Intersport Leads Utah Grand Prix, Finishes Second in LMP1 Tooele, Utah- Intersport Racing enjoyed its best run of the season Sunday in the American Le Mans Series Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little ...
Intersport Leads Utah Grand Prix, Finishes Second in LMP1
Tooele, Utah- Intersport Racing enjoyed its best run of the season Sunday in the American Le Mans Series Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels. Jon Field drove the No. 37 Very Berry Exotics Lola B06/10 AER to the front early on, leading a number of laps and finishing second in the LMP1 category.
Lining up in eighth position overall, Jon made a fantastic start, powering into second place by Turn 1. The veteran racer then set his eyes on race leader Marco Werner and by the lap 2, Jon passed the Audi to take the overall lead. Once up front, he then began to pull away slightly from the two factory diesels, leading five laps overall, the first for an E85-fueled car.
"I tucked behind one of the Audis," Jon explained of the start. "I figured he was going to the front too. We're fast down the straightaway, so I figured it was the right car to be behind. I tried to make my move at the end there, and they were really nervous on tires like I was, so I could maneuver around him pretty good. It was really nice."
Jon pitted under the first yellow with 20 minutes complete for four fresh Dunlop tires and E85 fuel, staying at the wheel of the Very Berry Exotics machine. He wasted no time getting back into the top-five, as Jon passed the Audi of Frank Biela for fourth position on lap 18. However, power steering problems began to develop, causing Jon to spin the car on lap 36 and subsequent trouble re-firing the motor.
Jon pitted again at the one-hour, 13-minute mark, handing over to son, and team owner, Clint. The 2004 Le Mans class winner kept the Lola out of trouble for his stint before making a final stop near the two-hour mark. Clint relinquished controls to Richard Berry, who nursed the car to the finish line in 12th overall, second in class.
"We had no power steering," Berry said after the race. "Some of the time it would kick on and off so I had to battle that. I was definitely hobbling there needless to say, but I brought it home. We'll take it whatever way we can get it. We had a good show with Jon out there in the beginning. It was pretty good considering we didn't have any testing here. We'll take it."
The Ohio-based team took advantage of the retirement of the No. 1 Audi, which crashed out late in the race. The AER-powered #37 Lola ended the day with a fine second place finish in LMP1, their best result of the season.
"Everything really worked well today," Clint said. "The Lola, Dunlop tires, and the AER engine was just unbelievable. It was good all around. We didn't think we'd do too well here, but with the long straight and AER engine, it really proved to be pretty good. Seeing dad lead was a morale booster for all of us. Everyone was cheering down here and having a good time."
Intersport certainly had something to cheer about. The team not only overcame power steering issues in the race but also rebounded from a lack of track time. Gearbox failure on Friday and a clutch problem on Saturday morning cost them nearly two hours of practice, leaving the trio with little experience of the new 3.048-mile outer course.
"For not having a lot of track time, I think that was a pretty good showing," Clint added. "We'll get back to the shop and get ready for some tests in June. We're going to get out to Mid-Ohio and Road America so we can hopefully be more prepared. We'll be a little quicker."