Bryan Sellers Brings Home 4th-Place at Home Track
Falken Factory Driver Adds 2nd Consecutive ALMS Top-4 with Mid-Ohio Run
LEXINGTON, Ohio, August 5, 2012 - Bryan Sellers returned to his native Ohio to compete in round five of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (ALMS) on August 4 bringing home a fourth-place finish at his home track. The top-five result at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge is the second-consecutive fourth-place for the native of Centerville, Ohio who now lives in Braselton, Ga. and his Team Falken Tire teammate Wolf Henzler (Germany). In addition to Saturday's result at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the pair drove the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to fourth-place in GT class two-weeks ago at Canadian Motorsports Park (CTMP).
Sellers, who witnessed many of his first races as a spectator at the Lexington, Ohio-facility, was the linchpin of Team Falken Tire this weekend. The former open-wheel racing champion was utilized as the qualifying driver - turning the ninth-quickest time in the GT class - as well as the starting and closing driver for the two-hour, 45-minute ALMS sprint race. The weekend was frustrating as the Falken operation struggled with setup and tire selection for the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. Taking advantage of every opportunity, Sellers charged up to fourth in class before handing the car over to Porsche factory driver Henzler to run the middle portion of the race. The Falken Porsche pitted a second time to put Sellers back into the car to make the final attack on the podium. The team called for fuel and a driver change, but not new tires.
Racing in front of family and friends, the young Falken factory driver did not disappoint bringing the car from sixth to fourth on his second stint. It was the second time in two races that Team Falken Tire strategy called for Sellers to make an all-out assault on the checkered flag. Both times, Sellers has proven why he is one of the sport's hottest talents.
The strategy to start and end the race with Sellers was unique and a major gamble as most teams start one driver and finish with the second. Trusting Falken's hard compound Azenis race tire could double stint on the notoriously tough circuit, the team then put all its dreams of Mid-Ohio success on Sellers' experienced shoulders. The two-time ALMS race-winner would not let the team down. Tasked with the chore of gaining as many positions as possible with well-worn tires, Sellers excelled; rising to the occasion as is his custom. His run towards the podium impressed all with a keen understanding of the sport. Without his ability to balance speed and smoothness, the team would not be celebrating two successive top-five finishes.
Sellers will now have one week off before returning to the Team Falken Tire Porsche for the four-hour Road Race Showcase at Road America. The Elkhart Lake, Wisc.-facility will host round six of the 10-race season on August 18. See event details at www.ALMS.com.
On the Mid-Ohio race: "We tried something new with the strategy at Mid-Ohio with me starting and finishing the race while Wolf took the middle stint. We needed everything to be perfect to get a top-five result. One of the things we spoke about as a team was the physicality of the track as well as the heat and the impact those had on Wolf and I as drivers. Our driver changes happen very fast so there was no concern that doing one more change would slow us down. So, it made sense to have a fresh driver in at the end of the race.
The team executed well, much like they did in the last race. The pit stops were strong, as well as the strategy. We didn't show any more speed in the race than we did in testing but we had some durability and a lot of resilience as a team! I am very proud of all of Team Falken Tire. This was all about teamwork again!"
On his final stint: "We didn't have enough speed to be on the podium outright so, at the end, it became about pushing to stay ahead of the others. Unfortunately, there was no chance to lay-off and save tires. I had cars breathing down my neck all race and I was pushing as hard as I could for over an hour. The team did a great job this race and my approach was to try and show them what they had done by putting everything I had into getting every position I could at the end."
On the double-stint of the Falken Azenis tires: "We were surprised that we were able to double-stint the tires. I am sure everyone in the pit lane was surprised too! Tires just don't do that at Mid-Ohio. But, our Falken tires held the same lap time all race and it allowed us to do the double. It wasn't really a strategy we had planned on but it is a strategy that presented itself in the middle of the race and we took it."
On comparing the Mid-Ohio and CTMP races: "The races were both very similar. We needed to be on our game to get a result and we were able to do so at both tracks. In both cases we had a car that wasn't nearly fast enough but were able to take what we did have and turn it into a decent result. It is another good weekend with a good momentum swing for Team Falken Tire. Now we just need to keep climbing the rungs of the ladder a little higher."
For more on Bryan Sellers, please visit him on the web at www.BryanSellersRacing.com. Follow Bryan on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/BryanSellers) and LIKE him on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/BryanSellersRacing.
Visit www.FalkenTire.com for more on Team Falken Tire. Learn more about the American Le Mans Series at www.ALMS.com.
Go R/C racing with Bryan at www.HPIRACING.com.