Muscle Milk Pickett Racing achieved exactly what they had planned to do at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday in the American Le Mans Series’ penultimate round of the 2012 season by scoring their sixth win of the season with a perfect race.
Unlike the previous two events at Road America and Baltimore, there wasn’t much to say as the team had an uneventful race – which was exactly what they wanted – leading from the drop of the green to the checkered flag.
Klaus Graf, who was starting on pole for the fifth time this season – a seventh for the team – built a lead of over a minute by the time a yellow flag came out about one hour into the four hour race.
Having seen his lead taken away after the field regrouped for the restart, the German resumed where he left off. By the time he headed to pit lane for fuel, a fresh set of Michelin tires and a driver change to Lucas Luhr with about two hours to go, he had lapped the entire field.
With Luhr now aboard the #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a, the team continued its domination with the German gaining another two laps on the competition all while registering the fastest race lap at VIR with a time of one minute 36.112 seconds. A time that was faster than the previous track record (1:36.3) broken by Graf in qualifying (1:35.434).
At the end of the day, the Pickett Racing crew and drivers combined with great pit stops and flawless driving to give the Greg Pickett-led squad their sixth win of the season and more importantly an additional four points in the P1 Championship.
With today’s win, Graf and Luhr sit 13 points ahead in the Drivers Championship with nine points now separating Pickett Racing and Dyson Racing in the Team standings.
With one race left to go this season, it will all come down to the ultimate battle for the P1 Championship which will take place on October 21 at Road Atlanta with the running of Petit Le Mans.
Muscle Milk Quotes
Greg Pickett, Team Owner Muscle Milk Pickett Racing
“To get back on track here and give ourselves a little bit of breathing room going into Petit was very important. Our Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a has had really good speed and pace and it’s very competitive.
“I spent a couple of days at the shop in Indianapolis last week and asked the guys to recommit, refocus and pay a little more attention to all the little things that make a difference. I have to say, I’m very gratified and appreciative that they have done exactly that.
“We’re ready to go into Petit and get this job done. My hats off to the whole crew and Klaus and Lucas. On a difficult racetrack, I think they did a very good job of managing the race in a very professional way. I’m really humble, frankly.”
Klaus Graf, #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a
“It was a difficult race to manage from a traffic standpoint. There are certain places, where without too much risk, you just can’t get around the car and it also depends what class you are overtaking. There are huge speed differences here too.
“I pushed hard but at the same time I was conservative with the moves I made in traffic, but in the other classes some of the cars are fighting so hard, so it’s difficult for them to give you room.
“For us, we had a trouble free race, which is really what we came here to do. I think both Lucas and I drove very well and the boys did extremely well on the pit stops. We made no mistakes and had no trouble with the car so it was a perfect race for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing.”
Lucas Luhr, #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a
“It was a good day. Especially when you are always the quickest car on track. The last two races we were as quick as we were today with our Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a but we had some issues that ended up having a big influence in the race.
“So today, it’s very nice, not just for us drivers personally but for the whole team to finally get rewarded for their hard work. The boys did an amazing job in the pits with good consistent pit stops and good strategy. Klaus did a brilliant opening stint. Honestly, he did all the work today. When I got in the car, we were already one lap ahead, so for me it was easy.”
(Photo: Muscle Milk Pickett Racing)