Second place heartbreak for Muscle Milk Team CytoSport at Road America Road America podium Elkhart Lake, WI (August 22, 2010) - Muscle Milk Team CytoSport suffered one of the toughest types of heartbreak at Road America today when a second ...
Second place heartbreak for Muscle Milk Team CytoSport at Road America
Road America podium Elkhart Lake, WI (August 22, 2010) - Muscle Milk Team CytoSport suffered one of the toughest types of heartbreak at Road America today when a second overall victory slipped through their fingers with only two turns to go.
Graf had a five second lead heading into the final lap of the two hour and 45 minute event and it certainly looked like Muscle Milk Team CytoSport was on its way to making an ever more remarkable comeback following the team's testing accident at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago.
But a win was not meant to be for the Benicia, CA-based team when the Porsche RS Spyder began to run out of fuel as it headed into the final two corners of the race. With the Drayson Racing car so close behind, Graf had to sit helplessly as the LMP1 spec Lola swung past to take victory.
After a series of mid-race caution periods, the team elected to go into a one-stop, fuel economy race with a little less than one hour to go in the event following what became the final yellow of the day.
At the time, Graf had already been in the car for about 30 minutes. The Muscle Milk squad knew it was cutting it close, but with about five laps remaining Graf had no choice but to start pushing as his competitors in positions two through four were starting to close in on him.
Porsche racing at Road America Graf had picked up the lead on lap 40 when Dyson Racing pitted from first place under that same caution period. An earlier pit stop by the Muscle Milk crew put Graf in the position to take the lead when an excellent driver change and pit stop sent him out ahead of the Highcroft Racing car.
The German had taken over from his teammate for the weekend, Timo Bernhard who started the race. Despite falling from third to fifth at the start, behind cars with better straight-line speed, Bernhard kept his team in contention and his competitors in sight.
The Porsche ace regained a position on the first lap as he was able to get by eventual race winner Paul Drayson and had made his way up to second by the time he headed to pit lane for fuel, Michelin tires and a driver change.
Although the team feels the heartbreak of missing out on an overall victory by a few hundred yards, looking back to where they were two weeks ago makes it a very satisfying second place.
The podium finish gives the Muscle Milk squad a tenth top-three result in as many starts since last season. It also helps the team close the gap to 20 points to current Championship point leader Highcroft Racing.
Muscle Milk Team CytoSport will try to fight for the win again next weekend as it makes its Canadian debut at Mosport International Raceway August 27 - 29, 2010.
What they had to say:
Klaus Graf Headshot Klaus Graf, Driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
"Where do I start? What a race! Coming here we were talking about doing three stops and now we did it with one stop. Yes there were yellows but still it shows the efficiency of the Porsche RS Spyder.
"I had to use all my experience to make this happen. To save so much fuel, it's very, very difficult. You go so slow for a long time that you get completely get out of the rhythm and you have a lot of pick up on the tires and then suddenly with five laps to go they tell you, let's go and start pushing.
"I pushed like crazy and I tried to keep him (Johnny Cocker) behind, which looked really good going in the last lap but then I just started running out of fuel with two turns to go. I couldn't fight with him. It was impossible. But we'll take it, we gained some points in the championship and if you look where we were two weeks ago, this is pretty good.
"Thanks to the Muscle Milk crew they, like always, did an awesome job preparing the car, Brandon and the engineers, did a great job as well setting it up and working on our strategy.
"This was tough for everyone, it was very intense. I haven't looked at the dashboard that many times in my whole career!"
Timo Bernhard Headshot Timo Bernhard, driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
"It was a nice weekend to be here with Muscle Milk Team CytoSport. The team welcomed me really well and I got accustomed to them quickly. It's not always easy to come in for just one race weekend but that wasn't the case here.
"As for the race, there was nothing I could do on the start, the quicker cars on the straight overtook me. But afterwards I stayed in their reach for the first half of my stint. Then at the end I was starting to get a lot of oversteer but I still was able to make it to P2 before my stop.
"We then had a great driver change and pit stop and gained a position in the pits. Everything was going great from then on but unfortunately in the last corners we lost the win. It's tough to take but you have to see the positive side of it, the team gained a little bit back in the championship and with this fuel race we were having I think we can be proud of the outcome."
Geoffrey Carter Headshot Geoffrey Carter, Team Manager, #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
"Today was very exciting for the whole Muscle Milk Team CytoSport crew. Coming from where we were two weeks ago to executing a strategy that in the beginning we didn't know was possible is a testament to this team.
"As always, we ask Klaus to do all kinds of things! We usually ask him to go really fast all the time, but this time we asked him to conserve fuel accurately. Once we finally figured out that we could do it on one-stop, we committed to that strategy.
"It's always a bit disappointing when an endurance race comes down to fuel economy but today the Muscle Milk guys did a great job.
"And thanks to Timo, his first effort with the team was great. It's disappointing to end a race like that so close to the win but in the end it is satisfying to take home another podium finish for Greg."
-source: team cytosport