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Muscle Milk Team CytoSport ready to defend Championship lead

Muscle Milk Team CytoSport is taking its 12 Hours of Sebring winning combination to its home turf at Laguna Seca for the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patrón race next weekend as it looks to keep its podium streak alive.

The LMP class Championship leading team will be taking on the six-hour event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with Porsche ace Sascha Maassen returning to team up with Muscle Milk’s regular drivers, and fellow Sebring winners, Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf.

The trio will be looking to prolong Muscle Milk Team CytoSport’s six-race podium streak which dates back to the team’s debut with the Porsche last season at Mid-Ohio.

The team currently has 46 points in the LMP championship chase and is tied with Highcroft Racing for first place after two rounds into the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season.

With the Laguna Seca race duration now increased to six hours and taking place earlier in the season, Muscle Milk Team CytoSport feels its Michelin clad Porsche RS Spyder is well suited for this event. However, the team and drivers know it won’t be an easy task to achieve their goals at a challenging track like the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course that features the famed corkscrew.

All three drivers have previous experience and success at Laguna Seca. Graf and Pickett most recently put an end to their 2009 season at that track with what was a fourth podium finish in as many races last year, despite contact early on in the race.

Maassen claimed pole position and second in class in 2007 and registered the Porsche RS Spyder’s first win from pole, on debut, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2005.

Pickett also took part in his first professional race at Laguna Seca in 1974 and won his first Trans-Am race there in 1978.

Official practice for the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patrón race begins Friday, May 21 with a one-hour session from 9:50 a.m. PT. Muscle Milk Team CytoSport and its fellow competitors will also get another hour of practice at 2:20 p.m. PT before the 20-minute LMP qualifying session at 3:55 p.m. PT.

The six-hour race will see the green flag at 2:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 22 and will be streamed live online at americanlemans.com. The event will also be broadcast tape delayed on CBS Sports at 1:30 p.m. ET May 29, 2010. Fans can also follow live radio coverage on American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 242.

What they have to say:
Greg Pickett, Owner / Driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder

“If someone would have told me we would be leading the LMP Championship coming into the third race of the season, I don’t think I would have believed them. The season is still young but I am very proud of what we’ve achieved so far this year with our win at Sebring and our podium finish at Long Beach. The guys have been doing such a great job.
“I love going to Laguna Seca, it’s always been a very special place for me and it’s a home event for us being close to Benicia. We will have a lot of Muscle Milk people there as well as family and friends and I think we can hope for another good result.
“With this race being six hours, it’s the type of race where our Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder and this team are going to shine.”

Klaus Graf, Driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
“We’re coming to our home race at Laguna Seca as the points leader in the ALMS. I have to say that this is quite an achievement for Muscle Milk Team CytoSport as this is our first full year in the series.
“Going to Laguna Seca will be different this time compared to the years before with the race being earlier in the year and six hours long. I think both factors will suit our Porsche RS Spyder as I hope for warmer ambient temperature than in the years before, and the longer the races, the better it seems for our reliable package.
“Laguna Seca is a technically difficult track and with the traffic we face a tough challenge once again. The team so far has done an extremely good job in preparing the car and doing the pit stops in the race and as always, I’m sure that Michelin will make the right tire selection for this race into the night. So I’m very confident that we can keep our podium streak alive.
“This is going to be a special race as we’ll have a lot of guests and family members of the Muscle Milk team on sight and I would also like to welcome Sascha back to the team, it’s always great to have him with us.”

Sascha Maassen, Driver #6 Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder
“I’m really looking forward to returning with Muscle Milk Team CytoSport at Laguna Seca. It’s always a pleasure to work with them.
“Laguna Seca is my favorite race track and I have good memories there, especially with the Porsche RS Spyder. I was on pole position three years in a row from 2005 to 2007.
“It’s a track that suits ‘LMP2’ cars like the Spyder as there are not many straights. Actually the whole track is a combination of corners. And the six-hour race format leaves a lot of options for strategic decisions. It should make for a very interesting race.”