ELKHART LAKE, WISC. (Aug. 18, 2001) - Kerry Alexander was looking for a rudder on the Panoz Esperante on about the 10th lap of the Johnson Controls 100 at Road America. Racing in conditions that could only compare to a lazy lake-bound sail, ...
ELKHART LAKE, WISC. (Aug. 18, 2001) - Kerry Alexander was looking for a rudder on the Panoz Esperante on about the 10th lap of the Johnson Controls 100 at Road America. Racing in conditions that could only compare to a lazy lake-bound sail, Alexander and the rest of the field struggled to keep their cars on the track for 17 laps before a red flag session that was soon followed by a wet checkered flag. Those who successfully kept their car on the racing surface for the full 17-lap race were in the minority.
Alexander and at least 15 other drivers in the 32-car field spent at least part of the race in the gravel pits or run off areas due to very difficult racing conditions because of heavy rain and standing water on the racetrack. Alexander started the race in 19th position but fell back to 32nd when another car touched him on the first lap causing him to spin near turn six.
Working deftly through the field, he climbed to 23rd position on the next lap, then quickly gained 10 positions in eight laps before skating off the track into the gravel pit in turn eight. If the weather had cleared and the track dried, Alexander was in an excellent position to gain several more positions, but the rainfall increased.
"Each time I came through turn eight it was raining harder. I was passing a lot of cars each lap, but one time coming around that turn, I lost my rhythm on the downshift. It caught the back tires, it spun and I went into the gravel pit. Then we were stuck and it took them forever to get me out," he explained.
"We were going to change to rain tires on (before the race), but they told us to leave the grid before we did. We had the rains (tires) there and were ready to put them on the car, but they told us to start the cars and clear the grid. It's a 50/50 call either way. If it had dried out, we would have been heroes," he added.
The Johnson Controls 100 will be telecast Aug. 25 from 2 to 3:30 pm EST on Speedvision. Alexander and the rest of the Trans-Am competitors head to the 2.258 mile, 13 turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 25, which will be telecast on Speedvision Sept. 1 at 1:30 pm EST.
Looking ahead to Mid-Ohio, Alexander says, "Mid-Ohio is my track. I've been there a lot. I've won a championship there and run a lot of laps there, so I'm looking forward to going to Mid-Ohio."