PORTLAND, Ore., July 24, 2004 - Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing overcame ambient temperatures of 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) and cockpit temperatures inside the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in excess of 130 degrees to qualify fourth in GT class...
PORTLAND, Ore., July 24, 2004 - Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing overcame ambient temperatures of 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) and cockpit temperatures inside the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in excess of 130 degrees to qualify fourth in GT class for tomorrow's American Le Mans Portland Grand Prix. Craig Stanton, of Long Beach, Calif., qualified the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with a time of 1:14.525 (93.907 mph) around the 1.944-mile Portland Int'l Raceway road course in the mid-afternoon heat. This is the second weekend in a row that the 2003 Road America GT class winner has qualified the Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche and his second-straight top-four qualifying effort, the team's fifth top-five qualifying run of 2004. Stanton's time, just .851 seconds off the pole, was part of a string of six Porsche race cars separated by less than one second, demonstrating that the GT class of the ALMS will, again, be the race to watch on Sunday.
David Murry, of Cumming, Ga., will start the two hour, 45-minute race while Stanton will run the Michael Petersen-owned Porsche after the mid-race pit stop for fuel and new Michelin Pilot racing slicks. Murry and Stanton are eager to regroup and show themselves after a disappointing tenth-place finish in last week's Grand Prix of Sonoma where the team had qualified third.
Michael Petersen: "Our qualifying effort is not a true indication of what kind of race car we have. We had at least another half-second in the car which would have moved us up to second or third. Craig did his best but, ultimately, we ended-up qualifying fourth. We are ahead of the majority of our other competitors but not where we felt we should have been. I know the car will be better for the race and we'll be able to fight for the lead. We're looking forward to the race tomorrow. It's been quite hot and I have a feeling, if it is going to be this hot for the race, there will be a lot of overheating issues with other drivers. So we are hoping for a hot, sunny race and a chance to go out and show what we can do."
Dale White: "There are two strategies here. You can go to the front or drive a little more conservative pace. We've decided to charge a little harder this year. We have two of the strongest drivers in the No. 31 both physically and mentally. So, we are confident in their ability to get the job done. Our program has undergone a tremendous amount of growth and change the least several months, going all the way back to before the season started, and that is all coming together. I have a very good feeling about tomorrow."
(about qualifying): "We had a great day today in the Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche. We were expecting second, maybe to be on the pole today. But, the guys did an awesome job today with the No. 31 Porsche. The Michelins did a great job. It's hot today; it's really hot. The tires didn't give up at all. Portland is a great track and there are a lot of good road racing fans here. I see a lot of fans out here enduring the heat and I think that is just awesome. They should come back out here tomorrow and see a great race."
(about the heat):" I have trained and trained and trained for a day like this. I have no problem sitting in the car for an hour and 45-minutes, two hours. The cockpit temperature is 120 degrees in the pits but when you're out rolling around and all the hot air comes in off the cooler, I bet it jumps to 130-140. Basically, it's about reducing the amount of effort you put into the car. Where most everyone is doing two or three movements we are working to get down to one movement to get down to the apex [of the turn]. The smoother you can be in the car, the less you have to work, the more you can focus in on the traffic and strategy of the race. The better you do."