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Bowmanville, ON. — The victories keep coming for Level 5 Motorsports, as Scott Tucker collected his fourth American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón win of the season and Marino Franchitti’s third of 2013 following a hard fought Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Polesitter Mike Conway, subbing for Level 5 regular Ryan Briscoe, led from the green flag in the No. 552 car and enjoyed a spirited battle with the No. 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports car of Guy Cosmo. The IZOD IndyCar Series race winner managed to bridge out a 15-second gap before his second pit stop and driver change to Tucker, who drove a steady opening double-stint in the No. 551 HPD.
A full-course caution with 45 minutes remaining helped put the No. 551 car, now steered by Franchitti, back into contention, with the rapid Scot getting by both the No. 01 ESM car of Scott Sharp and Tucker’s then race-leading No. 552 car in the final 30 minutes. While Tucker slipped to third by the checkered flag, it was another double podium finish for Level 5, and more importantly the team’s fourth victory of the season.
"It was a good day for us," said Tucker, who drove 2 hours and 22 minutes between both cars in the race. "We had some challenges with the No. 551 car in the first stint when I was in it. But Marino was able to pick up the slack there. He had a lucky break with that last yellow. We got a little bit of time back.
“Overall, the Level 5 team did a great job,” Tucker added. “I'm really proud of what everybody did. We fought back with a car that wasn't perfect but we were able to capitalize on some strategy in the end. The Extreme Speed Motorsports guys are really coming on strong and are tough competition. But we feel really good about the rest of the season."
Sunday’s victory came extra special for Franchitti, who considers the 2.459-mile road course, formerly known as Mosport, as his favorite circuit, but had been winless here until today. Franchitti leaves CTMP as the points leader, with Level 5 padding its lead in the teams championship heading into the second half of the season.
"The days when you win with a car that isn't maybe the fastest are the most satisfying for sure," said Franchitti. "The Level 5 guys in the pits were unbelievable. That really put us back in the game. We got lucky in the yellow and that closed it up. Then it was just a case of charging. But by the end, the tire was burned off the car and I was just really hanging on. It was close between Scott Sharp and I but we managed to hold on. I'm very proud of the job that Level 5 and Scott did.”
Level 5 will continue its quest for a fourth consecutive ALMS championship next month on home soil, as the Madison, Wis.-based organization takes part in the Orion Energy Systems 245. The race, from historic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., is set for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 11 with live coverage on ABC and ESPN3.
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