Sears Point: Petersen/White Lightning race report

SONOMA, Calif., July 18, 2004 - The No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR again showed strength finishing tenth in GT class at Infineon Raceway. The tenth-place finish was not indicative of the team's performance in...

SONOMA, Calif., July 18, 2004 - The No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR again showed strength finishing tenth in GT class at Infineon Raceway. The tenth-place finish was not indicative of the team's performance in today's Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma, the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Craig Stanton, Long Beach, Calif, qualified the Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Porsche third in GT class and started the Porsche for the Michael Petersen-owned team.

In what was one of most competitive battles of the year, Stanton raced nose-to-tail with the GT class leading Nos. 23 and 24 Porsches in the early going reminding all of what team won the 24 Hours of Le Mans GT class the past two years. However, as the top-four Porsches ran in sequence, tenths of a second apart, Stanton made contact with the No. 24 Porsche on lap 18 (30 minutes into the two hour, 45-minute race) at the entrance to the hairpin-turn while racing for second-place in class. The car suffered driver-side radiator damage forcing a complete radiator change and fluid refill. The team showed the depth of the team returning the No. 31 Porsche to the race on lap 30 (approximately 25 minutes later). Stanton repaid the team's effort by immediately turning lap times competitive with the leaders.

David Murry, Cumming, Ga., took over driving chores on lap 53 in 11th position. The team moved back into the GT top ten with approximately 50-minutes to go in the race and Murry regularly turned laps faster than the class leaders in the final 45-minutes of the race. The Las Vegas-based race team finished 19th overall.

Dale White: "Today was all about the fight. We were racing at the front early on and David was the fastest car for the last 45-minutes of the race. The car was definitely there today. After the incident, the Petersen/ White Lightning guys fought through that and just kept charging all race long. Mike [Petersen] made the call to repair the car and get back into the race and it was definitely the right call. It paid off. I am really proud of how hard the whole crew worked."

David Murry: "Here at Infineon we didn't get the finish and the result we were hoping for. But we were certainly more competitive than we were in the past. I think the car is much better. We qualified third; Craig did a great job. Even when the brand-new grip of the tires was gone, the Michelins were still good. The car was still good. So that is what we have been looking for. We still need to find a little more time. We need to find about another half-second in the car and we'll be right there with the front. I'm happy with the performance today. Hopefully the result will reflect that next week at Portland."

Craig Stanton: "We qualified third yesterday with a great effort by the whole team. We started third and we were running confidently in third. We weren't pushing the Westward Ho/ MMPIE/ PAWS Porsche very hard. Unfortunately, we had a mishap on the track and we got into the 24 car. I really feel bad about that. But more importantly for our team, we had a bit of a milestone within the team as far as communications. I'm pretty proud of the guys. Today's effort doesn't really show the positive effort the guys are putting in. I am grateful that the Petersens are allowing us to do this with all of our other sponsors in Michelin and Porsche."

-pm-

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Murry , Craig Stanton , Michael Petersen