In a race that featured some of the closest finishes ever seen in three of the four American Le Mans Series classes, Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro completed a notable hat-trick of race wins that helped to extend their still slim championship lead a little further.

Victory for the European pair's #2 Champion Racing Audi was the third in as many races, and the 3.239secs margin of victory in Sunday's Generac 500 was made all the more important as it came over the #20 Dyson Racing Lola of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson, with main title rivals - and Champion team-mates - JJ Lehto and Marco Werner a further 3.7secs back in third. As a result, Biela and Pirro extended their lead in the LMP1 category to 15 points, with three rounds left.

"We came in with the lead in the championship, and our strategy was to do our best," Pirro said, "But we knew we didn't have to win races to win the championship. What really made me very happy is that, coming here, we were kind of conservative, but we were able to come in and win more points. That's why you could see some tears in my eyes when Frankie crossed the finish line. Just kidding!"

All joking aside, it was a toss-up for most of the day between the two Audis and the two Lolas. The pole-sitting #16 Dyson car of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger ruined its chances when Weaver went into a gravel trap about an hour into the race, allowing the event to boil down to pit-strategy. However, the #2 team only won in the waning moments, after the #1 car was assessed a penalty.

Pirro and Biela excelled on the high-speed track, and said they expect to do the same thing two weeks from now at Mosport. Another victory would give them an even stronger hold on the championship crown.

"It looks a little better than three races ago, there is no doubt," Biela admitted, "Everyone in our team is very happy. We've had three very good races, and it feels really good looking at the points and thinking of the championship. On the other hand, I think we saw three wins in a row from the #1 car [earlier in the year] and then it ran into trouble, so we have to keep our focus. I hope that everybody knows that we'll try to do a good job. We do have a comfortable lead."

Despite suffering a minor damage in an early-race collision, the #10 Miracle Motorsports Courage of Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry took its third LMP2 victory of the season.

McMurry and the #63 GT1 class ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen made contact on the opening lap, causing slight rear-left damage to the Courage. Although mostly cosmetic, it did slow the car down. However, the Miracle team leaved up to its name, gaining a large slice of luck when the #37 Intersport Lola, with Liz Halliday at the wheel, caught fire just shy of the 30-minute mark. Halliday was able to exit the car, but the damage already was done.

"I was coming through Canada corner smelling smoke, then I lost the gears, and next thing I know the guys are radioing me that I'm on fire," Halliday said, "All I was worried about was getting off the track and not causing a seven-car pile-up. I just wanted to stay out of everyone's way."

The misfortune also moved Bucknum and McMurry back into first place in the LMP2 class standings, now with a six-point advantage over Halliday's co-driver, Clint Field. Miracle also holds a similar margin over Intersport in the team standings.

"[The collision] broke the left corner of the diffuser and a little bodywork," Bucknum revealed, "It was a little scary as it was cutting into the tyre but, fortunately, it didn't cut the tyre without getting deep enough to lose air. Once it was fixed, it drove great."

The #19 van der Steur Racing Lola of Ben Devlin and Gunnar van der Steur finished second, matching its best finish of the season from Lime Rock.

GT1 was, once again, all about Corvette Racing, with the #4 C6-R of Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin just holding off the sister car of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell by 0.142secs in a thrilling finish. The reigning Le Mans class champions thus won for the third time in four races, and climbed within three points of the ALMS class lead held by Ron and O'Connell.

"I think things have fallen into place for Olivier and myself over the last few races," Gavin said, "We've seemed to gel and get things going. We had a little luck today, and we want to keep it up. Mosport is usually good for us - we know it's Ron home track, but we won there last year. We're looking forward to the rest of the year."

More important for all four drivers was clinching a fifth straight team championship for Corvette Racing, along with Corvette's fifth consecutive manufacturer's title as the assembled Saleen and Maserati challenge again failed to prove sufficient.

"It's very impressive considering its the first year of the C6-R, and that there are still three rounds to go," Gavin said, "And we had 25 extra kilos [of ballast on board], so that says a lot."

The 1-2 finish for Corvette Racing also gave Michelin the GT1 tyre championship, its second in a row.

"After the yellow, I knew Johnny would be good on the restart," Beretta said, "The last thing I wanted was contact between the two yellow 'Vettes, so I didn't need to take any risks. I just tried to take care and push just a little bit to make sure I didn't overtake him. It was important to finish 1-2 again. It was a great show for the TV and the fans. It's perfect."

The #31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lighting Racing Porsche of Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister returned to victory lane for the first time since Sebring with GT2 class victory at Road America, ensuring the numerically dominant Porsche marque of its fourth straight GT2 manufacturers' championship.

Long held off Romain Dumas' #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche during the last five minutes, after the Frenchman had ceded the on-track advantage to Flying Lizard's Jon Fogarty with a late stop for fuel under a caution period with less than ten minutes to go. The yellow had bunched the field sufficiently for Long to get within striking distance of the double Toyota Atlantic champion, however, and he passed Fogarty on the restart with six minutes.

Dumas and Timo Bernhard maintained their lead in the drivers' championship, however, although the advantage was trimmed to two points over Long and Bergmeister, who led through the first part of the season. The difference is the same in the team standings, with Alex Job Racing heading Petersen/White Lightning.

"I had the mentality that I wasn't going to give this one up," Long admitted, "It would have been interesting if [Dumas] would have made a run, but we've shown that we can run with them. For race victories, we've been chasing them, and this was another great one. For a single car team from Las Vegas going against the guys from AJR, that's something else."

Founders Cup awards, for privateers who best demonstrate the ideals of 'gentlemen drivers' went to Ian Baas, Justin Jackson and Chris McMurry.



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