Road America: Highcroft Racing race report

Highcroft Racing Finishes Fourth in Top Class And Sixth Overall Sunday at Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 20 - The Highcroft Racing team got a couple of breaks in Sunday's Generac 500 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at Road...

Highcroft Racing Finishes Fourth in Top Class And Sixth Overall Sunday at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 20 - The Highcroft Racing team got a couple of breaks in Sunday's Generac 500 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at Road America when some of its competition received penalties, but in the end the Danbury, Conn.-based team needed more brakes of the mechanical kind.

Both Duncan Dayton and Andy Wallace struggled with a lack of brakes as the two-hour-and-45-minute race progressed, but they both did a great job to keep the car on course and finish a solid fourth in the top class, LMP1, and sixth overall.

Their Lola EX257 AER was as high as second overall and second in LMP1 at one point due to smart pit strategy, but both Dayton, also of Danbury, and Wallace, of Buckingham, England, had their hands full getting around the 4.486-mile, 14-turn road course without the benefit of good brakes. Still, the car was extremely fast here, and despite the problem the drivers brought it home without a scratch, the team had no penalties, and its pit stops were flawless.

One of the highlights of the first stint was Dayton's battle with Sascha Maassen in one of the Penske Motorsports Porsche Spyders. Maassen slipped by him on the inside of Turn 14 for fourth place overall on lap seven of the 76-lap race, but Dayton was having none of that and he passed him back in the very next turn to regain fourth.

He brought the car into the pits under a full-course yellow for an errant Aston Martin 33 minutes into the race, getting four fresh Dunlops and fuel. That dropped him back to seventh overall after the pit stop, but he quickly passed Liz Halliday on lap 19 to regain sixth, still riding in fourth place in LMP1.

The team did its driver change with an hour and 12 minutes gone under another full-course caution to retrieve Justin Marks' BMW from a gravel trap off Turn 12. It didn't take Wallace long to record the car's fastest lap of the race, a 1:54.497 on lap 39, while he was doing his best to catch Butch Leitzinger while holding off Timo Bernhard and Jon Field.

With one hour to go Wallace was fourth overall and fourth in LMP1, but he moved up to second overall and second in LMP1 on lap 55 when the leaders pitted. He pitted himself for tires and fuel under green on lap 57 two hours and eight minutes into the race, dropping to sixth overall, still fourth in LMP1, and that's where he finished.

The race was televised live on SPEED. The Audis won, with the one driven by Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro taking the top honors.

Dayton said the team doesn't plan to compete in any more ALMS races this year except perhaps for the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in order to concentrate on its exciting new Acura program for 2007. Any changes to that plan will be posted on the team's Web site at highcroftracing.com if they occur.

Driver quotes follow:

Duncan Dayton: "We had a longer and longer brake pedal as the race went on. Andy didn't have the car to be able to attack at the end because of that. The problem started about half-way through my stint. But early on the car was quick.

"We had a little problem in the Carousel with graining of the tires too. Everybody was having that problem. I think it was due to the track resurfacing, because we never had that problem here before.

"Our pit stops were efficient and clean. The team is really coming together, and I'm really pleased with how well everybody is working together.

"With Maassen, I ran a little wide out of Turn 14 and got off on the grass a little, and he got by me. Then I got him back in Turn One. We had better straight-line speed than he did.

"The original start was close. A couple times I banged with Chris Dyson early on.

"The first restart was hairy too. I was in the mid-pack of the field and I got squashed towards the wall, but I didn't hit it.

"All and all I'm pretty pleased."

Andy Wallace: "I could get to the Porsches but I couldn't pass them because the brake pedal was absolutely down on the floor. It's a real shame; otherwise we might have been able to move up.

"Without brakes it was difficult. It felt like a wheel bearing problem to me, but we'll have to see. We had a huge understeer too. But it was a good solid result for the team.

"As far as the track being resurfaced, I didn't notice it.

"I must say that Duncan did a very good job at the beginning of the race. He put his head down and handled that Porsche beautifully."

-credit: higcroft racing

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Duncan Dayton , Frank Biela , Butch Leitzinger , Jon Field , Timo Bernhard , Justin Marks , Liz Halliday , Chris Dyson , Emanuele Pirro
Teams HART