Laguna Seca: LMP2 championship - ALMS spotlight

LMP2 TITLES IN REACH FOR FIELD, INTERSPORT IN ALMS FINALE Click here for Hi-Res Monterey, Calif. - Although he may not think so, fate certainly owes Clint Field a favor. How else can you explain six class wins in...

LMP2 TITLES IN REACH FOR FIELD, INTERSPORT IN ALMS FINALE Click here for Hi-Res

Monterey, Calif. - Although he may not think so, fate certainly owes Clint Field a favor. How else can you explain six class wins in 2004 but no LMP2 drivers championship? After falling 14 points shy last season, Field is now on the doorstep of a title that some consider to be long overdue.

Just don't count Intersport Racing's 22-year-old star as one of those, though.

"You just have to hope for the best and expect the worst," said Field, who will team with father Jon and Liz Halliday in Intersport's No. 37 Lola at the Monterey Sports Car Championships, the final round of the 2005 American Le Mans Series. "We've had a great year so far. It's what everybody dreams about, winning five times. I'm happy to be out there winning. Winning the championship would be icing on the cake."

All Field needs to do is complete 70 percent of the four-hour race (a little less than three hours) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to sew up the championship for himself and the team title for Intersport, both of which would be firsts. If the car falters, the B-K Motorsports pairing of Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo in the No. 8 Mazda-powered Courage, must win the race to overtake Field.

Other challenges are expected to come from the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage and the No. 6 Penske Motorsports Porsche RS Spyder, making its highly anticipated debut.

"If we don't win it, we don't win," Field said. "You have to race every time as hard as you can. For sure, we deserve it. Our guys have had a lot of adversity this with gearbox problems and the fire (at Road America). All I know is that our guys have done a great job. If we win, it will be for them."

Throughout the season, Intersport's Lola B05/40 has been the fastest P2 car in the ALMS in 2005. But keeping the new car on track is a challenge the team has been up to for much of the season. That has been the key in Field's championship run, he said.

"It's always hard going with a new car and trying to do the best," Field said. "It's a brand new P2 car. It had never been ran before. It's new to us and new to everybody. It's a lot harder, and we feel like we've accomplished a lot more from last year. There is a lot more competition this year with Miracle. Mazda has won a couple of this year. There were some good cars at Petit."

Many are looking at this weekend's race as perhaps the defining moment of the season for both Field and Intersport, mainly because of the appearance of Porsche's P2. Since the program was announced in April, ALMS fans have been waiting to see how the Intersport Lola would compete.

The only time the two cars have been together was at pre-event testing for Petit Le Mans. Although no times were official, Field said the Intersport car was just as fast, if not faster, than the RS Spyder. Now, the world will see if that holds up this weekend.

"That may be more satisfying to beat them," Field said. "If we can beat them outright with them finishing the race, it would be awesome. It would start us off on the right foot. It'll be difficult, but I believe we'll be able to do it. We were pretty close to where they were if not quicker than they were at Petit. It will be a good race."

The final round of the 2005 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. The race is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. PDT, with SPEED TV broadcasting the race from 1 to 5 p.m. EDT Sunday. Qualifying scheduled for 2:10 p.m. PDT. Friday. American Le Mans Radio, and IMSA Live Timing and Scoring, will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

-alms-

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