Petersen/ White Lightning Closes ALMS Season with Rainy Top-Ten MONTEREY, Calif. October 16, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing entered the final American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race of the season today in a four-hour...
Petersen/ White Lightning Closes ALMS Season with Rainy Top-Ten
MONTEREY, Calif. October 16, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing entered the final American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race of the season today in a four-hour endurance event around the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The day would be a disappointment for the Michael Petersen-owned team that came to the Monterey Peninsula hoping to take their seventh podium and first win of the ALMS season. They would finish sixth in GT, 13th overall. Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) started the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in fourth position however, a poorly handling race car dropped the car as low as ninth at one point. Stanton began working the White Lightning Racing-prepared Porsche back up through the field bringing the car in at the one hour, 26-minute mark in fifth position. David Murry (Cumming, Ga.) took over driving duties and charged to fourth in his middle stint.
With one hour and ten minutes remaining and dark falling on the tight, fast and hilly course, Stanton again got behind the wheel of the No. 31 Porsche. With 20-minutes reaming, rain pounded the track as Stanton fought for a podium finish. Petersen, team manager Dale White and crew chief Stefan Pfeiffer left the final decision to Stanton whether to stop for rain tires or remain on the dry-weather Michelins. Stanton opted to remain on the tread-less tires hoping to gain a lap on the competition as they pitted for rain tires. However, the track went back to green one lap too early for the team and Stanton was not able to hold back the competition on the rain soaked surface. The team would fall to sixth despite an incredible effort by the Petersen crew and a heroic drive in the rain by Stanton.
The top-ten finish, the team's ninth in the nine-race season, locked second in the GT IMSA Cup competition for privateer race teams. In the season-long team standings, the Las Vegas-based race team finished third while Murry and Stanton took fifth in the driver championship. Standings will be final with the ALMS Awards Banquet on Sunday, Oct. 17.
The race can be seen on a one day delayed TV broadcast on NBC at noon (ET), Sunday, October 17th.
David Murry: "It's a bittersweet ending to the Petersen/ White Lightning 2004 season. We podiumed in all but three races this year and this is one of them. Craig did an awesome job. I did the middle stint and he got back in at the end. It started raining and the team elected to keep him on slicks hoping to gain some positions and possibly finish on the podium. If it had gone with the yellows we needed it to go we could have done that. But we ended-up in sixth. Still, it's an awesome team for trying to find ways to win races."
Craig Stanton: "The Petersen/ White Lightning team did a really good job this weekend. We all worked really well together. We came away with not as good a finish as we are normally used to. We made a gamble at the end not putting on wets with the idea that we could possibly go up a lap and it didn't pay off today. The rain came so quick and I have never raced at Laguna in the rain. There are areas that have more grip than others and you just have to search until you find them. The last lap I was starting to increase my speed. I did spin coming onto the front straight once and learned from that. It wasn't too bad in the dark. The lights were bad with the traffic coming on from behind. Looking at the whole year it was a brilliant year for the Petersen/ White Lightning team. I am very proud to be associated with these guys for a second year. It is inspiring to drive for a team that is so committed to doing what it takes to win races."
For more, please visit www.petersenmotorsports.com.