Road America: Chris Gleason race report

Road America: Chris Gleason race report

Gleason and Bunting finish seventh in GT class at Road America Sunday. ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 24 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa., and Marc Bunting of Monkton, Md., posted their second-best finish of the year in American Le Mans Series ...

Gleason and Bunting finish seventh in GT class at Road America Sunday.

ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 24 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa., and Marc Bunting of Monkton, Md., posted their second-best finish of the year in American Le Mans Series competition Sunday at Road America in the Road America 500 presented by The Chicago Tribune.

It was also the pair's third consecutive top-10 finish in their Racers Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS #68, which is sponsored by Gleason Financial, Monster Cable, mail2web.com, Adobe Road Winery and rennlist.com.

The final standings show that they finished seventh in the GT class and 20th overall after two hours and 45 minutes of competition around the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course.

Bunting lined up 11th in class and 30th overall for the race, which was broadcast live on SPEED. He made his first pit stop about an hour and 20 minutes into the race, when Gleason took over after the car received fuel and fresh tires.

The plan was to stay out of trouble and save fuel. The first edict was hard to follow because the track progressively got dirtier as various cars went on and off the course, spreading sand and dirt with them. But somehow the #68 made it back to the transporter at the end of the race with no major damage, which was an accomplishment indeed.

The plan to save fuel worked well too, but not quite as well as they'd hoped.

"There are three settings on the engine mapping system and I had it set so we could maximize our fuel mileage," Gleason explained later. "The engine started knocking and we had to come in with about five or six laps to go. Unfortunately I made a mistake and violated the pit speed when I came in, which caused us to get a stop-and-go penalty."

Just about everyone who has ever driven a car has had a consultation with a police officer on something similar, and Gleason didn't exceed the pit lane speed limit by much. But the ALMS officials caught him with their radar, and unfortunately the car slipped from fifth to seventh as a result.

"I feel really bad about it," Gleason said. "The car was great; the crew did a great job; the pit stops were great and Marc did another great job. I'm just kicking myself for that penalty.

"The good news is that this is still our second-best finish of the year," he added. "It's also our third finish in a row in the top 10, so I feel pretty good about that. The car is back in one piece, and I guess seventh is better than eighth."

The next ALMS race is Sept. 7 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif.

"It's always fun to race there," Gleason said." We'll take this seventh and try to do even better next time."

For more information see www.gleasonagency.com, www.theracersgroup.com, www.americanlemans.com and www.restartcommunications.com.

-lm-

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