As The Race Track Turns July 4, 2005 -- While leading today's New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock, James Weaver in the ...
As The Race Track Turns
July 4, 2005 -- While leading today's New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock, James Weaver in the #16 Thetford/Norcold Lola had a solenoid failure in the pits that put him a lap down with fifty five minutes left in the race. Now Murphy has a cousin that says the longer things go smoothly, the more trouble it has to stir up. Weaver pitted right before a yellow was thrown for Chris Dyson after his #20 car, already suffering drivetrain woes, was hit from behind and knocked off course.
Dyson came into the pits for new rear body work. He went back out and while still under yellow, the gearbox lost its oil and caught on fire, putting an end to the #20 car's day, fourth in class. Since the drama meter was not already pegged, the race went green while there was a tow truck circulating on course. The yellow came back out. Back under green, Weaver earned back his lost lap by passing both Audis under braking into turn one.
But seventeen laps from the end, his car coasted to a stop with an inoperative throttle. James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger ended up finishing third in class. Such was the conclusion of an up-and-down day that had promised so much for the nearby Poughkeepsie, NY-based Dyson squad.
Butch Leitzinger started the race second in the #16 car and kept continual pressure on the lead Audi. He was never more than a couple seconds off the lead for his hour and ten minute stint before handing over to Weaver.
For his part, Andy Wallace started brilliantly in the sister #20 car and was running toe-to-toe with the winning Audi but unfortunately he had to come into the pits fifteen minutes into the race when the car's paddle-shift system began losing pressure and the crew had to switch him to the manual system. "That is very difficult on a bumpy track," related Wallace. "In the manual mode, you have to shift with two thumbs and the car is bouncing around and you are trying to keep both hands on the wheel." Wallace lost two laps in the pits but was able to make up one before handing the car over to Dyson. The early loss of the paddle-shift had caused problems in the 20 car's transmission, however, and Wallace lost the use of 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears toward the end of his stint.
Dyson completed 18 laps with only fourth, fifth and sixth gears and managed to keep on pace, but the loss of the crucial 4th gear ended the day prematurely for the American. "The car was great today," Dyson said afterwards. "It's just bitterly disappointing to have had such a good race setup and then have mechanical problems keep us from fighting for the win." "This is our home track and all of our friends and staff come to enjoy the July Fourth weekend," Rob Dyson added. "We put on a great show for them, but it is unfortunate we were not able to give them a win. We will be in California in two weeks time and we will take it to these guys again."