Road America: Petersen/White Lightning preview

Petersen/ White Lightning Likes Line-up of Final Three ALMS Races ELKHART LAKE, Wisc., Aug. 17, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing is the defending GT class champions for Sunday's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Road America 500.

Petersen/ White Lightning Likes Line-up of Final Three ALMS Races

ELKHART LAKE, Wisc., Aug. 17, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing is the defending GT class champions for Sunday's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Road America 500. That would make any team confident going into the Elkhart Lake, Wisc. race. However, the Michael Petersen-owned effort feels that not only does round-seven of the nine-race ALMS season bode well for the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, but so do the two races which follow it. The picturesque 4.048-mile, 12-turn Wisconsin road course is the perfect place for Petersen/ White Lightning to continue its pursuit of the 2004 IMSA Cup for privateer race teams in the ALMS and the drivers' title for team shoes David Murry (Cumming, Ga.) and Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) .

Murry and Stanton have stood on the GT podium in the last two ALMS races-- a second most recently at Mosport, a third at Portland-- and have taken podium positions at four of the six ALMS races held this season. Their Michelin-shod Petersen Porsche has also taken podium finishes in the two endurances races-- events four hours or longer-- the team has competed at in 2004. Included in that tally is a win at the non-ALMS sanctioned 24 Hours of Le Mans and a third at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Previous endurance success, for a team which got its start dominating the grueling off-road world of desert racing, includes a GT win at the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans and a second at both the 2003 12 Hours of Sebring and the 2002 Petit Le Mans. A third last season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca-- sight of this year's season closing four-hour race-- strengthens the teams' hopes of success at the Monterey, Calif. track as well. All of this has them feeling very upbeat going into these final three races of Road America, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

In the closing stages of the ALMS point chase, Petersen/ White Lightning continues to close on its rivals. Finishing second at Mosport shrunk the gap in the GT class IMSA Cup points by five markers leaving the Las Vegas-based team only 23 points out of first. Murry and Stanton are tied for fourth in the GT drivers' contest 27 points behind the leader and only two arrears of second. 69 points are up for grabs in the final three races of the season.


Michael Petersen, owner/driver: "Last year at Road America was our first win in the ALMS. We beat the factory, as we all knew that we could, but it sure was tough! It was a great feeling to look at the guys' faces and see the satisfaction as we all had worked so hard. We had been close so many times. This year is quite different. We've had what I feel is the best setup car at the last few races. Those who think otherwise had better stay up all night and get it figured out as we'll be on the podium several more times this year. The team is just on fire right now. If we could just get some luck, look out! The rest of the season should be good."

Dale White, team manager: "Road America has been a very good track for us. We won our first Trans-Am race there and we won our first ALMS race there. It is a tough track to call strategy because fuel mileage plays a huge part. The track is the longest we run on in the ALMS and only second to Le Mans that we race on all year. With the elevation changes and long straights, it really plays games with the fuel. But, you know that going in and you adapt your strategy to it. This whole team is really coming together right now, we all are very confident. I have never seen the confidence so high with a team. We just need to break through and grab a win this season so we can really make things happen."

David Murry, driver: "Each track we go to has its own unique characteristic. Road America is such a gorgeous place and the track itself is a real road course. It is probably the fastest track in the country; smooth pavement and very challenging. It has very long brake zones and many are downhill, taxing the brake system. Porsche is known for their brakes so it helps us. There is also the famous 'Kink' turn that really makes you step up to the plate as a driver. It has eaten many racecars in the past. The area is great and I always have to have a bratwurst... after the race is over of course. I used to come to Road America a lot when I taught for Skip Barber Racing School which has a base here. It feels like home."

Craig Stanton, driver: "We've had some good success at Road America. I like the track being so high speed. There are a lot of elements to the track that really make the driver think about strategy as well as setup. There are high speed turns, low speed turns and the braking zones are always really intriguing. If you've been around Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing you've noticed a big difference in the morale and the focus of the whole operation. We're not taking anything for granted. I am looking forward to being a part of a team so focused going into an event. I feel really optimistic and really confident. Traditionally there are a lot of race fans here and I think they will remember us from last year. The race on Sunday should be very, very entertaining with lots of good quality competition."

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Murry , Skip Barber , Craig Stanton , Michael Petersen
Teams HART