Lime Rock: Tony Ave preview

Lessons in time/space management as Ave prepares for Lime Rock INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- In the short time sandwiched between Rounds Two and Three of the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup, Tony Ave, driver of the ...

Lessons in time/space management as Ave prepares for Lime Rock

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- In the short time sandwiched between Rounds Two and Three of the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup, Tony Ave, driver of the #53 LAC Motorsports Panoz Esperante, is focused on one thing - his qualifying session at Lime Rock Park this weekend.

Within minutes of the disappointment of having a second-place finish slip from his grasp during the second round of the 2002 Trans-Am season at Mosport last weekend, Ave was already thinking about the Mohegan Sun Casino Lime Rock Park Grand Prix.

"All I'm going to be thinking about is trying to get a good qualifying lap, and I have all week to think about it," he says. Now, hammering out a fast qualifying session may sound like such an elementary concept that it needs little thought, but for Ave, and the LAC Motorsports Team, a different starting position last weekend at Mosport could have resulted in a much more profitable weekend.

"Because of where we had to start, I got held up at the start, which gave Boris (Said, the eventual winner) a gap, and I didn't want to work over the guys in front of me too bad because it's so hard on the tires," Ave explains. But the situation led to a promising strategy. Ave raced around at a comfortable pace until his scheduled pit stop on lap eight. "We had a good stop, and when we came out, we knew Boris was the guy who was going to be the leader, because the others all had to pit."

Said's significant advantage however, meant there was no way Ave could chase him down. "So I just stayed where I was, making sure I couldn't get run down, because I knew we were going to be at least second." But on lap 36, a piece of debris from another car ruptured the Esperante's radiator.

"I got really loose and almost spun and I smelled something, but I got the car righted. I thought I had a flat, but after a couple more corners it seemed to get better, so I stayed out." Sans coolant, Ave still managed to maintain a strong second position ahead of Johnny Miller, until lap 38, when the engine lost oil pressure and he had to retire. "It was a heartbreaker, but it shows we have what we need. If I'd been able to qualify up front, Boris wouldn't have had that gap and we could have been right there for the lead," he says. "The other disappointment was that this was the weekend to make up some ground in the points because Paul Gentilozzi had problems and (polesitter) Butch Leitzinger crashed," he adds.

Ave and the LAC Motorsports Team take their hunger for a view from the podium to the sweeping corners and quaint countryside around the 1.53 mile, 7-turn road course at Lime Rock Park for the Mohegan Sun Casino Lime Rock Park Grand Prix on Monday, May 27, 2002. For more information about Tony Ave or the LAC Motorsports team, visit www.LACMotorsports.com.

-lacm-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Tony Ave , Paul Gentilozzi , Johnny Miller