Dyson Team Sweeps Elkhart Front Row Leitzinger Takes Pole With Record Run; Wallace is 2nd ELKHART LAKE, WI, August 21, 2004 -- If Butch Leitzinger was thinking about crashing after leading last year's American Le Mans Series race at Road ...
Dyson Team Sweeps Elkhart Front Row
Leitzinger Takes Pole With Record Run; Wallace is 2nd
ELKHART LAKE, WI, August 21, 2004 -- If Butch Leitzinger was thinking about crashing after leading last year's American Le Mans Series race at Road America, he didn't let it slow him one iota in qualifying for this year's race. Driving the same Dyson Racing Thetford / Norcold Lola that he and James Weaver used two weeks ago to win the ALMS race at Canada's Mosport track, the 35-year-old Pennsylvanian instead set a new track record in time trials for tomorrow's Elkhart Lake 500.
"The car's been fantastic," Leitzinger said after climbing from the car. He then expressed his enthusiasm for the classic four-mile road circuit. "It's really a great track."
This marked the fifth time in seven races this year that a Dyson car has won the pole, and the second time that the blue-and-white Thetford / Norcold Lolas have swept the front row.
Letizinger's time, 1:51.893 (130.25 mph), beat that of his Dyson Racing teammate, Andy Wallace, by more than six-tenths of a second, and the team's toughest competitor, the Champion Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner, by another seven-tenths. The time was set midway through the 20 minute qualifying session, just before the field was brought into the pits while track workers cleared debris from the back straightaway's high-speed kink.
Did Leitzinger know he was on a particularly quick lap when he set the pole-winning time? "No, I didn't," he said, noting that most drivers within a tenth or so of what their time will be on a given lap even before they see it come up on the car's dash. "This is a strange place that way. It's so long, and so much a momentum track, that it's hard to get within a second (of the time) in your head."
Leitzinger also credited teammate Weaver with setting up the car in practice this morning.
"We had problems yesterday, and we hardly got any time at all," Leitzinger noted, referring to engine problems that reduced their on-track time to four laps. "James did a great job this morning on the set-up. He gave me a pole-winning car; I'd have been in trouble if I hadn't," he said with a grin.
Leitzinger predicted a very close race on Sunday. "We seem to go faster in qualifying, but the Audi just goes the same pace in the race that they qualify. I think it's going to be a very interesting race."
Wallace, who won the pole at Portland ahead of Weaver, will share the team's #20 car with 2003 ALMS LMP-675 champion Chris Dyson. The Road America 500 begins at 1pm CDT and will be televised live on Speed TV.