MOWLEM PUTS AUTOCON UP FRONT DURING ALMS RACE AT ROAD AMERICA ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. (Aug. 22, 2010) -- Johnny Mowlem gave the AutoCon racing team its first lap in the front of an American Le Mans Series race this season when he led nearly an...
MOWLEM PUTS AUTOCON UP FRONT DURING ALMS RACE AT ROAD AMERICA
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. (Aug. 22, 2010) -- Johnny Mowlem gave the AutoCon racing team its first lap in the front of an American Le Mans Series race this season when he led nearly an hour of the race at Road America Sunday.
The race at Road America was Mowlem's first in the team's open-topped LMP class Lola, but he looked right at home while leading the race.
Mowlem vaulted from his fourth starting position to second place before the first corner of the first lap and then surged to the lead of the field before he'd completed half a lap around the four-mile long racing circuit. Mowlem was on the verge of pitting nearly an hour later when a mechanical problem slowed the car and hampered the team's effort.
"I had about three laps left to go in my stint and then I couldn't shift," Mowlem said. "The shift actuator bar was broken. I'm happy for myself but I hate it for the team. Although we had an advantage in straightaway speed, I was pleased to be able to run the same pace as those cars behind me by hustling the car as much as possible through the corners. It meant I was hanging on quite a bit in the fast corners and it also meant I had to maintain a very high level of concentration throughout the hour long stint."
There were two early-race full course caution periods while Mowlem led. The ensuing restarts gave other LMP competitors opportunities to get close to Mowlem, but on both occasions Mowlem fought off their attempts, even running side by side through two corners with the Dyson Lola, before pulling ahead from the challengers behind him.
"I had a challenge from Chris Dyson and another one from Simon Pagenaud, both of them very clean and sporting, and I kept the lead until I had the problem with three laps to go in my stint," Mowlem said.
The car eventually finished fifth in class.
Road America is among Mowlem's favorite circuits, having won there in the ALMS GT class in 2003. The AutoCon team is among the lesser-funded teams running in the high-tech racing atmosphere of the LMP class, but Mowlem said he went to Wisconsin thinking the team had a chance to show well.
"Secretly, I was quite optimistic," he said.
Mowlem will race with AutoCon in next week's race at Mosport in Canada.