Mid-Ohio: Farnbacher Loles Racing race report
Keen and Werner win Mid-Ohio for Farnbacher Loles! 6.20.09 -- Lexington, OH - It was a rough start and a dramatic finish, but the Farnbacher Loles Racing team notched another victory while Leh Keen and Dirk Werner extended their Grand-Am Rolex ...
Keen and Werner win Mid-Ohio for Farnbacher Loles!
6.20.09 -- Lexington, OH - It was a rough start and a dramatic finish, but the Farnbacher Loles Racing team notched another victory while Leh Keen and Dirk Werner extended their Grand-Am Rolex points lead in the EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It looked as if the team would record their third double podium of the season as Dominik Farnbacher held onto the second spot behind his teammate for nearly an hour as the race wound down, before contact with a Daytona Prototype knocked him off the podium.
The drama began even before the start, as pole-sitter Eric Lux had a problem with a tire going down on his #86 Porsche GT3 Cup during the warm up laps. He pitted as the race went green and rejoined the field in last place. His teammate Leh Keen was also starting in the rear in the #87 after a post qualifying ride height penalty negated his pole-winning qualifying effort. So, both drivers were at the back of the field with a lot of ground to make up. They wasted no time in slicing through the field. During an early caution, both drivers pitted to get the mandatory stop out of the way. By lap ten, Keen was already up to fourth and was the fastest car in the class. Lux was up to ninth and climbing. Unfortunately, both cars were assessed drive-thru penalties for pit lane violations during their first stops. They rejoined the race near the back again.
This time though their march to the front would not ne interrupted. At the one-hour mark, Leh was up to the second spot while Eric was in fourth. A caution came out and both cars pitted for driver changes. Dirk Werner took over for Leh while Dominik Farnbacher who was filling in for Lux's regular co-driver Wolf Henzler, took over the #86. After the restart, Werner was P2 while Farnbacher was P3. They held those spots until the next caution. With one hour left in the race, all the competitors pitted. The stops went flawlessly and Dirk took over the lead while Dominik was right behind in the second spot. And they ran that way until the closing minutes of the race.
As the clock wound down and five minutes to go, the second place DP car made contact with Dominik's Porsche and damaged the left front. With his tire going down, Dominik was quickly passed by the third place car and fought to get his slowing Porsche to the checkered flag. At the end, he crossed the line in seventh. Keen and Werner now hold a 16 point lead in the championship while Lux is 27 points back.
Leh Keen was all smiles at the finish. "This is really as good as it gets, going from last to first. It was disappointing getting the pole taken away, but we made up for it. I had to work really hard today coming from the back and then with the drive-through penalty having to do it again. I have to thank the whole team. Everyone did a great job. The car and the pit stops were perfect. And I would like to thank my sponsor Shock Doctor, too. It's just too bad the 86 wasn't on the podium with us."
Dirk Werner celebrated as well. "Leh gave me the car in great position so I really didn't have to work too hard. The Porsche was great and the crew did a fantastic job with it. The car is just awesome right now. The qualifying position wasn't really that important. It was another perfect day for us."
Greg: "Eric and Leh did a fantastic job in their stints. They maintained their composure and brought both cars up from the back of the pack. We couldn't be prouder of their efforts. And I really have to commend the crew. The cars were perfect, the pit-stops flawless. They entire team deserves this. Getting the win here and extending the points lead was very important as we look toward the championship. But we really should have had both cars on the podium. There was absolutely no reason for the contact at the end of the race that took the 86 out of contention. Certainly there is no place for people to be out there with a win-or-crash mentality. It is very frustrating. We hope the series seriously addresses the reckless driving."
The Grand-Am Rolex series continues at Daytona on July 4th for the Brumos 250.