Birmingham: Magnus Racing race report

Magnus Racing Jumps Back into Battle at Barber April 13, 2010 (Salt Lake City, Utah) -- It was a challenging weekend for Magnus Racing, as the team traveled from cold Salt Lake City to rainy -- then sunny -- Birmingham, Alabama to contest the...

Magnus Racing Jumps Back into Battle at Barber

April 13, 2010 (Salt Lake City, Utah) -- It was a challenging weekend for Magnus Racing, as the team traveled from cold Salt Lake City to rainy -- then sunny -- Birmingham, Alabama to contest the GRAND-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16's Porsche 250, as well as the weekend's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race.

Magnus Racing is a team that loves sportscar racing and loves having a great time at the track, but it is fair to say that the track at Birmingham is one on the schedule that the team was least looking forward to. Barber Motorsports Park is a beautiful facility with an exciting configuration, but the layout promotes extensive tire degradation throughout an endurance race. Coupled with the fact that tire wear is already an issue for the GT-class Porsche, and the team was looking forward to an uphill battle. That hill was apparently too large a hill for the other Porsche teams, as Magnus Racing was the only one who showed up in Birmingham.

The battle began in qualifying, when the GT field was only given five minutes to qualify due to track delays. Unable to put heat in the tires before the checkered fell, John Potter qualified the No.44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 Cup in eleventh place.

Once the green fell, Potter was able to maintain his position and stayed with the lead group of GT cars, fighting for position while being careful not to overwork the rear tires of his Porsche. Unfortunately, it would be for naught as he was turned around in turn 14 -- which SPEED viewers had several opportunities to view throughout the race broadcast -- and fell down the order. After a pitstop for fuel, tires, and a driver change, Craig Stanton took over the wheel and battled throughout the final hour with several tube-chassis cars to finish the race in eleventh place.

In the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race, Leh Keen started the No.44 Magnus Racing Porsche Cayman in 14th position and made a rocket of a start, passing five cars on the opening lap. He held station in the top-10 until he pitted and Potter took over the car. Potter hovered around the top-10 of the field, not able to make an impression on the Mustangs and Camaros but able to run a solid race pace until he spun in traffic in turn five. Because of the large number of cars behind him, Potter was unable to rejoin the race quickly and fell down the order. Once he got the Cayman moving in the right direction again he would bring the car home on the lead lap in 18th position.

"I think I spent more time going backwards today than I spent going forwards," stated Potter at the end of the race day. "Maybe to other drivers, the No.44 looks like a bulls eye. But anyways, despite the spins it was a good day for us in the sense that we learned more about what's going to make the Porsches work. Grand-Am made some changes to the GT car, and we thought it would be more beneficial to come and race the car instead of staying home and complaining.

"We still have a ways to go on the Cayman, but we moved in the right direction and even between qualifying and the race we made a big improvement. Leh did a great job and the car was in perfect shape when I got in it during our pitstop. I was hoping for a result in the top-10, but we got the car to finish its first race and that is a victory in itself. Another weekend where the crew did a great job, and we all left upbeat and looking forward to VIR."

Next for Magnus Racing will be the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway on April 23-24. The Rolex Sportscar Series race will air on April 24 at 2:00PM EST, while the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race will air on May 1st at 1:00PM EST, both on SPEED Channel.

-source: magnus racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Craig Stanton , Lehman Keen , John Potter
Teams Magnus Racing