Road America: Dayton, Field race report

Dayton and Field finish fifth in LMP 675 at Road America. ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 24 - Duncan Dayton and Jon Field's famous "Junkyard Dog" got bit by its own starternator Sunday in the Road America 500 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at...

Dayton and Field finish fifth in LMP 675 at Road America.

ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 24 - Duncan Dayton and Jon Field's famous "Junkyard Dog" got bit by its own starternator Sunday in the Road America 500 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at Road America, but still salvaged a fifth-place finish in the LMP 675 class.

The Intersport Racing Lola EX257/AER #37 of Dayton, of North Salem, N.Y., and Field, of Dublin, Ohio, was running fourth overall out of 37 cars and first in class early in the two-hour-and-45-minute race, but lost more than a half-hour back at the transporter due to electrical problems. The trouble stemmed from the car's starternator, a starter and alternator that is contained in the same housing.

The Intersport crew worked furiously and actually changed two starternators while first Dayton and then Field waited in the cockpit while the car was up on jacks. When Field brought the car back onto the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course he consistently ran laps that were among the top-four fastest, but the damage was done.

Since the trouble occurred after Dayton had pitted for fuel and then couldn't get the car restarted, the team did have enough fuel to go until the end. Field's fast laps coupled with a pit stop by the Bucknum/Willman/McMurry Pilbeam #56 allowed the Intersport team to at least grab fifth place in points after this one.

The starternator wasn't the only problem the team faced. Before the first half-hour had passed Tom Weickardt's Dodge Viper landed in a sand trap in turn 12, scattering dirt and other debris all over that spot. Field, who was leading the LMP 675 class at the time, ran over the debris and was forced off course. He made it back to the pits under his own power and the team used that opportunity to make its first pit stop for fuel, tires and a driver change, but it ended up being a very long stop of over two minutes when the drivers had trouble with the safety harness.

"There were so many stones stuck in the seat belts that I couldn't get it loose for Duncan," Field explained later.

That knocked the car, which is sponsored by Banana Joe's, Highcroft Racing and Goodyear, from fourth overall to 16th, but Dayton wasted no time blasting through the field. It wasn't long until he was in eighth place overall, but the team was two laps down due to the lengthy pit stop.

By lap 32 Dayton had charged back into fourth place overall because he'd consistently been doing laps of two minutes flat or better, but the team still wasn't on the lead lap. A full-course yellow waved at 2:15 p.m. for an errant Porsche and the Intersport team pitted for fuel only. The plan was to let Dayton make up another one of the lost laps under that yellow, but when he tried to pull out of the pits the car wouldn't start, so the team had to push him back to the transporter for the repairs.

Chris Dyson, who is leading both Dayton and Field in the LMP 675 point standings, was one of the co-drivers of the class-winning car so he'll have an even bigger advantage going into the next race at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. on Sept. 7.

"It's really disappointing to have a part fail when we were running fourth overall," Dayton said later. "It just makes our task all the more difficult for the final three races, but we're not going to give up until it's over."

Dayton said he had a close call too. "A Porsche spun going through the kink about two-thirds of the way through my stint. There was dust everywhere and I couldn't see anything. The Porsche spun and then kept on going; how he didn't hit anything I don't know.

"The track was pretty greasy all day," he noted. "The car's handling was better than it was on Saturday.

"Now we go to Laguna Seca. As long as the car runs, we're really competitive. But now we have to pretty much count on the other teams having the bad luck that we've had too."

For more information see www.americanlemans.com, www.intersportracing.com and www.restartcommunications.com.

-lm-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS

User photos

pkphotography

pkphotography

1 photos
MatheRacing

MatheRacing

10 photos
JLK

JLK

17 photos
jb_ecker

jb_ecker

1 photos
Rustyn90

Rustyn90

317 photos
pclracephoto

pclracephoto

67 photos
imtcory

imtcory

50 photos
Upload photo