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Graf/Luhr Muscle Way To Long Beach Victory

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 14 2012

Muscle Milk was too strong for the ALMS field in Long Beach. (Photo courtesy of the American Le Mans Series)


Fuel strategy won out at Long Beach on Saturday with Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr winning the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach for the second straight season.

The Muscle Milk Honda Performance Development ARX-03a stopped twice during the race’s sole caution period and ran the final 56 minutes without another stop to win over Dyson Racing.

The Graf-Luhr pairing became the first to repeat at Long Beach in the ALMS’ six visits. Graf and Luhr now share the P1 championship lead with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.

The Muscle Milk car lost the lead on its first pit stop when it had fueling issues – harkening back to its disastrous closing moments at Sebring. It turned out to be a blessing as the quick splash ensured the car could get to the end without fueling again.

Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin gave Corvette Racing its first victory at Long Beach since 2009 and its first in ALMS since Mosport in July with an 8-second victory over BMW Team RLL’s Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller. Gavin’s strong open to his stint moved him ahead of Mueller with 46 minutes remaining.

Level 5 Motorsports’ Christophe Bouchut took the P2 lead with six minutes left as race-leader Martin Plowman had to pit late. Bouchut and Scott Tucker won in class at Long Beach for the second straight year, this time in a HPD ARX-03b.

CORE autosport won its second race of the season and consecutively at Long Beach with Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel victorious in Prototype Challenge. The CORE entry was 19 seconds quicker on its lone pit stop than runner-up Muscle Milk Pickett Racing.

In GT Challenge, Green Hornet Racing’s Damien Faulkner drove a strong second stint in a hard-fought battle with Leh Keen as the Irishman and Peter LeSaffre won in class over Alex Job Racing. Faulkner finished 3.107 seconds ahead of Keen following a tense series of laps following the race restart.

Both drivers took turns posting the fastest race lap for the class until Faulkner gained the upper hand with less than 20 minutes to go.

Saturday’s results

1. (2) Lucas Luhr, Germany; Klaus Graf, Germany; HPD ARX-03a Honda (1, P1), 86.

2. (1) Guy Smith, Beverley, UK; Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Lola B12/60 Mazda (2, P1), 86.

3. (8) Alex Papow; Ryan Dalziel, Scotland; Oreca FLM09 (3, PC), 85.

4. (11) Michael Guasch, Palo Alto, CA; Memo Gidley, San Rafael, CA; Oreca FLM09 (4, PC), 84.

5. (10) Jon Bennett; Colin Braun, Ovalo, TX; Oreca FLM09 (5, PC), 84.

6. (18) Tom Milner, Leesburg, VA; Oliver Gavin; Corvette C6-ZR1 (1, GT), 84.

7. (16) Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; Dirk Mueller; BMW E92 M3 (2, GT), 84.

8. (24) Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; Ferrari F458 Italia (3, GT), 84.

9. (17) Antonio Garcia; Jan Magnussen; Corvette C6-ZR1 (4, GT), 84.

10. (4) Scott Tucker; Christophe Bouchut, France; HPD ARX-03b Honda (5, P2), 83.

11. (27) Darren Turner; Adrian Fernandez; Aston Martin Vantage (6, GT), 83.

12. (23) Bryan Sellers, Centerville, OH; Wolf Henzler; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (7, GT), 83.

13. (25) Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Jorg Bergmeister; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (8, GT), 83.

14. (20) Bryce Miller, Hoboken, NJ; Sascha Maassen; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (9, GT), 83.

15. (3) Michael Marsal; Eric Lux, Jacksonville, FL; Lola B11/66 Mazda (10, P1), 83.

16. (14) Lucas Downs, North Mankoto, MN; Kyle Marcelli; Oreca FLM09 (11, PC), 83.

17. (6) David Heinemeier Hansson; Martin Plowman, Indianapolis, IN; Morgan/Nissan (12, P2), 83.

18. (13) Duncan Ende, Los Angeles; Henri Richard; Oreca FLM09 (13, PC), 82.

19. (7) Luis Diaz, Mexico; Scott Tucker; HPD ARX-03b Honda (14, P2), 81.

20. (21) Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Marco Holzer; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (15, GT), 81.

21. (22) Ed Brown, Las Vegas, NV; Guy Cosmo, Long Island, NY; Ferrari F458 Italia (16, GT), 80.

22. (9) Rudy Junco Jr.; Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Oreca FLM09 (17, PC), 80.

23. (29) Peter Lesaffre, Rye, NH; Damien Faulkner; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (1, GTC), 79.

24. (28) Cooper MacNeil; Leh Keen, Dublin, GA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (2, GTC), 79.

25. (31) Chris Cumming, Vancouver, BC; Michael Valiante, Vancouver, BC; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (3, GTC), 79.

26. (33) Alex Welch; James Sofronas, Newport Beach, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (4, GTC), 79.

27. (30) Emilio Di Guida; Spencer Pumpelly, Mason Neck, VA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (5, GTC), 77.

28. (32) Michael Aventatti; Bob Faieta, Tujunga, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (6, GTC), 74.

29. (19) Jorg Muller, Germany; Bill Auberlen, Hermosa Beach, CA; BMW E92 M3 (18, GT), 71.

30. (12) Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, CA; Bruno Junqueira; Oreca FLM09 (19, PC), 69.

31. (26) Bill Sweedler, Westport, CT; Townsend Bell, Santa Monica, CA; Lotus Evora/Cosworth (20, GT), 57.

32. (15) Tony Burgess, Canada; James Kovacic; Oreca FLM09 (21, PC), 35, Accident.

33. (5) Tim Pappas, Boston, MA; Joeren Bleekemolen, Netherlands; Lola B11/80 HPD (22, P2), 1.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 14 2012
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