Two Top-10 Finishes for Farnbacher Loles Racing at Montreal In what can only be described as yet another tumultuous, mixed conditions race, Farnbacher Loles managed to place both of the team's entries into the top-10, maintain the points lead in...
Two Top-10 Finishes for Farnbacher Loles Racing at Montreal
In what can only be described as yet another tumultuous, mixed conditions race, Farnbacher Loles managed to place both of the team's entries into the top-10, maintain the points lead in the team standings, and increase Leh Keen's and Dirk Werner's lead in the Grand-Am Rolex GT driver's points.
With weather conditions uncertain, Eric Lux, of Jacksonville, FL, decided to start the race in the #86 Farnbacher Loles Racing/Wheel Enhancement GT3 Cup on wet tires, and initially capitalized on that decision. Within the first lap, Lux passed six cars while lapping the track four seconds faster than his competition. By lap four, Lux had moved into the lead, but had to relinquish the position as the track began to develop a dry line, unsuited for his wet weather tires. Pitting on lap six, Lux received four Pirelli racing slicks and a full tank of fuel, helping him stay out longer than the rest of the GT field. As other cars pitted during the middle portion of the race, Lux moved the #86 as high as second place, until giving the car over to co-driver Bryan Sellers on lap 47. Sellers, of Centerville, OH, kept the #86 in podium contention until the final lap when the now rain soaked track overwhelmed his slick tires, ultimately bringing the #86 to a hard fought fifth place finish.
Lux is now looking to the next round of the Grand-Am Rolex Series.
"Today started out great! We gambled and took rain tires before the race began," Lux said. "After a few laps, I took the lead and pushed to create a gap to second. After about ten minutes we had to take slick tires. For the remainder of the stint I was on slicks and in the second position. The team did a great job with the setup and pit stops today. Bryan drove an awesome race and I thought for sure we had a podium until the rain came and we were passed on the last lap by cars on wet weather tires. We as a team are going to carry this momentum going into Utah."
Sellers was happy to be back with Farnbacher Loles Racing.
"It was a pleasure to be back with Farnbacher Loles Racing. It's a great team and every time I sit in the car I feel like we have a chance at a podium," Sellers said. "Eric had a great opening stint which set us up for a podium run to the end. Unfortunately conditions were not in our favor and we got caught on the wrong end of the rain situation. The cars that eventually got past us were on rains and we could not hold them off on slicks in such bad conditions. I was extremely proud of the team and the job they did. All and all, it was a very successful day!"
The #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing/Shock Doctor GT3 Cup had an equally difficult race. Starting the race on pole, Leh Keen of Charleston, SC, had to initially contend with a wet track while driving on slick tires. By the fifth lap, however, the track began to dry out and Keen immediately took advantage of the developing grip, retaking the lead from the second place qualifier, Tom Sutherland. During the #87's routine four tires and fuel stop, a pit miscue caused the team's fuel rig to struggle to fill the car for the remaining laps. Dirk Werner of Kissenbruck, Germany, took over for Keen, but immediately fell victim to an unbalanced condition in the car. The #87 briefly went off track, forcing Werner to return to the pits for an emergency replacement of the faulty left front wheel. The lengthy fuel fill and the unplanned pit stop relegated the #87 to the back of the field, until late race weather conditions allowed Werner to claw his way back into the top-10, ultimately finishing a respectable sixth place.
While hoping for a victory today, Keen was happy to have added to his point lead.
"It was really difficult to get the tires warm on a damp track, but once they came up, I was able to open up a big gap," Keen said. "Everything went according to plan in the beginning. As soon as Dirk went out, there was a bad vibration in the left front and he had to come back in. We finished sixth, but it's the best sixth I've ever got. There was so much trouble we could have got in to, a lot of our main competitors in the Championship finished behind us. So we're disappointed because we really thought we could have won, but with all the bad luck, we're happy to have been able to add to the driver's points lead, not lose too much in the team standings, and we're ready for Miller."
Werner reflected his co-driver's sentiments.
"Today was a little disappointing because, speed-wise, we could have won the race," Werner said. "Leh did a great job keeping the car up front, but our problems in the pits and with the left front wheel destroyed our chances to win. The difficult track conditions made it hard to make gains but in the end, I'm glad we increased our point lead. It could have been a lot worse."
Farnbacher Loles Team Principal, Gregory Loles, knew that today would be a difficult race. "After qualifying yesterday, I knew that the impending weather would make things difficult," Loles said. "Our guys did a great job to make the best of the situation. It's how you handle yourself as a team during the challenging races that ultimately determine the Championship. With that in mind, I'm very proud of everyone today."
The penultimate round of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Series will be at held the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT.