Alton, Virginia / September 18 – It’s been a tough four weeks for the Merchant Services Racing team. After surviving the battle on the streets of Baltimore with both cars finishing in the top five, it was another rough and tumble weekend at the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón VIR 240 at Virginia International Raceway.
“We really had a strong race going with Kyle Marcelli and Lucas Downs in the # 8 Lamex / Butterfield Farms / MBRP car,” noted team owner, Brian Alder. “Unfortunately our day ended rather abruptly when Lucas Downs made heavy contact with the tire wall going through the high speed esses. He was running first in class at the time. Needless to say everyone is relieved that Lucas is ok. It was a pretty high speed crash and shows the strength of the ORECA PC car and demonstrates how safe they are.”
“On a personal note,” added Alder, “I want to thank the IMSA safety team for their quick response and professionalism while tending to Lucas. Having a group of professionals like the IMSA safety team gives the entire paddock a certain degree of confidence knowing we’re racing in some of the safest conditions in all of race. We all appreciate them and what they do week in and week out.”
“The Merchant Services Racing group has really proven to work well as a team over the last few rounds,” said Kyle Marcelli. “Our engineer John Travis has done a superb job to give us a fast and consistent race car. It’s proven itself over and over showing consistent speeds in practice, qualifying and race conditions.”
“Qualifying was thrilling as it has been over and over this season,” Kyle continued. “To miss the pole position by only 0.001 is not only heartbreaking but totally unheard of! This would have been our third pole position this season, again proving the competitiveness of this team. I’m looking forward to Petit where we have finished second the past two years, I’m eager to win.”
“While we leave VIR with a DNF, it’s not for a lack of preparation or speed,” added Kyle. “More importantly, I’m very happy that my co-driver Lucas Downs is ok after his off in the high speed eases, it goes to show the quality of these race cars.”
The final race of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón is Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. The 1,000-mile/10-hour race from Road Atlanta is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct 20. ABC’s broadcast begins at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 21. Full, live coverage starts at 11:15 a.m. ET on ESPN3.