Racing in the Rain
LEXINGTON, OH August 6, 2011 – It was that kind of race: the pace car ran out of gas and the race was red flagged ten minutes from the end for rain. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith navigated the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge and brought their #16 G-OIL Modspace/Construct Corps Lola Mazda home in second place, maintaining their ALMS championship points lead. Humaid Al Masaood and Steven Kane were running third when an incident fifty-five minutes into the event ended their race early.
It was a color-coded race with green, yellow and red flags. Guy Smith started the #16 Lola Mazda and led the first fifty minutes, holding off the Muscle Milk car. It was a close battle with an interval that ranged from two to five seconds depending upon traffic. The #6 car took the lead when the track went green after the first yellow. “I had a good battle with Lucas (Luhr) the first part of the race,” said Smith. “It was hard fought. I was be able to open up a gap and than he would close it as we hit traffic. The tires got a lot of pick-up during the first yellow and Lucas was able to slip by on the restart.”
Dyson got in the second place #16 car fifty-five minutes from the end of the race. Michael White, team manager, told Dyson on the radio, “he is up ahead, it is up to you.” Dyson replied, “I am going to get him.” A couple minutes latter, the first reports of rain on the track started coming in. Dyson did not have a chance to take the battle to the Muscle Milk car. The track went yellow from laps 84 to lap 89, 91 to 92, and 95 to 96 for cars spinning off the track in the heavy rain. The rain got worse, and the red flag was thrown ten minutes from the end, and the race finished with the cars parked in pit lane.
“I was looking forward to racing for the lead, but Mother Nature had other ideas,” said Dyson. “Guy had a great first stint and handed me a competitively placed car. While we did not leave here with a win, we leave adding to our season-long points lead. The 20 car had a good qualifying effort and another solid podium effort in hand the first part of the race. Humaid and Steven are getting results that belie the fact this is only their third race here in America and the ALMS.”
“We qualified well yesterday and Humaid ran a strong first stint in the race,” remarked Kane. “When I got in the car, the car felt great. I am not sure what happened: we will have to look at the data and see why the car ended up hitting the wall. I feel we can take good positives out of the weekend and think if we had been able to finish, we would have been looking at a good result.”
“It was a big picture weekend. We continue to learn the car and our new circuits. We qualified well and the car was set up very well for the race,” said Al Masaood. “We want to do this properly and we are going to Elkhart Lake a stronger team.”
The sixth race of the ALMS season will be held at Wisconsin’s iconic Road America in two weeks time. The four-hour enduro will be run on Saturday, August 20th.