Magnus Racing's Stanton thrills crowd with battle down to the wire in Baltimore
September 3, 2011 (Salt Lake City, Utah) - In the closing stages of the inaugural American Le Mans Series race at the Baltimore Grand Prix, all eyes were on the battle between the no. 23 Porsche of Leh Keen and the charging no. 77 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 Cup of Craig Stanton.
After starting fifth in the Magnus Racing Porsche, John Potter was brought to a stop in turn one after the green flag flew for the two-hour race around Baltimore's Inner Harbor. An incident involving two GT class cars blocked the track and Potter could do nothing to escape damage to the front and rear of his Porsche, but he was able to continue and within two laps had made a move up to fourth place.
What a great battle - that was some of the most intense racing I've done all year.
Avoiding further trouble throughout the rest of his stint, Potter continued to post strong times before pitting under a full course yellow and handing the car over to Stanton. A quick stop by the Magnus Racing crew meant Stanton maintained his fourth place and was on the rear bumper of the no. 68 TRG Porsche of Dion Von Moltke. Once he was able to make his way past Von Moltke, Stanton rapidly closed the gap to Keen and over the final thirty minutes, the two waged war for second place in GT-C.
The two Porsches ran nose-to-tail, with Stanton applying pressure (at times physically) to the rear bumper of Keen's Porsche, but lost his final opportunity to make a pass on the final lap when he was held up by the no. 16 Dyson Racing Lola-Mazda. Stanton ultimately crossed the finish line to take Magnus Racing's third ALMS podium in 2011. This would be the team's third podium in only four races.
"That was a great race, without doubt one of the highlights of the year," said Potter. "This was a very challenging weekend with the delays we had on Friday and the limited track time, but our guys got the car figured out and I had a blast out there. I could have done without the parking lot in the first turn - getting hit from behind and shoved into the car in front didn't feel good - but other than that it was an outstanding event. I had a great time racing here and an equally great time watching Craig battle with Leh for second place."
Stanton, who prepared for Saturday's race by competing in the 5k race held on the circuit on Friday evening, finished the race only three-tenths of a second behind Keen.
"What a great battle - that was some of the most intense racing I've done all year," said Stanton. "Leh was on it, Alex Job Racing always has a great car but our Magnus Racing Porsche was just a little bit better today. I couldn't make the pass happen but man, I was trying. I really wanted it for the guys since they gave John and I such a great car. And the fans here in Baltimore are incredible, this is going to be a great event going forward and I can't wait to come back.