Perseverance pays off for Team CytoSport Muscle Milk at Laguna Seca
Monterey, CA (October 10, 2009) - There was plenty of action in the Team CytoSport Muscle Milk camp today at the Monterey Sports Car Championships, but between contact and a minor clutch issue the team persevered and went on to claim a second place finish - a fourth podium in as many starts for the Muscle Milk crew this season. Additionally, driver Klaus Graf also went on to place third in the final driver standings after only four starts in the 2009 season.
It may not have been very warm at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the final American Le Mans Series event of the year, but things started heating up early on for Team CytoSport.
Klaus Graf found himself behind the #88 car of Paul Drayson in the opening laps of the four-hour event. And although Drayson was quicker in the straight-aways, Graf had the advantage elsewhere and he decided to make a move in order to not lose too much ground to the lead pack.
Going into Turn 9, Graf dove underneath the 88 car but Drayson seemingly didn't see the #6 Muscle Milk car and continued his way on the outside. Foreseeable contact ensued and both cars ended up in the gravel trap. Luckily for Team CytoSport, the damage to the Porsche RS Spyder was minimal and Graf was able to make his way back to the pits.
After putting on a new nose and a fresh set of Michelin slicks on the LMP2 car, Graf was back out and registering lap times as quick as the leaders, but was regrettably three laps down.
By the 55-minute mark, Graf came in for a driver change and team owner Greg Pickett took the reigns of the Muscle Milk machine. Pickett continued where Graf had left off and made his way up to 13th overall.
Sunset at Laguna It was at that point that things went wrong again for Team CytoSport. While under a yellow flag, Pickett encountered clutch issues, which consequently sent him off track while trying to heat up his Michelin tires.
Upon returning to the pits after getting the car restarted, Pickett gave his place back to Graf. The German remained in the car until there was about 40 minutes remaining to the event and the team had Greg Pickett return aboard the #6 Muscle Milk car to close out the race.
Although the team had seen its share of action in the race, it wasn't over. Pickett was trying to get around a GT2 car in Turn 5 and was forced to go offline causing him to hit a small pothole, which, as a result, damaged the suspension.
That would sadly mark the end of the race for the Team CytoSport Muscle Milk squad. But with 124 laps complete, the team still managed to obtain a second place finish allowing them to continue its streak of podium finishes and go four for four this season. In doing so it enabled Klaus Graf to move up to third in the driver standings, even if he only took part in four races this season.
Greg Pickett, Owner / Driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
"This is the type of day when you need to remind yourself of a lesson that you never do forget about this game and that is to keep trying no matter what. You just keep going and that's what we did today. I'm very pleased with the end result as it keeps our string of podiums alive. A second place here is really rather remarkable today. The Muscle Milk team should feel really good about it. It's a really memorable day because this is like my home track and I saw a lot of old friends and family members and that's what it's about for me. I believe that success is much sweeter when you share it with someone. And when I can share that with my team and my family and my business associates it makes it really special for me.
"The Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder was fantastic. Unfortunately we had a clutch issue that caused me to go off track when I was warming up the tires during a caution period. After that I had trouble getting it back into gear but let me tell you that nothing other than a Porsche would have continued to make it in this race. It was magnificent. It's a great testament to their engineering excellence and without that we would not have finished the race.
"Unfortunately when I went back behind the wheel of the Muscle Milk car for a second stint, I was going into Turn 5, passing a GT2 car that didn't want to let me go on the regular line up the hill so I was in pretty shallow and had to turn in early and I hit that little pothole that's there and it damaged the suspension. I wish I could have made it to the checkered flag but in the end two seconds and two thirds in four races for us this season is a good prelude to next year."
Klaus Graf, Driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
"What a race! Fortunately we finished enough laps to take second and give us our fourth podium in a row, that's a big achievement for Team CytoSport coming into the ALMS LMP2 class at the end of the season like this, so hats off to the whole team. Obviously it was a pretty eventful race. I had a good start but I was stuck behind an LMP1 car for a couple of laps. I didn't really get frustrated but I just wanted to get going. The Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder was good and I wanted to go faster. So I dove underneath him going into Turn 9, which is a really fast turn. And he just didn't see me I guess, because he hit me flat out when I was basically through and passed him already. Luckily the Porsche RS Spyder is a really strong car and it only did body work damage and some damage to the wheel so we were able to recover from that and put in some strong laps afterwards. We then had some other issues when Greg was on track but I'm just happy that we finished on the podium again. Certainly not the way we would have wanted to but sometimes you have to take it. I'm proud of the whole team. They really did well on the repairs and the communication and everything. We have a really strong team and I'm really looking forward to next year."