VICTORY IN OHIO FOR INTERSPORT RACING’S KYLE MARCELLI
(Lexington, Ohio) August 8th 2011 – In what was arguably the most exciting American Le Mans Series race yet in 2011, it was Intersport Racing’s #89 driven by Canadian Kyle Marcelli and American Tomy Drissi that emerged victorious.
Marcelli’s co-driver Tomy Drissi was opted by the team to drive the first stint. As the green flag marked the start of the 2 hour 45 minute race at Mid-Ohio’s Sports Car Course, Drissi was up to speed and keeping the car in the hunt. Drissi was sitting 4th when he was assessed a penalty for avoidable contact. This regrettably forced the #89 into the pits for a stop plus 60 second penalty and immediately dropped the #89 a lap down from the leaders. After what was such a promising qualifying drive by Kyle Marcelli qualifying the car in 2nd place only 0.05 hundredths off the pole position and a superb first stint in the race by Tomy Drissi, frustrations began to set in.
It was just passed the 45-minute mark of the race when a full course caution was displayed. This allowed Intersport Racing to pit for a driver change getting 21-year old Canadian Kyle Marcelli behind the wheel. Exiting the pits one lap down and 19th position overall, the talented Canuk had plenty of work to do. Marcelli was up to speed right away setting the fast lap of the race and was on a charge. It was soon thereafter another full course caution. This allowed Marcelli to stay out and get his lap back. Now positioned 7th in class and on the same lap as the leaders Marcelli could taste victory. Pushing hard lap after lap and executing a perfect pit-stop by the Intersport crew, Marcelli took the race lead with just under 40 minutes to go.
Just as things looked to be set, the dark clouds above began to open up. Racing on very slippery track conditions and on slick tires, cars began sliding off track bringing out another full course caution. Marcelli along with the rest of the field began to pit for full wet tires and one last tank of fuel. Unfortunately, loosing one position in the pits, Marcelli now sat in 2nd position behind the Intersport Racing sister car driven by local favorite Jon Field. With about 30 minutes remaining the race went green and Marcelli was again on attack.
In what has already been a race full of frustration, intensity and excitement Marcelli, in the pouring wet conditions made an overtaking move into turn 4 for the race lead but was passed back by Jon Field into turn 6. With extremely difficult driving conditions and pour visibility, Marcelli made an outside pass in turn 1 to retake the race lead. The conditions began getting so bad that cars were aquaplaning off track everywhere which soon forced the race to go to full course caution. After a few laps under caution and behind the pace car the race was called and the checkered flag was waved. It was the #89 of Kyle Marcelli and Tomy Drissi that celebrated the victory and a one-two finish for Intersport Racing.
“This was certainly one of the most exciting races of my career. I literally experienced just about every emotion. From the initial frustrations of the penalty assessed to the pressure put on to charge back and finally the joy of victory. The conditions changed so drastically and with the LMPC cars not having any form of traction control you really had to be on your toes. The crew really did a wonderful job to stay positive in the early stages of the race and keep working hard. I enjoyed some really nice racing competition from Jon Field in the latter part of the race, which I’m sure, was very exciting for the fans. Overall the one-two finish for Intersport Racing especially at their home circuit is very special.” Said Kyle Marcelli