IT'S A CROWDED ATOP ALMS' LMP2 POINTS STANDINGS Braselton, Ga. - Clint Field believes in old-time baseball pitcher Satchel Paige's advice: "Don't look back, something may be gaining on you." Field, the 22-year-old primary pilot in the No. 37...
IT'S A CROWDED ATOP ALMS' LMP2 POINTS STANDINGS
Braselton, Ga. - Clint Field believes in old-time baseball pitcher Satchel Paige's advice: "Don't look back, something may be gaining on you."
Field, the 22-year-old primary pilot in the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola, leads the class with 76 points. The Marion, Ohio, native has three wins in five starts, triumphing at Road Atlanta, Infineon and Portland, the latter two back-to-back.
But with four events to go on the ALMS calendar, including next week's Generac 500 at Road America (August 19-21), Field's advantage is far from safe.
Directly in his rear view mirror sits the duo of Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo in the No. 8 B-K Motorsports Mazda-powered Courage, tied with 65 points. Right behind them is the Miracle Motorsports twosome of Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry with 62. The standings are the same in the team championship.
Several other class titles are tight, as well. Courage leads Lola by 22 points in the chassis battle, and Goodyear is 18 points up on Kumho in the tire battle. The only race that isn't close is the engine battle. AER leads Mazda by 57 points and could clinch next week.
Bach may have an edge going into Road America. It's his home track, not too far down the road from his Saukville, Wis., hometown and the place where he began racing go-karts at age 8.
Whichever team grabs the upper hand at Road America will do so over the longest layout in the ALMS. Road America stretches out to just over four miles with 12 turns, one of the most demanding circuits, but one drivers enjoy.
"It's a great place for both the drivers and the cars," says Field, whose co-pilot Liz Halliday has been signed for the remainder of the year. "You can really let it out up there."
Bach and Cosmo, of West Palm Beach, Fla., are both newcomers to the ALMS this year, though Cosmo ran at Sebring in 2003. They've made five consecutive trips to the podium, with a win at Mid-Ohio, third-place finishes at Lime Rock and Infineon, and runner-up results at Portland and Road Atlanta.
"We hope that we're hitting our stride as the season moves into the home stretch," said Bach. "This is the time of year where all the teams forget about what might have happened earlier on and concentrate on the points that are there for the taking these last four races."
Bucknum and McMurry joined forces with John Macaluso for 2005 and might wonder "What if?" thus far. Fourteen points back of Field, and three behind Bach and Cosmo, the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage is still in the thick of the battle despite some surreal events that have befallen them thus far.
At Portland, Bucknum and McMurry held a sizable early-race lead only to see the car bow out with mechanical failure, knocking them down the podium into third position. At Mid-Ohio, the team was disqualified after Bucknum drove more than the allowable two hours for any one driver.
"We've had our share of unusual things happen to us, that's for sure," Bucknum said. "I just hope there's smooth sailing for us the rest of the way. Our car's certainly competitive enough to win the championship."
Field, Bach and Cosmo all feel the same way. Four races in the next 60 days will tell the story.
The Generac 500 at Road America, Round 7 of the 2005 ALMS, is set for 3 p.m. EDT Aug. 21 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel. Qualifying is scheduled for 2:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 20. American Le Mans Radio, and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.