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Apr 21, 2013 - 04:37 PM
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Level 5 Stakes Podium Finish in Long Beach
Posted by: newsla on Apr 21, 2013 - 04:36 PM
American Le Mans Series News
Level 5 Stakes Podium Finish in Long Beach


While clearly showing the speed needed to win, Level 5 Motorsports overcame a series of unlucky and unfortunate incidents to record a hard-earned podium finish, and valuable championship points, in Saturday’s two-hour Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach.

 

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The pole-sitting No. 551 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort-sponsored Honda Performance Development ARX-03b led early in the hands of nine-time driving champion Scott Tucker, who drove a masterful opening stint before handing over to open-wheel star Ryan Briscoe during the second full-course caution with just over 40 minutes completed.

While Briscoe managed to rejoin in the P2 class lead, the IZOD IndyCar Series race winner was forced to serve a stop and go penalty due to a pit lane infraction, and shortly after that, suffered a subsequent tire puncture, resulting in a second unscheduled stop. The day would turn even worse for the No. 551 car, as the Australian was tagged from behind by another car with less than 30 minutes to go, which saw an additional trip to the pits for repairs.

Rejoining the battle for the closing laps, Briscoe managed to bring the No. 551 HPD to a third place finish in class, while setting the quickest P2 lap of the race. Level 5’s No. 552 car, which was started by Marino Franchitti, finished fourth after showing promise early in the hands of the Scot. However, it also dropped back in the final hour after a spin and slight brush with the wall that resulted in repairs being made to the left-front suspension.

Despite the challenges presented to the David Stone-led crew in one of its toughest-ever races, both cars took the checkered flag, which came nearly as a victory in itself. Briscoe and Tucker, who was nominated to score points in the Sebring-winning No. 551 car, retain their championship lead heading into the third round of the season at Laguna Seca next month.

“It was a tough race for us today but I’m proud of the team for getting both cars to the finish,” Tucker said. “Traffic was a big challenge, as we were hit by other cars multiple times. That didn’t make life any easier. While I'm disappointed with the result, I know we had the speed in both cars to win. It was just one of those races. Ryan and Marino did a great job but we were just unlucky in the end. We'll move on and come back even stronger for Laguna Seca."

Next up for Tucker and Level 5 will be the American Le Mans Monterey, the third round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. ESPN2’s coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 12, with live coverage available on ESPN3 starting at 6:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 11. ESPN3 will also show live qualifying starting at 7:45 p.m. ET on Friday, May 10.

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