Trois-Rivieres: Racers Group race report

Gleason perseveres for eighth-place finish in GT class at Trois-Rivieres Sunday TROIS-RIVIERES, Que., Aug. 3 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa., overcame many challenges to pull out an eighth-place finish in the tough GT class Sunday in the Grand...

Gleason perseveres for eighth-place finish in GT class at Trois-Rivieres Sunday

TROIS-RIVIERES, Que., Aug. 3 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa., overcame many challenges to pull out an eighth-place finish in the tough GT class Sunday in the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres, a three-hour American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race through the streets of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec which was broadcast live on SPEED Channel.

Gleason and teammate Marc Bunting of Monkton, Md., both said their Racers Group crew was the star of this effort, however.

The weekend started out without much track time for the pair due to a variety of problems. "We had a starter motor let go, and we broke an axle once," Gleason related Sunday night after a flight back to Johnstown. "All sorts of minor problems kept us from not getting much practice, and we didn't qualify well.

"Then Kevin [Buckler, the team owner] had all three [of the Racers Group] cars go from a rather stiff set-up to a softer set-up on Sunday, because of the track conditions," Gleason continued. "He thought it would be less taxing on the tires and all the mechanical aspects of the car, and the handling did seem better for the race.

"I was just getting used to it when I got loose on a restart," he added. "I locked up the rear brakes, spun and kissed the wall. It knocked out the radiator and messed up the front end."

Gleason's spin occurred in the event's first half-hour and happened in turn six. The pit stop for repairs took about 20 minutes.

"The team fixed that and got me back out, and then a Ferrari hit me," Gleason continued. "For awhile there, I felt like a punching bag.

"We got that fixed, and then Marc got in the car and he did a stellar job," Gleason continued. "He ran consistently and well, and in the end we pulled out a decent finish from what looked like the jaws of defeat.

"It just shows that in a three-hour race, you have to just hang in there and keep going if you can," he added. "We were the only Racers Group car to finish this time, but really, our crew chief and our mechanics were the stars of the show.

"Our crew chief, Lars, and his band of merry men did a terrific job," Gleason elaborated. "Both Marc and I feel this way. Most mechanics would have looked at that radiator and the other damage on the front end and said 'Forget it; your race is over.' But they fixed it and got the car back out. At one point they even had to use a bar to pry a piece of the front end, and they did it by using a quad with a chain running from it to the car. They improvised under pressure, and really did a terrific job."

The race stats show that Gleason and Bunting's Porsche 911 GT3 RS #68, which is sponsored in part by Gleason Financial, started 28th overall in a field of 32 and 14th in a class of 16. It finished 21st overall and eighth in class.

The next ALMS race will be held on Aug. 17 in Mosport, Ontario, with live coverage on NBC at 2 p.m Eastern time. The following weekend the series travels to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., for an Aug. 24 race which will be televised live at 2 p.m. Eastern time on SPEED.

-lm-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Chris Gleason , Marc Bunting