Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf muscled their way to a deserving third place finish for Muscle Milk Team CytoSport at the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix today.
The top-three result was an eighth consecutive podium for the team led by Trans-Am legend Pickett, co-driver, Graf and Team Manager Geoffrey Carter.
Starting fourth on the grid, Pickett initially fell to sixth aboard the #6 Muscle Milk naturally aspirated Porsche RS Spyder when the green flag dropped on the two hour and 45 minute event.
There wasn’t much Pickett could do at the start as the two turbocharged cars that flew by him were faster by 25 to 30 mph on the front straight all weekend.
The owner/driver of Muscle Milk Team CytoSport went on to maintain his position until about 45 minutes into the race when he stopped to hand over driving duties to Graf, who would take over the Michelin clad Porsche RS Spyder for the remaining two hours.
Graf was ninth when he returned to the track following an excellent pit stop by his Muscle Milk crew on lap 24 and immediately started gaining some ground and had moved up to sixth by lap 29.
Following a full course caution period the speedy German was on a mission when green flag racing resumed with one hour and 32 minutes to go.
By lap 38 he had made his way to fifth and 20 laps later, he had cut into a more than 20 second lead by the fourth place car to gain another position.
That wasn’t it for Graf as he then took over third place when the Dyson Racing car headed to pit lane just as he had closed in on him.
When the team stopped for fuel only on lap 67, deciding to double stint the Michelin tires, Graf was still sitting in third.
Unfortunately, at that time the leaders were too far ahead and although he was pushing his Porsche RS Spyder as hard as he could, catching up to them in the remaining 38 minutes was near impossible as all three were running similar lap times.
The Muscle Milk squad will be back in action in two weeks time when the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón heads to Lime Rock Park for the Northeast Grand Prix, which takes place July 23 and 24, 2010.
What they had to say:
Greg Pickett, Owner / Driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
“Eight podiums in a row with our Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder, we’re very pleased about that. The Michelin tires in particular today did a great job. We took them almost 70 laps, which is amazing, they hung right in there.
“I’m very proud of Muscle Milk Team CytoSport and our ace engineering. We came out from here pretty close to what we thought we could do. Particularly with the speed on the straight and in the altitude with the turbo cars.
“We’re staying relatively close in the points and if we can get that Highcroft team to just stumble a little bit, and that’s not easy to do, we may have even more fun here! I’m really proud of the team and running all the laps, and eight straight podiums is just great for us here.”
Klaus Graf, Qualifying Driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
“It was a great day with another podium but it was a tough race because this is a hard place in an LMP car, it’s very physical. I spent nearly two hours in the car and it almost went green all the way so it was tough.
“I’m very happy and we were competitive, running the same lap times as the leaders, but it was the maximum we could get today. Another podium keeps our streak alive with the Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder, which is great.
“We didn’t change the tires on our last pit stop which was the right decision. The Michelin tires once again performed extremely well. We have such great partners with Porsche and Michelin, we couldn’t ask for more.”
Geoff Carter, Team Manager, Muscle Milk Team CytoSport
“I’m really proud of the Muscle Milk Team CytoSport crew, we had a six week break since the last race and to their credit they were not rusty at all. We performed our race strategy as expected. We were probably a third place car today and this keeps our podium streak alive.
“Klaus did a great job as always in the Porsche RS Spyder. I kept telling him to push and he answered the bell every single lap as did our Michelin tires who kept on performing as they normally do even if we ran them nearly 70 laps.
“Greg brought the car in exactly where we wanted him to and all in all it was a very positive performance for the guys this weekend. We’ll be carrying a lot of momentum forward to not only Lime Rock, but for the rest of the season.”
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