Petersen/ White Lightning Targets ALMS Championship with Portland Grand Prix PORTLAND, Ore., July 22, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing comes into Sunday's American Le Mans Portland Grand Prix targeting the 2004 American Le...
Petersen/ White Lightning Targets ALMS Championship with Portland Grand Prix
PORTLAND, Ore., July 22, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing comes into Sunday's American Le Mans Portland Grand Prix targeting the 2004 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) team championship. The No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by David Murry (Cumming, Ga.) and Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) currently sits second in the IMSA Cup standings for privateer race teams just 23 points back from the leading team. Murry and Stanton, who have taken two podium finishes, a fifth and a tenth in the first four races of the season, are fourth in the drivers' standings with 41 points while the Michael Petersen-owned effort has contributed to Porsche and Michelin dominance in the manufacturers' battles. Portland, a track that every member of the Las Vegas-based crew knows well, plays perfectly into the team's strategy to win the title. The race marks the mid-point of the season and starts the sprint to the title. It also is the culmination of a string of four races in five weeks that have separated the lesser prepared teams from those that have organized for the long-haul. Petersen-White Lightning, with a history of domination in off-road competition, has been organized to meet the unique challenges of endurance racing and the difficult back-to-back schedule of the ALMS. Now, despite a damaged race car at the most recent race in Sonoma, Calif. which dropped the car from third to tenth, is the time that the team's preparations and 'never say die' attitude is beginning to pay-off.
The Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche has long been considered a threat for race victories. However, because of the focus on major events alone, the Dale White-managed team has never attempted a full-out assault on the GT title. Now, in one of the most competitive GT seasons of all-time, the program is threatening to take the championship. With 100 points left to earn in the remaining five races of the season, Petersen/ White Lightning is poised to make its move for the title. While the team has competed in select ALMS races- including a GT class victory at last year's Road America 500, six podium finishes, 13 top-fives and 29 top-tens in 31 starts- since 1999, the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans GT champions have never attempted a full season chase for the title.
The two hour, 45-minute race at Portland International Raceway's (PIR) 1.944-mile, 12-turn road course, is the fifth race in the nine-race ALMS schedule. The American Le Mans Portland Grand Prix will be start at 1 pm (PDT) on Sunday, July 25th. Live SPEED Channel coverage can be seen at 4 pm (EDT).
Dale White: "We're here to win races and to win the championship. Mike and I decided last season when we came so close to the title, despite not running in three races, that we wanted to come back and win Le Mans and the ALMS GT titles in the same year. So we are putting everything we have into that right now. Everyday I get up figuring out new ways to continue to raise the bar. We have won Le Mans, now we need to keep charging for the championship. That's what this team is all about and that is what we are all here working to do."
David Murry: "I am very motivated going to Portland after running so well at Sears Point but having a disappointing finish. We finally have a little better understanding of what the car wants. Portland is such a gorgeous place. When you come down the back straight you see Mt. Hood in the distance every lap. I always try to get to the coast for some of their famous Dungeness crab and see the incredible coastline. It's going to be a great race."
Craig Stanton: "I'm glad to come-up with another back-to-back weekend. Coming from Sonoma we found some momentum, some speed, which I believe will carry over to race day at Portland. I have always liked Portland. I like the track, I like the town and there are a lot of race fans that love road racing here. The layout of the track lends itself to tight, close racing which is always good for the fans. Porsche has, traditionally, always been a strong car here and should show well on Sunday. I had some interaction with a lot of the fans on Tuesday in downtown and there seems to be a lot of excitement and attention given to the race on Sunday."
For more, please visit www.petersenmotorsports.com.