Muscle Milk takes closest ever ALMS win at Road America

At the checkers

In a nose-to-tail finish the Muscle Milk Aston Martin gets the checkered flag .112 seconds ahead of the Dyson Mazda. Photos by Dave R. Johnson and composite by Leigh F. Johnson.

ELKHART LAKE, WI — The ALMS Series point race tightens a notch more. The question is whether there is enough time left for the chasing team and enough consistency for the leaders.

Lucas Luhr and and Klaus Graf and their AMR Lola Coupe B08 had a block for every parry  of the Chris Dyson- Guy Smith Mazda Lola and won the Time Warner Cable Road Race American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron here at Road America by a very slim .112 seconds — the closest finish in the history of the series.

The win brought the the Muscle Milk sponsored Aston Martin to within 18 points with three races left in the series. The Muscle Milk team gave up 30 points to the Dyson Mazda at the first race of the season at Sebring where they scored the big goose egg and have been in a catch-up race ever since. The Muscle Milk team has won four of the last five races to get them back into the hunt for the series title.

However, the Dyson Mazda team has been fast enough — and more importantly consistent enough to keep their noses at the lead of the points race. Drivers from both teams said the right thing after the race — tough competition, hard race, it was a lot of fun to race (insert drivers name) — and while the clock doesn’t lie — it was a close finish — it seems as the vaunted 12-cylinder Aston Martin was able to hold off the Mazda whenever it chose — even though Guy Smith had the fastest lap of the race.

Smith turned that on lap 97  of the 107 lap affair — but the #16 Mazda lead for only one lap in the race while Aston Martin  grabbed the lead on lap 38 and while Klaus might have looked back a couple of times the team never gave up the lead, as slim as it was at the checkered flag.

In the GT class, another scratching, clawing, fight to the finish saw Jaime Mello and Toni Vilander get the first win of the season for the new Risi Competizione’s Ferarri F458. The team with Mello at the wheel not turned the fast GT lap of the race but set a new track for the GT class at the Road American Track. Second and third in the GT class went to the two BMWs of the Rahal Letterman team.

The team of Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner were second for the GT class, about nine seconds behind the Ferrari while the top qualifiers for the class, Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller were third in the class. The Hand-Mueller team still hold a goodly-sized lead in the overall points race, leading the Corvette team of Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen by 22 points. The Vette was fifth in class behind the Flying Lizards Porche of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long.

The series will move to the new road course through the streets of Baltimore, MD where the points race could be decided — or tightened up for the last two races of the series. The Muscle Milk needs to score six more points than the Mazda in each of the last three races just to tie for the series point championship. However, if the two teams continue their one-two finish pattern it is only a four point difference per race leaving the title to the Dyson Mazda.

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