Laguna Seca: Gleason/Bunting race report

Gleason finishes eighth in GT Class Sunday at Laguna Seca MONTEREY, Calif., Sept. 7 -- Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa., and his teammate, Marc Bunting of Monkton, Md., recorded their fourth consecutive top-10 finish in the American Le Mans...

Gleason finishes eighth in GT Class Sunday at Laguna Seca

MONTEREY, Calif., Sept. 7 -- Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa., and his teammate, Marc Bunting of Monkton, Md., recorded their fourth consecutive top-10 finish in the American Le Mans Series' GT class Sunday in the Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The three blue Racers Group Porsches entered in the race all finished in the top 10 here, with Gleason and Bunting solidly in eighth place. The lead Racers Group Porsche was fifth in class and the team's other Porsche was tenth.

Bunting qualified tenth in class Saturday with the Porsche 911 GT3 RS #68, which is sponsored by Gleason Financial, Monster Cable, mail2web.com, Adobe Road Winery and rennlist.com.

There was very little attrition in the two-hour-and-45-minute race. Only four of the 34 starters failed to finish, despite a slippery track due to blowing sand and debris from many cars going on and off the course.

Bunting started the race and drove for the first hour and 34 minutes before he dipped into the pits for fresh tires, more fuel and to let Gleason take over. The team strategy was to try to only make one pit stop here, and it worked to perfection with Gleason and Bunting's effort.

"Marc did a great job; he had to avoid a couple of cars spinning right in front of him at the start," Gleason said afterwards. "He got up to fourth place at one point. Since we only made one stop, our tires were going away at the end but we still came in eighth, so that's good.

"This was my first time at this track. It's not a real technical track, but it's still challenging. Since this was a new track for me and after the mistake I made at Road America, I was just trying to stay out of trouble and not make any mistakes, and I did that," he added.

"The car ran well and was set-up well," he continued. "It was very driveable. The crew did a great job. Lars, the crew chief, is really a terrific guy; very professional.

"As the tires wore down and the fuel load got lighter it got harder and harder to try to hit the apexes, but everything turned out pretty well," Gleason summarized. "I'm real happy to finish in the points."

Only two ALMS races remain on the 2003 schedule. The next one is the Grand Prix Americas on the streets of Miami, Fla. on Saturday, Sept. 27. The season finale is the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Motor Sports Park in Braselton, Ga. on Saturday, Oct. 18. Both of those races will be broadcast live on SPEED.

Sunday's race was broadcast live on NBC.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Chris Gleason , Marc Bunting