Dayton and Field's Intersport Lola ...
Dayton and Field's Intersport Lola #37 Finishes Fourth in Top Class Monday at Lime Rock Park Despite Mechanical Woes
LIME ROCK, Conn., July 5 - Duncan Dayton of North Salem, N.Y. and Jon Field of Dublin, Ohio collected a fourth-place finish in the top class, LMP 1, Monday in the New England Grand Prix American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at Lime Rock Park. The effort was hampered by a fluke problem, as the gearshift cable melted in their Intersport Racing Lola B160 Judd #37 around lap 50 in the 165-lap, two-hour-and-45-minute race.
Field qualified fourth in the car, which is sponsored by Marquis Financial Services, Goodyear and Highcroft Racing. Since this race is close to Dayton's home, Field let his teammate start the race, which was televised live on SPEED.
On lap one Dayton immediately passed the car that eventually finished third for that position, but raindrops started to fall as the green flag dropped.
Those drops turned into a heavier rain, and Dayton spun on his Goodyear slicks between West Bend and the downhill portion of the 1.54-mile road course on lap two. Luckily he didn't hit anything, but he had to wait until the rest of the 27-car field filed by before he could rejoin it at the rear.
He came in for rain tires on lap six and then the weather improved. He was already back up to tenth overall when the Intersport crew brought Dayton in again for slicks on lap 15. That put him back to 17th, but he steadily marched through the field yet again and he ran most of the rest of his stint in seventh place overall, three laps down.
Around lap 50 he noticed some issues with the car's gearbox. First he lost the paddle shifter, and then he lost various gears even manually. He did his best to hang on with only third gear before the crew called him in to make repairs on the leader's lap 75.
After further examination they decided to race again another day. Field never got to drive during the race, and the entry finished fourth in class and 24th overall with 72 laps complete.
Clint Field and Mike Durand also had problems. The younger Field started the race in the team's LMP2 entry, the Intersport Lola B3K/40 Judd #30 sponsored by Marquis Financial Services and Pirelli. He was leading the class by lap eight. Durand got in the car on lap 44, but his race came to a violent halt when a suspension piece broke and sent him into various walls on lap 61. Luckily he escaped unhurt. That entry ended up fifth in LMP2 and 25th overall with 55 laps complete.
The ADT/Champion Audi #38 of J.J. Lehto and Marco Werner won over the Dyson Lola #16 of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger and the Dyson Lola #20 of Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace.
The LMP2 class went to the Miracle Motorsports Lola Nissan of John Macaluso, Ian James and James Gue over the Race Car Company Lola Millington of Andy Lally and Ryan Eversley and Team Bucknum's Pilbeam Nissan driven by Jeff Bucknum, Chris McMurry and Bryan Wilman.
The next American Le Mans Series race is scheduled for July 18 at Infineon (Sears Point) Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
For more information see www.intersportracing.com, www.americanlemans.com and www.restartcommunications.com.
Driver quotes follow:
Dayton: "All I knew was that all I had was third gear. The guys brought me in to look at it and discovered that the shifter cable had melted.
"We've gone through the whole gearbox so many times, and to have one little piece fail is so aggravating.
"I got off to a great start; I had moved into third. Then I spun in the rain between West Bend and the Downhill. I almost did a complete 360 and kept it going, but instead I ended up facing backwards and had to let the whole field go by. Luckily I didn't hit anything and the car was OK. Then the paddle shift started to act up and then eventually all I had was third gear manually.
"The track isn't too bad; the traffic is normal."
Durand: "The suspension broke; the pushrod on an A arm. It happened at West Bend. You're going about 120 there. At first I thought maybe somebody had hit me, but instead it was that the suspension broke. The car dropped to the ground and I hit a little bit of everything; tire walls, Armco, everything. I was lucky; all I got was a scrape under my chin."