Alex Job Racing Finishes Third in ALMS GTC at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 7, 2010) - Round Six of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron saw Alex Job Racing (AJR) co-drivers Romeo Kapudija, of South Barrington, Ill....
Alex Job Racing Finishes Third in ALMS GTC at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 7, 2010) - Round Six of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron saw Alex Job Racing (AJR) co-drivers Romeo Kapudija, of South Barrington, Ill. and Bill Sweedler, of Westport, Conn., return to the podium with a third place GTC finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
[508.jpg] For Alex Job Racing, today's race was about ebbs and flows. Kapudija started fifth (in class) in the No. 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 and moved up to second by lap five. On lap 23, he turned the team's fastest race lap with a 1:27.231 and was less than a second behind the GTC class leader.
Unfortunately a lap later, Kapudija radioed to the team that he flat spotted a front tire and possibly both of them. Cautious of his tire situation, he did not push the No. 23 machine any harder than he needed to because he had a substantial lead over the third place Porsche.
On lap 38, the No. 37 LMP car got stuck in the gravel. The AJR anticipated a full course caution and had Kapudija pit for a driver change, four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, the caution came one lap later and the team lost two spots on the restart.
"It was pretty hectic at the start," Kapudija said. "On the opening lap, there was a car that spun in front of me. I almost ran into one of the prototypes. Luckily, we did not get collected in that incident. I think I had three or four cars go by me and I had to chase them. I gave pursuit and ended up passing them all within two laps, if I remember correctly. Everybody was fighting hard and everybody drove pretty cleanly out there.
"The car was handling great. The team did a phenomenal job of getting the car right for the race. We gambled with the setup and it worked out."
With Sweedler now behind the wheel, he had some work to do if he was going to fight for a podium finish. He was fourth when the race went green on lap 43. Just in front of Sweedler was the No. 32 Porsche driven by James Sofronas. One lap later, the Sofronas was called to pit lane for a stop and go penalty. As a result, Sweedler inherited third place and now had a substantial lead over the No. 32.
On lap 61, the then GTC class leading No. 48 Porsche experienced some trouble and had to make a pit stop. At this point, Sweedler inherited second place with Sofronas charging hard from behind.
The race's second full course caution came on lap 82, when the No. 99 LMPC car found the gravel. This untimely incident essentially erased the lead Sweedler had over the No. 32. Two laps after the race went green on lap 87, the No. 32 passed Sweedler for second place.
Two laps later, the No. 75 Jaguar hit the No. 32, spinning the Porsche and allowing Sweedler to regain second place. Sweedler held second place until the penultimate lap, when Sofronas got a run on him and passed for position. Sweedler brought the No. 23 Porsche home third for the team's third podium of the season.
"The AJR team was amazing, they gave us an incredible car," Sweedler said. "Both Romeo and I were consistent in the car, and that's what we knew we had to be - error free. We brought it home third. It's nice to be back on the podium after three races. So we're excited.
"James [Sofronas] and I had a very clean, fun race. It was a little bittersweet with a lap and a half to go. That World Challenge car [No. 32] has a lot of horsepower. He had a long straight and got a run on me. I just wasn't going to run him into the dirt. That's not the way I operate. He got a clean run. He got inside and made the pass. It's bittersweet, but we'll take it [the third place finish].
"We finished third, we'll take it," Team Owner Alex Job said. "It's hard to compete with that car [No. 32 Porsche]. The World Challenge and Grand-Am spec car have a lot more legs on us on the straightaway. We can't compete with that straightaway speed.
"It was kind of a mixed bag today. Some things worked for us and some things didn't. But overall, to fight our way back to a podium finish after the last three races, it almost feels like a win. It would have been nice to finish second. We came close."