Graf Goes From Last To First To Win Trans-Am Round Three At Mosport CANADA (May 17, 2009) -- German driver Klaus Graf started last, but finished first to earn his second Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series victory of the season at Mosport ...
Graf Goes From Last To First To Win Trans-Am Round Three At Mosport
CANADA (May 17, 2009) -- German driver Klaus Graf started last, but finished first to earn his second Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series victory of the season at Mosport International Raceway, part of the Victoria Day Speedfest. Tomy Drissi, of Los Angeles, and polewinner Jorge Diaz Jr., of San Juan, Puerto Rico, completed the podium.
Graf, whose No. 6 Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR was disqualified following post qualifying technical inspection for a wing height infraction, started last on the grid and put on an impressive drive to win by 11.456-seconds over Drissi. Graf made quick work of the field. It only took four laps, of the 37-lap event, for Graf to break into the five and was second by lap 11.
Riding in second, Graf got faster with each lap trying to catch then race leader Tony Ave in the No. 10 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford Ford Mustang. In fact, he established a new fast race lap record four different times before finally passing Ave on the same lap Ave blew a right front tire in Turn Five. Graf now holds the new Trans-Am race lap record at Mosport with a 1:18.312 (113.040 mph). This was Graf's sixth-career win.
"I was really very careful in the beginning because, at this track, you have to be on the line most of the time," Graf said. "There is very little room for making errors. There is basically zero runoff area. You have to treat this track with a lot of respect and I was quite conservative in the beginning. Thirty-seven laps around this place is a long time. So, I knew I had some time to make it through the field. But, at the same token, you have to charge and make sure your tires come in. I actually played around with the bar to adjust the setup early on.
"Obviously, when you get close to Tomy and Jorge it's not easy anymore, they go at a pretty good speed. You have to be patient. I followed Tomy and Jorge around a little bit to see where I could be quicker. The gap to Tony stayed quite consistent for quite some time and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to catch him. Suddenly, I saw smoke coming up and he locked up his brakes and he was sliding more. Then, I caught him by two seconds a lap because his tires were gone, basically. At that point, it was fairly easy to go past Tony.
"When I passed Jorge, I went off the track once in front of him down in the keyhole and was in the grass. Stuff like that could go wrong. It might have looked easy, but I pushed really hard and I was on the edge a long time during the race. Obviously, in the end when Tony was gone and he had to come in and pit, they told me Tomy was in second. I was able to slow down a bit and finish the race."
Drissi, who started third in the No. 5 Night at the Museum Two Jaguar XKR, battled second-running Diaz for most of the race. Then, on lap 30, Drissi finally passed Diaz in the No. 2 JD Racing Jaguar XKR for second and never looked back.
"At the start of the race, I think I waited a little too long," Drissi said. "If you look at what Ave and Graf have done the last couple of races, I think I've learned you've got to hustle it a little bit more in the beginning. But, I was probably right there in [terms of] times in the middle of the race. Diaz did not make one mistake. He hit mark, after mark, after mark. He was ahead and I just paced him. Then, it looked like a switch went on in one corners; it looked like his tires went away. So, I was able to catch him. Diaz and I have raced for a lot of years and I enjoy racing him. They had a strategy and it did not work out. But, to be on the podium, with those tires they chose, is pretty good.
"We were in P2 and I asked when I went by [the frontstraight], 'Where is Klaus?' And, nobody responded. I think they just wanted me to focus on finishing second. We had two tough races. Good job to Klaus and Diaz."
"My race started perfectly," Diaz said. "The car, the setup, it was perfect. We started to get loose from the very beginning. Tomy was behind me for most of the race, which was putting pressure on us. So, I just tried to keep him behind me with about eight to 10 laps to go. He was fast. When Klaus came up, I saw a dash behind me and then he flew past me. So, we'll be working on the setup and the next race we'll be there."
Rookie Jim Goughary Jr., of Jupiter, Fla., qualified fourth, but started 12th because he changed his tires prior to the race start. However, it only took nine laps for his No. 72 Luna Sueno Tequila Chevrolet Corvette to knife through the field into the top five. With seven laps to go, Goughary inherited fourth when Ave pulled into pit lane to change his flat tire. For his efforts, Goughary earned the Flowmaster Star of the Race.
Coming off his first career Trans-Am podium finish at VIR, Edison Lluch Sr., of Lajas, Puerto Rico, turned in another solid effort today with a fifth-place finish in the No. 73 Don Q/El Tuque Chevrolet Corvette. Lluch also was the Sunoco Hard Charger of the Race. It was Lluch's second-career top-five finish in four Trans-Am starts.
Canadian Blaise Csida (Chevrolet Corvette), Simon Gregg (Chevrolet Corvette), Ave (Ford Mustang), Jerry Kinn (Chevrolet Corvette), rookie Daniel Ramoutarsingh completed the top 10.
Drissi and Ave are tied for the Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series point lead with 76 points, followed by Graf (71), rookie Glen Jung (50) and Ramoutarsingh and Kinn (47).
The Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series next heads to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Round Four May 30-31.
-credit: scca pro racing