MISFORTUNE RAINS ON EXTREME SPEED MOTORSPORTS AT MID-OHIO
Lexington, OH, August 6, 2011- The checkered flag flew in combination with a red for the conclusion of today's American Le Mans Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Both flags sagged over parked cars in pit lane as crews and drivers struggled to withstand the torrential downpour that suddenly and decisively marked the end of competition, and punctuated the fifth and fifteenth finishing positions for the Extreme Speed Motorsports crew.
The sun shone brightly over the black and green muscle machines of the 01 and 02 Tequila Patrón Ferrari 458's as Scott Sharp and Guy Cosmo took the green flag today for round five on the American Le Mans Series schedule.
We had a really good car today though.
Owner/Driver Scott Sharp and his teammate Johannes van Overbeek battled through a penalty ridden race in an ultra-competitive GT Class and maintained consistency throughout their run, ultimately improving on their position with the fifth place finish.
"Well, we have two cars that don't have anybody damage or suspension damage-so from a budget perspective that's a good thing," Sharp said laughingly. "We had a really good car today though. The ESM guys tried a lot of things going into qualifying and going into the race and made some risky adjustments to push us further up the grid.
I really think we had a better car than fifth, I think we should have finished on the podium. I was honestly glad we kept in on the track once the heavens opened. This was obviously not how we wanted to end our day, but there are some positives in it-we collected some points and we will learn from our day and be ready for the next one at Road America. I was just so disappointed for the 02 car and crew and their difficulties today."
In a calculated gambit-which was the theme of the weekend for the team, the 02 crew assessed the weather conditions and the impending threat of rain, and put Cosmo in the car for the first stint. It was a strategy designed to put the veteran in the car to contend with potential rain showers, and assuring teammate Ed Brown a clear and sunny path to the checkered flag.
Mother Nature clearly had other plans, and Cosmo navigated under sunny skies, and Brown fell victim to a deluge on Lap 81 that sent cars scattered through turns two, three and eight with a small river weaving its way down pit lane.
While this alone was enough to discourage even the brave-electrical issues began to plague Brown shortly after he began his stint-and his day ended in turn eight, drivers left with a complete power blackout.
"Man, it was really a tough day for us," said Cosmo. "Our plan was to help Ed (Brown) as a driver and we set up our strategy for the weekend to accommodate what we expected was going to be a wet race for the start. I was going to be in the car for the majority of the wet, and when it dried up we would get Ed in and he would continue on in the dry.
This track is just horrendous in the rain," he continued. "And our plan backfired! It was just completely opposite. I drove nearly two hours while it was bone dry, and as soon as Ed got in, it started pouring.
My stint, I guess was so intensive and hard on the car-and this track is very demanding and tough on equipment that we were either having an alternator or battery issue. I could hardly get the car started after my first pit stop, and once we got it running, we were ok, but as soon as we stopped running, it just lost all power. It's such a shame that Ed didn't even get to drive much today, since things backfired on us. But, in the end, you move on to the next one."
"The next one" is the Time Warner Road Race Showcase at Road America in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin. The four mile 14 turn scenic circuit will mark the sixth stop on the American Le Mans Series road to the Championship on August 20th.