A FIELD DAY IN UTAH FOR INTERSPORT Undoubtedly the start of the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix will be remembered for Jon Field's storming start in Intersport Racing's Lola B06-AER. The green flag saw Field charge from his ...
A FIELD DAY IN UTAH FOR INTERSPORT
Undoubtedly the start of the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix will be remembered for Jon Field's storming start in Intersport Racing's Lola B06-AER. The green flag saw Field charge from his seventh-place starting position to second at the end of Miller Motorsports Park's long frontstretch and pass Marco Werner's Audi R10 TDI for the overall race lead at Turn 11.
Werner got back around before the start-finish line but Field retook the lead on the second lap. It marked the first time Field led a Series race since Mid-Ohio in 2005 and the first time cellulosic E85 led a lap in the American Le Mans Series. He held the advantage until a slip on Lap 7 dropped him to third behind the two Audis.
"That was great for our little team," said Field, who won the 2002 LMP675 championship and has 11 class wins to his credit. "The P1s have an advantage at the start anyway. We're here to race and that's what we do. It's a lot of fun for sure and good for the team."
Intersport's fortunes took a turn for the worse as the Lola spun on track five minutes later. It also was involved in a minor incident with Luis Diaz's Lowe's Fernandez Acura and the Panoz Esperante GTLM of Tommy Milner. The power steering also went out on the car briefly before the team ordered Field to go to the reserve starter.
At the end of the day, Intersport finished 12th overall and a season-best second in LMP1.
"Everything really worked well today," said Clint Field, who teamed with his father and Richard Berry. "The Lola, Dunlop tires and the AER engine were 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."
ANOTHER GREAT START:
Eric Curran impressed in his first start for LG Motorsports in the No. 28 Corvette C6. He moved from eighth to fourth in the first 20 minutes of the race.
"Eric did a great job. The Dunlop tires did a great job," said team owner and co-driver Lou Gigliotti. "We've been working so hard and we're really excited. If we can do some more work and keep Eric in the car, we can make a dent in this Series."
The LG entry finished sixth in GT2 after being hit by Jaime Melo's Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT just past the two-hour mark with Gigliotti at the wheel.
"I love racing in this Series," Curran said. "This is great. I don't have any issues with the racers in this Series. The LG Motorsports Corvette with more chassis tuning and prep time can be a front-runner."
NOT-SO LONE WOLF:
Saturday wasn't the first time that Flying Lizard Motorsports' Wolf Henzler found himself in a tie for pole position. On Saturday, Henzler's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and Jaime Melo in Risi Competizione's Ferrari F430 GT posted identical qualifying times - 1:47.135 (102.420 mph).
Because Henzler did his lap seven minutes earlier, he took his second pole of the season.
"I remember in 2005 in a Speed World Challenge race I did the exact same time as another car," Henzler said. "But I was second so it was the other way around."
REUNION IN THE DESERT:
Gil de Ferran's finest moments of his open-wheel career came with Penske Racing, a team that saw him capture the 2000 and 2001 CART championships, four CART wins and five wins in IndyCar. Ironically, de Ferran spent the weekend watching his new de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-01b chase down Penske's two Porsche RS Spyders.
In his debut race, de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud placed third overall and in LMP2. The team owner also qualified just behind Penske's Timo Bernhard on Saturday.
Needless to say, memories came flooding back for both de Ferran and Roger Penske.
"Our old pal was setting the bar for us," Penske said. "I really knew Gil was here when I saw that helmet go by. It's great to see him and have him back in this Series. He is very highly motivated to go fast."
Sunday's race saw LMP2 cars take the first seven places. That ties a Series record first set last year at Long Beach, a race won by Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. Coincidentally, they were winners Sunday in Utah. ... At one point in the middle of the race, the top-five running order for GT2 by manufacturer was Porsche, Ferrari, Panoz, Chevrolet and Ford. ... Six American Le Mans Series teams now head across the Atlantic for the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Audi Sport North America, Autocon Motorsports and Team Cytosport (under the Charouz Racing banner) in LMP1; Corvette Racing in GT1; and Flying Lizard Motorsports and Risi Competizione in GT2.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix. The race is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 12 at Lime Rock Park. SPEED will televise the race live as will XM Satellite Radio on XM Sports Nation Channel 144. Live coverage from American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring also will be available at americanlemans.com.