Road America: Petersen/White Lightning race report

Petersen/ White Lightning Comes from Early Race Hit to Take Second at Road ELKHART LAKE, Wisc., Aug. 22, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing rode the highest of highs and lowest of lows here today in the American Le Mans Series...

Petersen/ White Lightning Comes from Early Race Hit to Take Second at Road

ELKHART LAKE, Wisc., Aug. 22, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing rode the highest of highs and lowest of lows here today in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Road America 500. David Murry, Cumming, Ga., started the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR third on the GT grid for the two hour and 45-minute race but moved to the lead quickly taking the top spot in the first two turns. However, the glory of those moves was suddenly striped away when, on the fifth turn, he was spun to the back of the field by a GTS-class car forcing an ill-timed pass. Murry fought from behind and moved back to fifth in class by the one-hour mark. 15 minutes later, he pulled the No. 31 Porsche into pit lane handing the driving chores over to Craig Stanton of Long Beach, Calif. Stanton, who qualified the Porsche for the Michael Petersen-owned team, immediately picked-up the banner where Murry had handed it off and continued the pursuit of the leaders.

By the second hour, Stanton-- who won the 2003 Road America 500 GT class for Petersen/ White Lightning-- had the Michelin-shod car up to third. However, an electrical short in the pit-to-car radio caused an interruption in communications leaving Stanton unable to hear from the Dale White-led team. This came to head when a second full course caution flew, which would allow the team to pit for front Michelins and fuel. At the last minute, just before the green flew, the radio worked long-enough calling Stanton to drop into pit lane for superior service from the Petersen/ White Lightning crew. Stanton drove hard on the restart gaining second position in a three-car battle for first. He held there until the checkered flag earning the team its second, second-place in as many race and its third-straight podium. It is the team's fifth podium in seven races.

The runner-up spot earned the Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing team its third IMSA Cup award- given to the highest-finishing privateer team- of the season. They continue to sit second in the pursuit of the season-long IMSA Cup standings but closed on the leader with two races remaining. Murry and Stanton continued to close on the driver title as well sitting in fourth, one point behind Jorg Bergmeister.

The team will now have three weeks off before heading to Road Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans endurance event on September 25th.


Dale White, team manager: "This was a rollercoaster event. We started third, moved immediately to the led, were hit, fell to the back of the pack, fought our way back into the top-five, had radio problems and still came home with a second. This Petersen/ White Lightning team just stuck with it. I am so proud of these guys; they never gave up! It was exciting to come so close at the end. We have shown we have what it takes, we just need to keep working at it and we will win one of these. This was a good day for the whole the team."

David Murry: "It's really nice to come out of the box swinging. We got into second place by turn one, by turn three I took the lead. By turn-five the Viper was going a little slow so I passed him and had a gap on the factory cars. The Viper was kind of impatient and re-passed me. I tried to go a little wide to give him some room but he still ran me into the grass and spun me around. So we went from first to dead last. I just kept my head down and kept driving hard. We were running pretty well. We waited until the fuel light came on. We went as far as we could possibly go. The guys did a great pit stop and that got us back up. Craig did a great job and we ended-up finishing second which, if you had told me we were going to do at the end of the first lap, I never would have believed you. The first lap looked good and the last lap looked good and that is all that matters, right?"

Craig Stanton: "It was a great day today. The Petersen/ White Lightning team did just an awesome job on the No. 31 Porsche. The Michelin tires held in their all day which allowed us to get the full fuel load out of the car and that made a big difference. We fought and we fought and we fought. Each and every person on the team fought like a winner. I was proud of them all the way along. They have fought since we arrived here. David had a little problem with the Viper but then he came back. He did a great stint to come from dead last to fifth. I hopped in and Dale and Stefan (Pfeiffer, crew chief) made some very impressive calls in the pits which moved the car forward. The way the weekend went was such a smooth, smooth effort. Everybody on the team is just a racer from their heart which I really enjoy! This was just a great team effort and I am so proud to be a part of Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing."

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Murry , Jörg Bergmeister , Craig Stanton , Michael Petersen
Teams HART