Alex Job Racing to Start Fourth, Fifth and Tenth at Long Beach in GTC Long Beach, Calif., Alex Job Racing (AJR) will start the American LeMans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prixfrom the fourth, fifth and tenth place...
Alex Job Racing to Start Fourth, Fifth and Tenth at Long Beach in GTC
Long Beach, Calif., Alex Job Racing (AJR) will start the American LeMans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prixfrom the fourth, fifth and tenth place starting positions in GTC fortomorrow's race.
In the morning's two hour practice session the AJR cars were trying toturn maximum laps as only three of the six drivers have ever raced inthe tight confines of the Long Beach circuit. The session was hamperedby six red flags, stopping the action to remove damaged race cars. Thetight 1.9-mile, 11-turn ocean side concrete lined circuit will require asteady hand during the 100-minute race tomorrow.
81 LB Qual. Butch Leitzinger took team honors in qualifying driving theNo. 81 Mission Foods/Alex Job Racing/Porsche GT3 911 Cup car to a timeof 1:24.288. The time, good for a second row starting position, willhave the car going away from the grid in fourth. Teamed with JuanGonzalez, the duo is looking to duplicate their Sebring 12 Hour win fromfour weeks ago.
"It is the continuation of my baptism by fire with the Porsche 911,"Leitzinger said. "At Sebring I was trying to take care of the car andhere I am trying to learn more about the car while keeping it off of thewalls. I am with a team that has no weak links, I am able toconcentrate just on what I am doing. I am not quite where I want to beyet, but it is coming. We have a very good car for the race and Juan isdoing a great job getting up to speed here. We will need to have somegood race-craft to have a good result. It is a tough, tough place topass and there will be a bunch of us on top of each other. We will alsohave fast traffic to deal with and we will need to take advantage ofevery opportunity. I think there will be a lot of argy-pargy tomorrow."
"Today was my first time ever at this track," Juan Gonzalez said. "Thismorning I did 37 laps without stopping. I was able to get faster andfaster and learn the circuit. The trick here is to keep the car cleanand away from the wall. You cannot afford to lose your concentration. This afternoon the crew improved the setup of the car making it easierto drive. For tomorrow we will be looking to have a clean race and stayout of trouble."
23 LB Qual. In the No. 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron/Alex JobRacing/Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry Romeo Kapudija qualified fifth with atime of 1:24.462. Kapudija and teammate Bill Sweedler made steadyprogress all day and were second fastest in the morning session.
"We have a little work to do with the car to get it handling a littlebetter," Kapudija said. "The car is binding up in the corner and thenyou get some snap oversteer, which causes us to get off of the throttleand then go back, costing valuable time. We need to dial the bindingout of the car at mid-apex. Bill and I will be good in the race. Wewill need to pass as many cars as possible. We need to run a good clean100-minutes tomorrow."
"I got about four hot laps in this morning, which were my very firsthere at Long Beach," Sweedler said. "There were a few red flags in thismorning's practice making it tough to get a rhythm and sort your brakingand turn in points with the starting-and-stopping of the session. Inthe afternoon practice I was able to get 15-minutes in the car, whichwas nice. Romeo and I are in the same ball park in terms of lap times.Consistency is what matters. I am looking forward to the race."
80 LB Qual Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez had a tough start to the day. Diaz went into Turn Nine on his first fast lap and the car veered intothe wall. The No. 80 Car Amigo/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 Cupsustained left front damage. In qualifying Diaz was able to come backand post a time of 1:26.771 that see the Mexican duo start from tenth.
"The time that we lost this morning really cost us quite a bit since webasically had no practice and we'll have to race tomorrow with verylimited experience with our Porsche at this track," Diaz said. "I wentout for morning practice and was just beginning my second lap when Iarrived at the braking zone for Turn Nine, the car just suddenly pulledto the left and I hit the wall. I'm not sure what happened, I had neverfelt something like that, but the important thing is that the team did agreat job and managed to fix the car perfectly. Obviously this isn'thow we wanted to start off the weekend but our goal has always been thechampionship and the priority tomorrow will be to stay out of troubleand finish the race so we can keep raking up the points."
"It was a really tough day, I didn't know this track and I was hoping toget at least an hour or more of practice so I could slowly get up tospeed and learn the track," Ricardo Gonzalez said. "But it ended upbeing the total opposite because I had to go out and immediately adapt. I focused just on the basic stuff and even though there is still a lotof time left in me, I am confident that in the race tomorrow we'll becompetitive and we can score points. From the very few laps I did Icould feel that we have a good car, it's a tough track but I'moptimistic for a good result tomorrow."
Alex Job, team owner, has his crew ready for the shortest and toughestrace of the season.
"We had a slight bobble this morning with the No. 80 car and Luis," Jobsaid. "It was a combination of dirty track and cold tires. The teamwas able to make the repairs and get the car perfect for the afternoonand qualifying. Butch is coming to grips with the 911. It is adifferent animal than he is used to driving. He and Juan are ready tohave a good run tomorrow. Romeo and Bill made steady progress all dayending the first practice session in second. We need to work on thehandling of the 23 a little more, but we will get it right for therace. Luis and Ricardo were robbed of track time this morning, but theytook a steady approach this afternoon and we were able to get them somegood laps in before qualifying. We will really need to be on our gamewith strategy and pit stops tomorrow."
The race will be televised live on the SPEED Channel starting at 8:00p.m. ET, Saturday, April 17. Live coverage will also be available onAmerican Le Mans Radio, as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel245. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much moreis available at www.americanlemans.com.