CD Racing's Brabham & Andretti Take 1st and 2nd at Sebring Season Opener, Dyson a Mechanical DNF After Fighting for Race Lead
February 27, 2023
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (February 27, 2023) – It was a triumphant start for Chris Dyson Racing’s 2023 Trans Am by Pirelli campaign with Matthew Brabham taking the race win in team’s #20 GYM WEED Ford Mustang, followed closely across the finish line by Adam Andretti in the #21 allgram Ford Mustang. But it was a disappointing start to Chris Dyson’s quest for a third straight Trans Am championship. Dyson and his #16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang were hounding pole-sitter and early race leader Justin Marks as the 100-mile sprint race approached the halfway mark when his car retired on course with a mechanical issue.
“I’m always happy to win” Brabham said. “But it was disappointing that Chris wasn’t there to fight it out at the end with Adam and me. Sweeping the podium would have been amazing!”
“Congratulations and thanks to Matty and Adam for the great job they did this weekend,” Dyson said, noting that Brabham has now started six races for the team, winning four and finishing second in the other two. “This may not have been the weekend I was looking for as a driver, but it was a fine one for the team. Matty was right there on pace all week, and he was charging into the lead when I had a problem. And Adam, who is a longtime friend of our family, did a great job standing in for Humaid (Masaood) when he couldn’t make it this weekend.”
The first half of the race unfolded as Dyson had expected, with the top cars balancing between fighting tooth and nail for position and conserving their tires. “I’ve raced a lot at Sebring and I won here the past two seasons by making sure I had a good car for the end of the race. I was driving well within the car’s capabilities, taking good care of the tires,” Dyson said later. “I could see that Justin was struggling a bit with his car, locking up the brakes sometimes and struggling in a few corners. I was looking for where to make my move and then we rapidly lost power in Cunningham (Turn 10) shortly after a restart. I tried to limp it back to pit lane but the engine was overheating badly and I had no choice but to shut it down. It was so disappointing. Our team has had such great reliability the past two seasons.”
Dyson noted that the race’s uncharacteristically heavy mechanical toll, a product at least in part of the notoriously rough racing surface at Sebring, meant that many of his championship competitors fared little better than Dyson did, while his teammates’ first- and second-place finishes reduced the points scored by those other championship contenders.
New Riley Car Shows Its Mettle
The other good news for the team was the reliability and speed of Brabham’s #20, a new Riley chassis the team began developing late last season. “It’s very encouraging that the Riley car stood up to the beating this place gave it,” Dyson said. “I outqualified Matty, but Matty set the fastest race lap. We learned a lot here for setup after having some struggles in offseason testing with the new car. The "cookbook" of chassis setup is progressing nicely. And we know all the cars in our stable are fast enough to win – that's exciting.”
On To New Orleans & Road Atlanta
The second race of the season is set for March 9-12 at NOLA Motorsports Park near New Orleans, a new stop for the Trans Am. Two weeks later the series returns to Road Atlanta, where last season Dyson won from the pole.
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