|The more nimble LMP2 car took the checkered flag for Patron Highcroft Racing.|
With the IndyCar and Indy Light qualifying in the books, it was time to prepare ourselves for the event of the day – the start of the 100 minute Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series race! Loyal ALMS fans had been eagerly waiting what was sure to be an exciting race, as a record 36 entries were scheduled to take to the track.
The LMP class offered the most excitement this year, as the #1 Patron Highcroft Racing HPD ARX-01c(LMP2) took the lead from pole setter Adrian Fernandez in the #007 Aston Martin Racing B09-60(LMP1) during the last lap of the race. Fernandez made an error at the fountain which allowed the #1 car to catch up and make the pass on the inside of turn 5. The lighter yet underpowered LMP2 Patron Highcroft Racing car was able to hold off the LMP1 Aston Martin Racing car and brought home the win by less than 3/10ths of a second!
|Adrian Fernandez took his first overall pole position, but was not able to hold the spot.|
Greg Pickett & Klaus Graf drove the #6 Muscle Milk Team Cytosport car to a 3rd place finish, giving the team its 6th podium finish in a row. The team also earned the Prototype Class Green X Challenge Award, which is given to the team with the best overall performance and fuel efficiency with the least environmental impact.
The #99 G-Oil Green Earth Team Gunnar Oreca FLM09 won the LMPC class, giving the team its first ever win. This is especially exciting news for the Green Peace crowd because they are the first team to run environmentally safe oil. Green Earth Technologies produces G-branded products made with American-grown base oils and utilize nanotechnology to deliver environmentally friendly products without having to give up performance or value.
In GT the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR took 1st place honors and also received the GT Class Green X Challenge Award. The win makes this the 5th podium finish in Long Beach for driver Patrick Long and second win in a row.
The #3 of Corvette Racing and #92 of BMW Rahal Letterman Racing rounded out the podium. Both the #92 and #90 BMW M3’s gambled and did not take fresh tires during their last pit stop in an attempt to climb up the ranks since they started the race in 6th and 7th place. At first it seemed their gamble worked as the BMW’s led the pack in 1st and 2nd positions, but it wasn’t long before their competition was right on their tail.. With the rest of the field on fresh tires, there was not much the BMW’s could do but still managed to hold on to 3rd and 5th.
Juan Gonzalez and Butch Leitzinger of Alex Job Racing took first place in GTC in the #81 Porsche.
Now you may be asking, “What about the Toyota Pro Celebrity Race and Formula Drift?” What about them?! Yes, some drift cars were out there doing their thing, but they were more like cheerleaders performing during TV time outs. I really don’t care about the celebrity race and took advantage of those times to stock up on King Taco and the rest of the fresh BBQ offered at the Grand Prix. Let me also remind you not to forget to bring a good amount of cash with you. Between the food, $10 beers and merchandise I almost reached my ATM withdrawal limit!