Birmingham: Farnbacher Loles Racing race report

Farnbacher Loles Racing visited the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series podium for the third race in a row, celebrating a hot finish at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala. Bryce Miller of Summit, N.J., and Dirk Werner of Kissenbruck, Germany, ...

Farnbacher Loles Racing visited the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series podium for the third race in a row, celebrating a hot finish at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala. Bryce Miller of Summit, N.J., and Dirk Werner of Kissenbruck, Germany, combined for their second-consecutive second-place GT finish in the team's No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, despite the challenges of the tight, technical track and 120-degree track temperatures.

Miller started from fifth on the 20-car GT grid and moved to third before handing off to Werner after 43 minutes of the two-hour 45-minute race. Werner returned to the track sixth, regained third, then dropped back to seventh after a fuel stop. He worked back to fourth, then charged to second place on the last lap of the race.

Leh Keen of Charleston, S.C., and Eric Lux of Jacksonville, Fla., were zapped by a caution miscue and handling issues, leaving them out of contention to repeat the class win they scored last month in their No. 86 Porsche. Lux drove first, moving from ninth to fifth in class while fighting an understeer condition in the car. After a driver change, Keen was poised for a "waveby" during a caution period, but officials missed his car number, so he maintained position and lost a lap to the rest of the GT class. He was further slowed by a broken swaybar bracket and a hit from another car, and finished 10th.

Steve Johnson of Bristol, Va., had a strong start in the No. 88 Porsche, racing from 12th to fifth during his stint. He was slowed on his lap into the pits and arrived 15 seconds after the required 45-minute pit stop deadline. Richard Westbrook of London, England, drove next, returning to the track with a one-lap penalty, 14th in class. He lost third gear on his first lap and was forced back to the pits. The car was retired from the race with a gearbox failure.

Gregory Loles, team owner: "What a finish! Bryce and Dirk delivered the result we really needed. Watching Dirk do what he did in the last three laps today is why we all love motorsport. It's great to see that any of our cars is a podium threat now. We travel to Montreal with strong momentum."

Leh Keen, No. 86: "We struggled with the setup. In my stint, the front swaybar bracket broke and then I got hit by another GT car and that knocked the alignment out, so we suffered from really bad understeer. It was a tough weekend for us, for sure. The good speed we had at the last two races wasn't there. We're really, really looking forward to going to [the next race in] Canada. We know the cars are good, so we should be able to make something happen with the Porsches."

Eric Lux, No. 86: "Congratulations to Dirk and Bryce -- they did a nice job. I'm glad to see the other car is now getting some good luck."

Dirk Werner, No. 87: "That was an awesome finish after a very difficult race. The car was really, really good. Bryce and the team did a very good job setting up the car, and that put me in the position to attack at the end. I took a bit of a risk, but I thought, 'We have to be in front of these guys.' Hats off to Bryce and the team! I look forward to racing in Montreal with these guys, because I think we have a run now and the car is very good again."

Steve Johnson, No. 88: "I just wanted to stay out of trouble and give Richard a good car in the top-10, and I think that's what I did. The car was flawless during my stint, then he went out and as soon as he got out there, third gear went. It's just bad luck. We had a good car and the guys put in an awesome effort. I really hated for them that it didn't work out."

Richard Westbrook, No. 88: "Steve did a great opening stint. I was really looking forward to getting in, and he gave me a great car. But it was something out of our hands that went. It's just one of those things -- that's racing, you've just got to move on."

-credit: flr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Steve Johnson , Lehman Keen , Eric Lux , Dirk Werner , Richard Westbrook , Bryce Miller