Shane Lewis, Lawson Aschenbach take the checkered flag at Mosport
After a wicked weekend of wrecks that plagued fellow ALMS competitors, Mosport master Shane Lewis and supersub Lawson Aschenbach were taking the checkered flag in front of thousands of Canadian and US fans on late Sunday afternoon. The Mosport Grand Prix for the American Le Mans series was the penultimate round of the 2010 season, and the Velox Motorsport team showed its teeth by coming together for their first victory, despite some pit lane errors, a hot racetrack and the toughest traffic at any event this season.
Lewis started the #88 Porsche from 3rd position after running hard for the tightest field at any ALMS GTC race yet this year, with the field separated by only 0.9 of a second from position 1 to position 5. Shane immediately shot his car to second place with a great start, and then worked the traffic for over an hour to hound the first place car of Bryce Miller lap after lap. The track, with its fast corners and massive prototype closing speeds, left Shane with few passing opportunities, so he held fast on his bumper until the first caution period an hour into the race. A miscommunication from his pit wall had him unprepared for a driver change, but he switched quickly to hand the car over to Lawson Aschenbach, his co-driver for this weekend while team principal and driver Jerry Vento was unable to make it to Mosport because of a business commitment.
A fast release from pit lane left the team with a penalty to serve when the crewmen could not get over the wall fast enough. Lawson quickly served the penalty when the track went green and got down to business. Lawson was starting to run down the first place car of Luke Hines, who took over for Miller also at the pit stop, at one to two seconds a lap. Lawson was closing rapidly when a huge wreck involving first place Hines put the race under yellow. All GTC cars dove to the pits to get the last needed few seconds of fuel to finish the race, when Velox Motorsports car came out in first place, with the other GTC cars in tow.
The field circulated under yellow until the race director decided to red flag the race while the guardrail was being repaired on track. The long delay allowed Lewis and Aschenbach time to plot their strategy from first place for the last 30 minutes of the race, which ended up being unused as IMSA decided the damage to the track was not repairable in the time left for the race. Lawson hopped in the car for his victory lap as the team celebrated on the pit wall.
“ This was a tough win! The track is so fast, dangerous really in some ways when you are dealing with 4 different classes that are all battling for the win,” stated Lewis. “ The closing speeds here are really intense from the prototype cars. To win here you not only have to be fast, but you have to work the traffic to stay in the hunt. Lawson and I were fast and smart and we used that to keep ourselves up near the front, and in the end it paid off. We did have a miscommunication in the pits, which put us way farther back than we wanted to be. We had to serve a stop and go penalty plus 20 seconds and we still rallied back for the win! The competition this weekend was really tough, but man, I sure enjoyed the fight. “
Next race is the final round of the 2010 ALMS season at Road Atlanta on October 2, 2010.
You can also check our extensive Photo Coverage of the American Le Mans Series at Mosport by clicking HERE
© RIF | ALMS