Sears Point: Petersen/White Lightning preview

Petersen/ White Lightning Starts ALMS West Coast Swing SONOMA, Calif., July 14, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) saga makes the year's first west coast swing this weekend with a stop at ...

Petersen/ White Lightning Starts ALMS West Coast Swing

SONOMA, Calif., July 14, 2004 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) saga makes the year's first west coast swing this weekend with a stop at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma marks the theoretical midpoint of a string of seven races in 11 weeks that the Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has or will have competed in. The hectic schedule started with the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 12-13 and immediately moved to the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio 2 hour, 45-minute sprint race on June 27th. The following weekend David Murry (Cumming, Ga.) and Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) again drew the full measure of the Porsche at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. Now, after the journey across country, the No. 31 team will again start back-to-back events with the two hour, 45-minute event in Sonoma and the same length event on July 25th at Portland International Raceway (PIR) 600 miles up the west coast.

In the course of the events, Petersen/ White Lightning has a GT class win at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, two podium finishes (thirds at both the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring and Mid-Ohio shows) and a fifth-place most recently at Lime Rock. The White Lightning Racing-prepared Porsche is second in IMSA Cup championship points for privateer entrants in the ALMS GT class. With three series' events behind them Murry and Stanton are tied for third in GT drivers points three points out of second and 12 markers out of the lead. There are a total of six ALMS races remaining of the nine that make-up the 2004 season. The year will close with a six hour race at the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 16.

The event is a return home for several members of Petersen/ White Lightning. Owner Michael Petersen was born in Southern California and splits his time between the Golden State and Las Vegas. Craig Stanton was born in Hollywood and lives in Long Beach. Crew chief Stefan Pfeiffer is a native of Germany and lives in Croatia but spent several years in California while working for Cal Wells' PPI Racing team in off-road, Indy Car and NASCAR competition. Longtime team engineer Harry Haggard lives in Palos Verdes Estates and flies his historic Air Force biplane out of Torrance. Data acquisition specialist Joe Hullett lives in Aliso Viejo. Technician Nico Castellaccio was born in San Francisco, lives in Tracy and works on exotic cars in the Bay area while not on the ALMS circuit.

Sunday's Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma will be broadcast live on CBS starting at 3 pm (EDT). The American Le Mans Portland Grand Prix will air on SPEED, July 27th at 4 pm (EDT).

Mike Petersen, team owner/ driver: "After a disappointing last race that I had to watch on TV I know that our luck will change. This is a favorite place of all of ours. We are looking forward to the competition there as it should be exciting for everyone! We will be very focused on the car set up as this track is all about handling. This weekend is very special for me as it is my Mum's birthday and her first race to attend in quite awhile. My son is also making an appearance for the fist time in quite a while so I will be very excited to see his reaction to things as he too is very into cars at such a young age! We are having many friends and family for this one so we better bring the 'A' game. I can hardly wait to get there! There will also be a very special surprise for my Mum as I am sure she will be very pleased!"

Dale White, team manager: "A string of back-to-back races and races on opposite ends of the country is always tough. Logistically, we have it all figured-out but you can't buy the rest for the team or the time to prepare the car that you would like to have. NASCAR runs back-to-back weekends all the time, that is their rule, not the exception. But, they have specific cars for each track and a group of guys at the shop preparing the next car to roll out. We don't have that luxury in sports car racing. We have the Porsche that we have raced in three of four events this year and that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So, you really have to have a top-notch team that is here to work. We have that at Petersen/ White Lightning. The guys, not just Mike, Craig, David and I, but the whole team has to want to win and they have to want to work for it. I am confident that these next four races in six weeks will run as smoothly as Le Mans did when we had a month to prepare."

David Murry: "Sears Point is one of those driver tracks that you look forward to coming to every year. It has such elevation change, blind corners and a rhythm like no other. It is very challenging and one of the best circuits in the world. The area is also great to visit and that's why I am bringing my family to this race."

Craig Stanton: "I'm really going to enjoy this west coast loop. For once everyone is coming to me instead of me going to them. I don't even have to change my watch. I love Sonoma. I won one of my first races there so every time I go back it reminds me of my start. I also like that every time I come back the track is a little different. Something has always been changed and improved. It's always all for the fans, all for safety and good for the racing. Petersen/ White Lightning really started to build momentum here last year and I feel really, really good that we will do that again this year."

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Murry , Craig Stanton , Michael Petersen , Aliso Viejo