Watkins Glen: Farnbacher Loles race report

Farnbacher Loles takes second at Glen Six Hour Coming off another strong performance and a fifth straight podium at Lime Rock, the Farnbacher Loles Racing team headed to historic Watkins Glen International for the Six Hours at the Glen. The ...

Farnbacher Loles takes second at Glen Six Hour

Coming off another strong performance and a fifth straight podium at Lime Rock, the Farnbacher Loles Racing team headed to historic Watkins Glen International for the Six Hours at the Glen. The two-car team was feeling comfortable about their chances in the second longest race of the season.

After a disappointing sixth place finish at Lime Rock, Leh Keen and Dominik Farnbacher looked to turn around their bad luck at the Glen. They have been at the front at every race, yet only have one podium to show for it. Their #85 Shoes For Crews/Recaro Porsche 997 GT3 Cup has been one of the fastest cars at every track and they continued to show that speed in the Watkins Glen practice sessions. Their teammates Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner were also quick in the #87 Marquis Jet/IPC/Paul Miller Porsche/Recaro Porsche looking to continue the momentum from their third place at Lime Rock.

In the last practice session, an on-track incident pushed Domink into a tire barrier, which caused some suspension damage. While the crew repaired the damage, the car was not perfectly dialed in and the 85 ended up qualifying in eighth. Dirk faired a little better as he took the third spot on the grid in the 87. As the field was set, the top five consisted of two Pontiacs, two Porsches and a Mazda. It was clear this race would be a long, tough battle. Considering the distance, the team welcomed back former GT Class Champion Craig Stanton as a third driver for the cars. While Leh and Dominik decided to do the marathon themselves, Bryce and Dirk chose to have Craig take the middle stint in the 87. As the green flag waved, Dominik and Dirk started the race, and the crews settled in for a long afternoon.

The first half of the race had the teams working methodically with efficient pit stops and driver changes all the while pacing themselves for the sprint to the finish in the final hour. Both cars took turns at the front of the pack and set a fairly quick pace throughout. As the race was in the final hour, the two Farnbacher Loles cars were in position to podium. On lap 143, two cars collided directly in front of Bryce with one of the heavily damaged vehicles spinning across the track right in his path. Bryce skillfully avoided the carnage and quickly dived into the pits as the yellow came out. Dirk jumped in for the final run as Leh brought in the 85 as well. Dominik was running for the front with 20 minutes left when disaster again struck the 85. A rear half-shaft broke on the Porsche dashing the podium dreams of the talented duo. Their car again was one of the fastest in the class, yet fate dealt another cruel blow. Meanwhile, Dirk set his sights on the class leader and proceeded to work his way from fourth to second and clinched the team's sixth straight podium finish. The two Farnbacher Loles cars combined had led an incredible 95 laps of the 160 run, with Bryce at the front for 32 laps. His total was the most of any driver in the GT Class.

The second place finish also moved Dirk into the lead for the driver's championship while the team took over the team championship and manufacturer's championship as well. Said Gregory Loles after the race, "These guys never cease to amaze me. The crew is doing a phenomenal job of preparing the cars and week after week the drivers are putting us in position to win. I can't ask anymore from them considering every one of our drivers led the race. While this was another bittersweet finish, I'm sure the luck will turn for the 85 and I expect to see them joining their teammates on the podium very soon."

-credit: fl

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Craig Stanton , Paul Miller , Lehman Keen , Dirk Werner , Bryce Miller