Iowa: Farnbacher Loles race report

3rd in Iowa vaults Werner and Farnbacher Loles back into Rolex series lead Farnbacher Loles drivers Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner took their seventh podium of the season in the Grand Am Rolex GT series while their teammates suffered through...

3rd in Iowa vaults Werner and Farnbacher Loles back into Rolex series lead

Farnbacher Loles drivers Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner took their seventh podium of the season in the Grand Am Rolex GT series while their teammates suffered through another frustrating day. Miller and Werner never fell out of the top five and led for 69 laps on Iowa Speedway's combined road course and oval. The strong finish moved Werner back into the series championship lead by 10 points. Miller is now third in the standings, only two points out of second and trailing Dirk by only 12. Farnbacher Loles also leads the team championship.

Qualifying went well for both cars on the team's first visit to Iowa. Dominik Farnbacher turned a lap at 45.582, which put the #85 Shoes For Crews/Recaro Porsche GT3 Cup solidly into second on the grid. Since Leh Keen is still recuperating from a broken collarbone received in a crash at Mid-Ohio, Ian Baas again teamed up with Dominik in the 85. Bryce Miller put the #87 Marquis Jet/IPC/Paul Miller Porsche/Recaro Porsche 997 GT3 in the top five on the grid once again with a 45.982 taking the fifth spot behind two Pontiacs, a Mazda and Dominik.

The race got off to a dramatic start as Dominik came together with one of the Pontiacs, but managed to continue on without damage. Dominik went on a tear and set the race's fastest lap as Bryce was close behind and worked his way up to third. The duo continued on flawlessly until the first round of pit stops. Bryce's stop was smooth and uneventful as he handed off the driving duties to Dirk. Dominik came in next but the bad luck, which has haunted the #85 since Daytona, soon reared its ugly head once again. The crew went to work on the car but the air jacks would not engage. Eventually the problem was resolved, but the stop was painfully long. Ian took over for Dominik and quickly exited the pits to join the battle on lap 55. Unfortunately it was clear there was a problem and he came back in on the next lap. The front right wheel had broken studs, which necessitated a trip to the garage for a new wheel hub assembly. The repair was as quick as possible and Ian rejoined the race to gain some valuable points, and showed some impressive speed and control on his way to a 11th place finish.

Dirk took the lead of the race at the halfway point and he built a comfortable cushion on the second place car of Andy Lally until a yellow caution bunched up the field on lap 143. After the restart, Werner and Lally battled for the lead as the high temperature in the cars began to take its toll. Both drivers pushed their Porsches to the limit but Lally's fresher tires gave him an edge and he was able to get by on lap 165. Werner's tires began to go away and he was soon passed by the 06 Pontiac as well. Dirk hung on for third and in the pits after the checkered flag fell, it was clear the heat had made the final laps very difficult for the drivers. Dirk was glad to be back in the championship lead but acknowledged that this was the most difficult race he had ever run. The podium finish was Farnbacher Loles Racing's eighth of the season, the most of any team in the series.

-credit: fl

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Lally , Ian Baas , Paul Miller , Dominik Farnbacher , Dirk Werner , Bryce Miller