Alex Job Racing Finishes Second in GTC at Long Beach
Alex Job Racing (AJR) finished second in GTC in today's running of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prix. Drivers Bill Sweedler and Leh Keen ran a strong race in the No. 23 Battery Tender/Robert Graham/William Rast/AJR/Porsche to finish on the second step of the podium.
Sweedler had the controls of the AJR Porsche at the start and what a start he had. When the green flag dropped, the call of "green, green, green" fueled Sweedler to take the lead coming onto the main straight. Navigating the 1.98-mile concrete lined street course, Sweedler led every circuit of his stint before handing over to Keen on lap 51. Keen got buckled in the 23 Battery Tender Porsche hit the ignition switch and the motor turned over a few times before firing, allowing the No. 54 Porsche to pass on pit lane. The race finished under yellow following a crash with 10-minutes remaining. Keen is credited with the fast lap of race in GTC with a 1:24.688.
"I was on the outside at the start and the line was really packed-up," Sweedler said. "At the drop of the green I had the opportunity to get bye the 54 car on the inside of the hair-pin. From that point I was able to lead my entire stint. Unfortunately when I handed over the Leh we had a slow starting motor and that cost us some very valuable time. It was no fault of the team, just one of those things. Leh was charging at the end and we had that yellow with 10-minutes to go and that was it. I was really pleased with my stint. I had a close call with a BMW that was turned around in the Fountain Turn and he was trying to get going, so that was a pucker moment. I wasn't sure I was going to get around him."
Keen was charging, but the race was never restarted which might have allowed him to make an attempt at the lead.
"Bill did an awesome job leading the first hour-and-twenty-minutes of the race," Keen said. "He handed me the car in great shape and in first place. I couldn't ask anything more from Bill. The 54 had a shorter fuel stop because they pitted earlier in the race. That allowed them to pop-out ahead of us. When the car was set down it took a couple of seconds to fire the engine. I came out of the pits in third. I was able to get pass the 77 car and then tried to chase down the 54. He is fast. I was hoping for a few more laps of green and the restart, but it didn't happen. We had a good car. The crew did a great job. I had a lot of fun this weekend."
I had a close call with a BMW that was turned around in the Fountain Turn and he was trying to get going, so that was a pucker moment.
Team owner Alex Job had his team in a position to win.
"We were in a great position right to the end," Job said. "Bill had a great drive. He took the lead down in the hair-pin right at the drop of the green and led his full stint, which was almost 60% of the race distance. Leh had a little trouble firing the engine and that cost us valuable track position. At the end we were hoping for a restart and let the two go at it for the win, but that didn't happen. It was a nice rebound performance for the team following a tough start to the season."
The television replay of the Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prix will run on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 17.
The ALMS Series will take a near three month hiatus for teams to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Round three of the series will run at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on July 8.