Muscle Milk Wins Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge
By D. Brian Smith
Photography: Ben Moment
Some 10 minutes shortened by an epic Ohio thunderstorm, the Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing competitors came away claiming first overall at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This was the fifth contest of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
For the first 70 minutes of the race, the Aston Martin-powered Lola, driven by Lucas Luhr, chased the Dyson Racing entry. The Mazda-powered Lola Dyson Racing vehicle was the pole sitter, thanks to some very accomplished qualifying by Guy Smith, who was also last year’s race winner. During those first 70 minutes, Muscle Milk was anywhere from a half-second behind to more than two seconds in arrears of the Dyson Racing Mazda entry.
A stuck LMPC car on the side of the track resulted in a full- track caution proved to be a great bit of good fortune for the team Muscle Milk Aston Martin. What we race enthusiasts and fans know best is that successful racecar drivers make their own luck, which is exactly what teammates Luhr and Klaus Graf did to perfection. With the race restart Lucas Luhr blasted the Muscle Milk Aston Martin past the zoomy Mazda-powered Dyson Racing Lola and never looked back after that.
Not too long after the restart, the clouds began to open, initially sprinkling and then a regular Midwestern America deluge drenched the track and made all four ALMS classes of racecars look more like four-wheeled ice skating machines. Even the GT class cars were sliding around without any sense of going in the right direction. Anyone could see that the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was indeed too hazardous at any speed. Cars were spinning out and hydroplaning at 60 miles per hour on rain tires! We’re not kidding. So, with a tad more than 10 minutes to go, race officials waved the red flag and ushered the race field into pit lane. As we learned with the 2009 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, since the race was past half finished, the clock could continue to count down to the checkered flag, signaling the third win of the season and two in-a-row for team Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing and Messrs. Luhr and Graf.
As we’ve learned in countless auto racing spectacles over the years, Mother Nature will do what she wants on her schedule. She has no regard for brave and highly skilled racers in their high-tech land rockets. If she wants to rain or hail on any sort of auto race, she certainly will. Sometimes, the show can go on, but not when it’s way too dangerous. Congratulations to the races officials of ALMS for once again realizing that safety comes first. Up to the waving of the red flag, the race was still an awesome spectacle to behold, with bravery and utopian driving the order of the day.