Drissi and Marcelli Win For Intersport Racing at the Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix
As they dominated their class taking the top spot on the podium and third overall at the American Le Mans Series Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, it was a near-perfect run for Tomy Drissi and Kyle Marcelli in the No. 37 Intersport Racing Alvin and the Chipmumks: Chipwrecked / Muscle Milk / Lafarge / DynaPep LMPC car.
Drissi turned in a picture perfect start falling into lock step with the leaders, staying out of the turn one melee and holding firm ground through another charge of traffic into turn two. The race became a three-way battle with the No. 6, No. 63 and the No. 37 car of Tomy Drissi. Tomy grabbed the lead on lap 14 when the No. 6 car began falling by the way side. The No. 6 went in for a lengthy pit stop dropping the car well down the order and out of contention.
From that point on Tomy Drissi navigated the streets of Baltimore with ease.
At 57 minutes and according to schedule, Tomy brought the car in for a driver change and fuel only. Tomy and Kyle, who were winners in round five at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, ran the rest of the race unchallenged for their second win of the season and fourth podium for the year.
It was the decision to double stint the tires that widened the lead for the team and would prove to be unsurmountable for any of the LMPC challengers. The win was truly a near perfect team effort.
"The track was really, really difficult," Drissi said of the 2.1-mile street circuit along Baltimore's Inner Harbor. "With the risk you take for a second here, tenth there, another tenth there, you have to keep your ego in check. I got it [lap time] down to race pace during my stint after settling in. So then it was about delivering a good car to Kyle to let him drive it in."
"I think going into a temporary circuit on a weekend like this, you have to come in with a well-prepared car," added Kyle Marcelli. "We unloaded off the trailer with a baseline. We sat in the board room and picked what we wanted to do. I knew my job was to bring the car home and maintain the lead that I knew Tomy would bring us…. I kept my nose clean and did what I could to get by trying to be as clean and lean as possible. Our pace was really close for overall finish, but we had our own issues getting out of the pits, it took me three times to get the starter working, otherwise we might have been able to get out in front of the Dysons."
"You can't say enough about Brian [Alder] and the Intersport crew," added Tomy. "I always refer to Intersport as the little giant slayers. Both Jon and Clint Field drive all out and the team works the same way. This is just so much fun being with people that are all working together for the same goal. And I can't say enough about Kyle... he's so fast and so consistent. Everyone here makes me want to bring my best… you just don't want to be the guy that lets the team down. This was a great weekend for us."
Intersport's No. 89 Merchant Services LMPC car driven by Chapman and David Ducote didn't fair so well. It was all up hill for the duo after Chapman was hit during qualifying. Suffering damage beyond a quick repair, Chapman was unable to return to the track and get a fast lap.
At the start of the race, the No. 89 was caught up in the first turn melee and forced down the turn 1 access road. The rest of the field had run over 1/2 lap before the car got clear to proceed.
Adding insult to injury, nearing the end of the race, the No. 89 Merchant Services LMPC was hit by one of the Ferraris bringing an end to an already frustrating day.