Portland: Petersen/White Lightning preview

Petersen/ White Lightning Enters Portland Saturday Night Special PORTLAND, Ore., July 27, 2005 -- Saturday night racing has long been a mainstay of American motorsports. On July 30th, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing will help...

Petersen/ White Lightning Enters Portland Saturday Night Special

PORTLAND, Ore., July 27, 2005 -- Saturday night racing has long been a mainstay of American motorsports. On July 30th, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing will help blaze new territory in that great tradition as the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) holds its first-ever, Saturday night, primetime sports car race. With the tooth-and-nail battles that the GT2 class has provided this season, the two hour and 45-minute sports car race at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway (PIR) promises to heat things up in true Saturday night fashion. Making the event on the 1.944-mile, 12-turn facility even more important is that it starts the final sprint to the ALMS championship, only five races away, for the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Drivers Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) currently sit tied at the top of the ALMS GT2 driver standings while the Las Vegas-based team holds an 11 point lead in the entrant standings. With 109 points available, the battle is still very much up for grabs.

The Michael Petersen-owned team enters the Grand Prix of Portland with a chain of five-consecutive ALMS GT2 class podium finishes. The string, more than any other team in the class, includes the season-opening victory at the prestigious Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, four straight second-place finishes, two pole positions and a dominating five IMSA Cups, awarded to the highest finishing privateer entrant in each class. The only misstep to this point all season was a third in the second race of the season at Road Atlanta. In what is widely considered the most competitive class in the ALMS, the No. 31 took the point lead at the first race and has not relinquished. In all, the team has run six races in 2005 including the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO)- sanctioned 24 Hours of Le Mans where it also finished second in class. The Grand Prix of Portland marks the team's third race at Portland since joining the ALMS. It holds two six-place finishes (2000 and 2001) and took third after leading late in the going last season.

The Portland Grand Prix can be seen live on SPEED on Saturday, July 30th at 8 PM (EDT). Live timing and scoring for all sessions as well as the Petersen Paddock Cam presented by Firetide can be viewed at www.AmericanLeMans.com.

Quotes--

Mike Petersen, owner/ driver: "With Portland on the horizon we are looking forward to improving upon our position from last year. We are in the thick of things for the points chase. This track has been good for the team and we look to avenge our bad luck from the last race. We had a car that was fast enough to win it but bad luck got us! I hope that the weather is not as warm as last year, but whatever the case, the team will be ready to get the job done and step up to the top spot. These really are the best group of guys out there!"

Dale White, team manager: "We're doing everything just like we have all season. We're going after race wins. We are now firmly into the second-half of the season so a lot of teams are looking at the points. That's important to us too but we want to win races. We aren't going to figure out just where we need to run to stay at the top of the championship and run there. That isn't what this team is about. The whole team has come together and is very focused on trying to win every race from here through Monterey. We had a close call at Sonoma that could have easily hurt us but the team fought back to take second-place. Almost anyone else would have melted down and just tried to soldier home to keep the championship lead, arguing with one-another the whole way. We stepped up and performed as a team. I think it was obvious in how Jorg and Patrick were running that they weren't in cruise mode. We were going after the top step. That has always been our philosophy and always will be!"

Patrick Long, driver: "The strategy remains the same--to try and push for wins. Portland, for me, is a great city with great fans. The track is tight so traffic and car setup become big issues. There's a new "Festival Chicane" so that will be interesting to see how the car accepts the new surface and layout. I'm excited about getting there and trying to put the Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche back on the top-step of the podium!"

More on Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing can be found at www.PetersenMotorsports.com. Learn more about Porsche at www.Porsche.com.

-pm/wlr-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Michael Petersen