March Through Georgia
October 1, 2005 - After maintaining a close second for the first hour of the ten hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta today, the #20 Thetford/Norcold with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith fell to sixteenth place when a wastegate pod failed. Eight hours later, Dyson and Smith were enjoying second place champagne on the night-time podium. "I am proud of my guys," said Rob Dyson. "They kept their heads up all day, no matter what was thrown at them. They kept on digging. They went from second to sixteenth and back to second. A great job."
Added Dyson, "I would also like to congratulate Champion Audi and Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela on winning the race today and the championship. They are a class act and great competitors. Well deserved"
The #16 AER powered Lola fell victim to more serious maladies which put a premature end to a persistent effort. James Weaver, after taking the lead at the start, came in two laps later with a "long brake pedal." Multiple stops to bleed the brakes put Weaver down to twenty eighth. Finally, on lap twenty-two, the car went back to the garage to replace the two master cylinders, loosing sixty- one laps. The coupe de grace occurred five hours into the race when the turbo went shortly after Butch Leitzinger started his first driving stint in the car. The decision was made to retire the car. Explained Rob Dyson, "We were more than sixty laps down and replacing the turbo would have put us down another forty or forty-five. That would have been too much of a deficit to make up and be able to finish the necessary seventy percent of the race to be classified as finishers."
But the end of the race was not without drama as Chris Dyson reported the engine running rough a half hour from the end. Careful nursing brought it home to the celebrating team. "It was a nerve-racking run to the end, but this is a good result for the team," Dyson said afterwards. "We had the car today and we certainly had the pace. I want to thank Guy Smith for another great drive for Dyson Racing. He drove an excellent race and I couldn't have done it without him. His efforts helped secure our come-from-behind finish. As at Sebring this year, he was a valuable addition to our team. "
Chris Dyson goes into the last race of the season at Laguna Seca second in the championship. The race will be broadcast at 3:00 PM EST on Sunday, October 16 on Speed Channel.