Road Atlanta: Chris Gleason qualifying notes

Gleason says consistency will be vital in tomorrow's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 11 - Chris Gleason says his goal for tomorrow's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is consistency more than speed. Gleason, of Johnstown, Pa.,...

Gleason says consistency will be vital in tomorrow's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 11 - Chris Gleason says his goal for tomorrow's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is consistency more than speed.

Gleason, of Johnstown, Pa., will be behind the wheel of one of only two BMWs entered in the Petit Le Mans when the American Le Mans Series season finale gets underway tomorrow morning.

It's a long race. The distance is 1,000 miles or 10 hours, whichever comes first, although in all the previous runnings of this race the 1,000-mile mark was reached before the 10-hour time limit.

The race starts at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time and will be televised live on SPEED Channel beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern.

On Friday afternoon Gleason qualified 14th in the GT class in the Alegra Motorsports BMW M3 #10. In his fastest lap of qualifying, he took 1:29.272 to travel over the 2.54-mile road course.

Endurance racing star Boris Said qualified the other BMW in the field in 16th place in the class. That car, #40, is a team car to the one Gleason is driving.

Gleason's co-drivers here are Emil Assentato of Locust Valley, N.Y. and Nick Longhi of Nyack, N.Y. This same trio finished on the podium in the GT class at a six-hour event in Watkins Glen, N.Y. in June in the same BMW.

"We came in and made a change today that really helped in qualifying," Gleason noted. "We tightened up the rear end, which allowed me to get on the throttle earlier. We're going in the right direction now, but we're about 40 to 50 horsepower short and we just get killed on the straightaways.

"We'll try to run consistent laps tomorrow in the 1:30s, and we'll try to do them comfortably," Gleason added. "It's important to have a car that is comfortable to drive here, because endurance is more important than overall speed in this race. You can't throw the car around; you have to save your equipment.

"We'll try to stay out of trouble and we'll try to have good pit strategy too. That's the plan.

"Our car still has a little more speed to get out of it, but we're doing the best we can with outdated equipment," Gleason added. "This is a real quality field. But it's a long race, and if we can finish it we'll do well. Consistency is what is most important. "

Although Gleason will start the race, the team has not yet determined its driver rotation.

"All three of us will probably do one stint first and then we'll start doubles, but that could change," Gleason noted. "I think Nick might go second, but that really hasn't been finalized."

Gleason added that the weather during qualifying was beautiful.

"It doesn't matter if it rains though," he said. "That might even help us, because I don't mind racing in the rain."

In addition to the live TV coverage, the American Le Mans Series Radio Web will also provide live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

-cg/lm-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Boris Said , Emil Assentato , Chris Gleason