying I did two laps of 1:23.8. Ideally you want a one-lap wonder and lay down your best time, but I might have left a little bit out there. This is my first day at the track and my second time ever on a true street course (the first was Trois Riveres in Quebec). We have a tough race ahead of us and I think we did pretty good putting it on the front row in GTC. Bill will take the start and I am excited for the race tomorrow."
"The Battery Tender, William Rast, Robert Graham Porsche was amazing this morning," Sweedler said. "We made some minor adjustments on the car and it really came to us. We wanted to give Leh maximum track time this morning as it was his first time here. He did a great job to put us on the front row in qualifying and I am looking forward to the race. We will have to run a mistake free race on the track and in the pits as well as have things go our way. We have to be right on with our one and only pit stop and run a clean, fast race.""
Team owner Alex Job has his team in a good position to repeat their win from last year.
"We had a very good morning practice session," Job said. "We were able to get Leh a lot of quality laps as he had never raced here before. Bill was able to continue where he left off last year. Leh did a great job in qualifying. Everyone had their top drivers in the car and having him put the 23 on the front row in qualifying the first time he has run here says a lot about his talent. We will need to be on our toes tomorrow for the full 120-minute race."
The ALMS Long Beach Grand Prix can be viewed live on ESPN3.com, starting at 1:15 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 16 and the TV replay will run on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 17.