VAN OVERBEEK, FLYING LIZARDS HOPE TO DUPLICATE '04 VICTORY AT MID-OHIO Braselton, Ga. - As the American Le Mans Series heads to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio on May 20-22, a very sweet homecoming awaits both ...
VAN OVERBEEK, FLYING LIZARDS HOPE TO DUPLICATE '04 VICTORY AT MID-OHIO
Braselton, Ga. - As the American Le Mans Series heads to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio on May 20-22, a very sweet homecoming awaits both Johannes van Overbeek and his Flying Lizard teammates.though not totally for the same reasons.
Mid-Ohio was the scene last year for Flying Lizard's first ALMS victory in the GT2 ranks. Even more remarkable is that the triumph came in the Flying Lizards' second series race, a remarkable accomplishment considering the stiff competition the squad faced. The team went on to finish second in the 2004 GT2 team standings.
Van Overbeek, twice a winner in the ALMS, said the race actually was uncharacteristically easy, something he doesn't expect this year.
"Everything went right for us," he said. "It was the culmination of the testing we'd done there, all the preparation and getting a good setup right away. We won by nearly a lap, and it was a good way to win.
"I think we were fortunate in that the weather during race weekend was similar to (what it was during) the time we tested there," he added. "All the work we did during the test was transferable to race weekend. We didn't have any curveballs."
The Lizards have had a couple this year, though. The team has one podium between its two-car effort, a third-place finish at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta in April brought a fourth-place class finish for the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of van Overbeek and Jon Fogarty. But the No. 44 of Lonnie Pechnik and Seth Neiman crashed during qualifying and finished eighth in class.
There's something to be said for persistence, though. Against what may be the ALMS' strongest class, the Lizards don't plan to back down.
"The class is deeper than it was last year for sure," Fogarty said. "Within the ALMS, it's the most competitive. Our results are what they are. We've had the pace to finish at least one position higher in each race, so I don't think we've struggled so much. Things are progressing and the team is operating at a higher level than it has before."
The American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio is set for noon EDT May 22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. CBS Sports will broadcast the event from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT, and live coverage will be available on American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com.