Portland: Petersen/White Lightning race report

Petersen/ White Lightning Returns to GT Podium at Portland PORTLAND, Ore., July 25, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing returned to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT class podium today in the most exciting race of the...

Petersen/ White Lightning Returns to GT Podium at Portland

PORTLAND, Ore., July 25, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing returned to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT class podium today in the most exciting race of the season to-date. David Murry, Cumming, Ga., started the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche fourth on the Portland International Raceway (PIR) grid in round-five of the ALMS season and began cutting into the lead immediately. A lap 31 strategy call-- 40 minutes into the two-hour, 45-minute sports car race-- by owner Michael Petersen, team manager Dale White and crew chief Stefan Pfeiffer, moved Murry into the lead. The strategy left the Petersen/ White Lightning and the No. 45 Porsches on the top lap. Murry gained time on second-place until pitting on lap 62 (1:20 into the race) where he handed driving duties over to Craig Stanton, Long Beach, Calif., who returned to the race in sixth position. Stanton then began to push the 24 Hours of Le Mans GT-winning car back towards the front where he would do battle with the No.45.

Pit strategy again would play a role in the events of the day as Stanton worked back into the lead shortly after the start of the second hour. The call came to conserve fuel forcing Stanton to slow to make it to the finish of the event without an additional stop. The No. 31 fell to second with 15-minutes to go. Stanton pushed the Porsche and the Michelin tires as hard as they could go before the No. 45, on four-lap fresher Michelin tires, was able to sneak around with ten minutes to go to take second. Stanton crossed the line in third to take the team's third, third-place and fourth top-five of the season.

quotes...

Dale White: "The competition here was close all week, just like last week in Sonoma. Petersen/ White Lightning is very, very close to where we want to be. We're running at the front each week and that puts us in the place to win. We definitely played the strategy today. We made a good call early on by not pitting on that first stop and it paid-off. That call got us to the front without wearing-out the equipment and we ran there much of the day. This is the best racing you'll find anywhere. The GT field is catching-up to Alex and we're bringing our style of fight to the front. The status quo in GT is changing and we are proud to be a part of the chargers. Anyone that isn't charging is going to get left behind and I am happy to see that."

David Murry: "I'm glad to be on the podium at Portland but the third-place was bittersweet. We led the race and had a shot at the win but the Lizard guys seemed to have a little better set-up for once the tires lost grip. The good news is we were in the battle today. So, we'll go to Mosport and hopefully kick it up a notch. At the start, in the tight 'Festival Turns', you get down to first gear because the start stacks up. I got between the right-hander and left--hander and there was a P2 car that hit the brakes and slowed down dramatically. The 23 car did the same directly in front of me and I ended-up bumping the 23 car. It wasn't substantial. I am sorry that happened but it is a pretty tight race. We ran third for awhile and I was pretty content to run there. I could run with them without any problem. I was just biding my time because I didn't want to fight with the 43 car (second-place at the time) and let the 24 car get away. The 24 car's tires started to go-away so Lucas (driver of the 43) and I got around him. Then we took the lead when everyone else dove into the pits and we stayed for the wave-by."

Craig Stanton: "Starting-off, David did a fabulous job. The Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning team is implementing a plan that started paying-off about two races ago. I am really proud of Dale and Mike and all the guys. They have really stepped up and the podium shows that. A couple of things I learned out there will make me a better driver in the future and we learned some strategy things that will help the whole team. The Michelin tires have a working life of something in the range of one hour and we were exceeding an hour and a half. They gave us a great tire every session but sometimes we expect too much from physics. The plan here is coming to fruition. I want to thank all the Petersen/ White Lightning guys and all the fans at Portland International Raceway."

For more, please visit www.petersenmotorsports.com.

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Murry , Craig Stanton , Michael Petersen