No North Rest
PORTLAND, OR July 22, 2006 - A week after enduring 103 degree in the Utah desert, Dyson Racing traveled to the Pacific Northwest for an even hotter race weekend at the Portland Grand Prix. Running true heat endurance, Dyson Racing finished well today, bettering their Salt Lake City results with a third-place finish by Chris Dyson and Guy Smith and a fourth by Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver. Smith led the first fifty-three laps.
The two Dyson cars swept the front row in qualifying and retained it at the start. Smith passed Letizinger at the Festival Corners at the start. "I did not intend to pass Butch, but when it went green, I nailed it and ended up passing him for the lead," said Smith. The leaders started lapping traffic by lap seven and a lap later the #1 Audi passed Leitzinger for second. The remainder of the first stint was Dyson strong, with Smith stabilizing his lead as he looked after his tires and Leitzinger stayed on the Audi's tail, never more than four seconds behind.
As usual, the Festival Curves provided the majority of the drama during the race. The #7 Porsche and #9 Highcroft Lola came together at the Curves, bringing out the first yellow. Both Dyson entries came in, Leizinger staying in the #16 car after a fuel and tire stop and Dyson getting in the #20 car. When the green fell, Leitzinger went off at turn two and the #20 car was passed putting them down to third. "The Audi got a jump and absolutely flew by on the restart," stated Leitzinger. "I got to the first turn and somebody hit me. I got to the next turn, but the rear tire deflated and I took a ride through the grass. We came in and lost three laps fixing body work and checking things over. It was a shame, the car was running quite well." The #16 car came out sixth and ran strongly the remainder of the race, with Weaver setting the second-fastest lap of the race ten minutes from the end.
Dyson had the pace of the Audis the reminder of the race and finished on the podium with Smith. "It was another encouraging weekend," noted Dyson. "We are getting better and better with these cars with two back-to-back strong finishes. But the story this weekend is the team. Working in extreme heat advisories, they never flagged. They have raced three of the past four weekends and will have three well-deserved weekends off before Elkhart."
The next round of the American Le Mans Series will be run at Elkhart Lake, WI on August 20.