Close finishes: An Elkhart Lake tradition

Eight drivers set for double duty in historic weekend. Scott Tucker an 11-time winner at Road America.

At 4.048 miles, Road America is the longest circuit hosting the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. The Elkhart Lake, Wis., track also has a long history of producing exciting finishes – including the two closest overall margins of victory.

Last year, Guy Smith won the Orion Energy Systems 245 by .083 seconds over Klaus Graf -- the closest finish in ALMS history. It continued a streak of eight fantastic finishes at Road America.

Smith and Graf reversed the finish of the 2011 race. Graf took the checkered flag by a .112 margin – an ALMS record at the time, and still the second-closest ALMS finish to date.

Since Frank Biela won the 2005 event by 3.239 seconds, all of the ALMS finishes at Road America have been under 2.5 seconds – including four of less than one second. Biela won by .0400 seconds in 2005; Scott Sharp won by .461 seconds in 2009.

Eight Drivers Set For Double Duty In Historic Weekend

#55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE: Bill Auberlen, Maxime Martin
#55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE: Bill Auberlen, Maxime Martin

Photo by: Michael Tan

Eight drivers will race in both the ALMS and GRAND-AM this weekend at Road America – with three of them also competing in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.

“Triple duty” drivers are Bill Auberlen, John Edwards and Spencer Pumpelly, joining Leh Keen, Patrick Long, Andy Lally, Maxime Martin and Tristan Nunez in seeing action both Saturday and Sunday.

Pumpelly, Auberlen and Edwards will drive for the same teams in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and CTSCC, but will be with different teams in the ALMS. Pumpelly drives the No. 45 Venezuela/eSilicon Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Nelson Canache Jr. for Flying Lizard Motorsports in the ALMS. He competes for BGB Motorsports with co-driver Jim Norman in GRAND-AM. Auberlen will drive Turner Motorsport BMW M3s with Paul Dalla Lana in both the Rolex Series and CTSCC, and joins Martin in a BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE in the ALMS. Martin will also drive a Turner Motorsport BMW in the Rolex Series, joining car owner Will Turner.

Edwards was a winner with BMW Team RLL at Lime Rock, co-driving with GT points leader Dirk Müller. He also has been competitive in both the Rolex Series and CTSCC, winning the North American Endurance Championship presented by co-driving with Robin Liddell.

Keen competes in the Team West/Boardwalk Ferrari F458 for Alex Job Racing in the ALMS, and recently rejoined the Rolex Series in a Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 with Alessandro Balzan.

Long runs a pair of Porsches, joining Tom Kimber-Smith with CORE autosport in the ALMS and Patrick Lindsey with Park Place Racing in the Rolex Series.

Nunez probably has the biggest adjustment of the group, going back and forth from a prototype to a GX car. The 17-year-old Floridian drives with Charlie Shears in the Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09 in the ALMS Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire, and with SpeedSource in a diesel-powered Mazda 6 in GX.

Make It A Dozen: Level 5’s Tucker An 11-Time Winner At Road America

How do you find victory circle at Road America

#551 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b: Scott Tucker, Marino Franchitti
#551 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b: Scott Tucker, Marino Franchitti

Photo by: Michael Tan

Ask Scott Tucker. He’s won 11 races at the circuit – in nine different divisions – and will be looking to make it an even dozen when he shares the No. 551 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD-ARX03b with Marino Franchitti and the similar No. 552 entry with Ryan Briscoe in Sunday’s Orion Energy Systems 245.

The cars are prepared by team manager David Stone at Level 5 in Madison, Wis.

The Level 5 Motorsports owner/driver won in P2 in 2011 – in addition to finishing third in 2010 and 2012.

He added a trio of IMSA victories in 2012, winning both Prototype Lites races and the GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama.

Tucker’s trophy collection also includes five SCCA National Championship Runoffs titles (D Sports Racing, 2012; T1, 2009-10; STO, 2011-12); SCCA Trans-Am TA2, 2011; and Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, 2009.

"Road America is certainly one of my favorite tracks," Tucker said. "We have enjoyed a great deal of success there. We always have a lot of support which makes it all the more special."

Tucker enters the event second in the P2 championship standings, trailing teammate Franchitti by three points (92-89).

Perfect Attendance: Corvette’s Gavin Has Raced Road America Since 2002

One driver has been at Road America since the ALMS began competing there in 2002. That’s Oliver Gavin, who co-drives the No. 4 Corvette Racing Compuware Corvette C6 ZR1 with Tommy Milner.

“It has a lot of what everyone likes in a track,” Gavin said. “It has that really great combination of elements – and it takes some guts.”

Gavin finished second in 2002, his first of seven podiums at the circuit. He won in 2004, 2005 and 2007, in addition to being the fastest qualifier four times.

He’s also raced at a number of distances, ranging from the current two hours, 45 minutes to six hours.

#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1: Oliver Gavin, Tom Milner
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1: Oliver Gavin, Tom Milner

Photo by: James M. Holland

“Whatever length of race there suits me perfectly,” Gavin said. “I’d like to do 24 hours there, because it’s the type of place where you could drive all day and get a huge amount of satisfaction.”

Gavin and Milner are currently second in the GT championship, trailing BMW Team RLL driver Dirk Müller by five points (70-65).

Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia – co-drivers of the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6 ZR1 – are third with 56 points.

ALMS, Etc.

· Four drivers are tied atop the GTC point standings entering Sunday’s Race. Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil share the top spot with Nelson Canache Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly. Bleekemolen and MacNeil won at Sebring and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Canache and Pumpelly were winners at Lime Rock in the No, 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Venezuela/eSilicon Porsche. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca winner Henrique Cisneros – driver of the No. 30 NGT Motorsport MOMO Porsche – is third with 68 points.

· Bill Auberlen and Jan Magnussen are poised to share the lead in all-time ALMS starts with 112 at Road America. They enter the event tied with Johnny O’Connell with 111. Johannes van Overbeek is set to make his 111th start on Sunday.


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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Antonio Garcia , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Guy Smith , Frank Biela , Klaus Graf , Scott Sharp , Robin Liddell , Bill Auberlen , Andy Lally , Oliver Gavin , Patrick Long , Marino Franchitti , Johannes van Overbeek , Ryan Briscoe , Will Turner , Spencer Pumpelly , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Tom Kimber-Smith , Alessandro Balzan , Tommy Milner , Lehman Keen , Alex Job , Maxime Martin , John Edwards , Scott Tucker , David Stone , Patrick Lindsey , Paul Dalla Lana , Henrique Cisneros , Charlie Shears , Cooper MacNeil , Jim Norman , Tristan Nunez , Nelson Canache
Teams Corvette Racing , Scuderia Corsa , NGT Motorsport , Turner Motorsport , Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing , Alex Job Racing , Flying Lizard Motorsports , SpeedSource , Performance Tech Motorsports , CORE autosport
Article type Preview
Tags alms, aston martin, auberlen, bmw, corvette, deltawing, ferrari, gavin, graf, hpd, magnussen, mazda, oreca, patron, porsche, smith, tucker, van overbeek, viper