David and Craig Against Goliath In ALMS Finale MONTEREY, Calif. October 11, 2004 -- In the world of American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT racing, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing could be viewed as the proverbial underdog, the David of...
David and Craig Against Goliath In ALMS Finale
MONTEREY, Calif. October 11, 2004 -- In the world of American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT racing, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing could be viewed as the proverbial underdog, the David of the class. As the Michael Petersen-owned Porsche team enters its final race of the 2004 season, the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has dazed the Goliaths of the sport but is yet to throw that last stone. In the first eight races of the ALMS season, the Las Vegas-based team has stood on the podium six times including two second-places and four thirds. That is as many trips to the GT podium as any privateer team. The four-hour, October 16th season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., is the final opportunity for drivers David Murry (Cumming, Ga.) and Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) to move the team up to the top step.
Winning at the Audi Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca would continue the team's streak of four-straight podium finishes in 2004. It would also continue the team's run of knocking-off the larger GT teams. The White Lightning Racing-prepared Porsche was the only team to beat Alex Job Racing in 2003 and has been one of only two teams to regularly challenge the class juggernaut this season. Petersen/ White Lightning is the only single-car GT team to be running at the finish of every ALMS race this season. As a single-Porsche effort with just 12 fulltime people at the track-- including Petersen, White and the drivers-- the team is challenging two-car teams with more than double the personnel. Two-car teams are also able to share chassis setup information across both cars. Further adding to the challenge for the team is the fact that the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans GT-winning program has only tested during the promoter test days on race weekends. Most of the team's competition has done extensive testing at each track prior to events.
Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing is currently trying to take down the bigger guns in the sport with a tight-knit group of dedicated professionals working as the finest example of a team. With one race and 23 championship points remaining, the No. 31 currently sits second, 14 points behind the Flying Lizard team, in the GT IMSA Cup title chase. The IMSA Cup is an award given to privateer teams in the ALMS and was the inspiration for Petersen and Dale White, team manager, when the longtime duo decided to run the full GT season. A victory at Mazda Raceway combined with a finish of sixth or worst by the Flying Lizard team would give Petersen/ White Lightning Racing an outright claim to the IMSA Cup. A championship in the team category is no longer possible as the AJR team has clinched that title. However, should Flying Lizard finish tenth or worse, second is within the team's grasp. The drivers' title hopes ended with the third-place at the Petit Le Mans. A win in Monterey and a finish of tenth or worse by Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law will result in a second. If Jorg Bergmeister finishes fourth or worse, the duo can take third. Regardless of the finishing position in the day into dark race, the team cannot fall from their current ranking of second in IMSA Cup and third in team points. However, it is possible for Murry and Stanton to drop to fifth in the driver point chase.
Mike Petersen, owner/ driver: "We have been very strong in the longer distance races. Laguna is where I got my start into road racing so this place is very special to me. The track is just awesome with turn six and the Corkscrew; and all of this at night this year? Man, I can hardly wait to get there. I know that Craig and David are just as excited about this race. We are still in the hunt and the whole team is just so awesome we all are very eager to get it going. I had hoped that the championship would not come to the last race of the year but we still can win the privateer points and will hang it out there to do this. We are bringing out all the stops to try to cap what has been one hell of a great season with a victory!"
Dale White, team manager: "I really want to win this race. We are doing well. We've won the IMSA Cup in the last three races in a row and have been threatening to take a win. But, this team is about winning and we haven't done that this year in the ALMS. The team is working very hard and very well together. We'll take what we've learned over the last few races and put it into the finale at Laguna Seca. This is a great track for Porsche and a great track for us. We're all eager to get there and close the season with a win."
David Murry: "I am really looking forward to Laguna. It is our last opportunity to win a race this year. We have been close in a lot of races but didn't bring home the brass ring. Laguna doesn't have a lot of grip so setup is going to be key. We are really focused on what we think the setup will be and hope we hit it better than the other teams. Laguna Seca really suits the Porsche because of the corners. Putting down the power is extremely important and that's what Porsche does best. I hope we can get that win for the Petersen/ White Lightning team. They deserve it."
Craig Stanton: "I'm definitely looking forward to the four hour race at Laguna. This has been a great season and I can't believe it is already coming to an end. I would have liked to race at least four more races with the Petersen/ White Lightning team this year. I think we still have a couple tricks up our sleeve. I am really excited for the fans. This is going to be a great race to watch on TV or in person. It will be great theater to see some of the fastest cars in the world drive around one of the toughest tracks in the world at night. I was at Laguna at night once before and I think the only light at the top of the hill is the one in the bathroom. So, it'll be pretty dark. Even with the lights they will put in for TV, it'll be dark where we'll be looking. We'll need a light mounted on the bottom of the car pointing down at the apex for the Corkscrew if we hope to see where we're going."
For more, please visit www.petersenmotorsports.com.