Dyson Salvages Second in Chaotic Mid-Ohio Trans Am, Road America This weekend

June 24, 2024

Dyson Salvages Second in Chaotic Mid-Ohio Trans Am, Road America This weekend

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (June 24, 2024) – When rain started falling during the pace lap for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Trans Am race on Sunday, Chris Dyson made quick but calculated decision to surrender his front-row starting position and duck into the pits to change to rain tires on his #16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang. Although the stop dropped the defending race winner to the back of the field, it proved a canny move; Dyson scythed through the field and into the lead while his competitors struggled on the wet pavement before eventually making their own stops.

“It was a gamble, but I knew the odds were in our favor,” Dyson said later. “The weather was not in favor of slicks. From so many years of long-distance racing the team is well-practiced in executing fast, flawless pit stops. And although these are 100-mile sprints with no planned pit stops, we have air jacks on our car and practice for these situations."

By the fourth lap Dyson enjoyed a 45-second lead on second-place runner Paul Menard before a full-course yellow – the first of several over the course of the race – bunched up the field and allowed the rest of the field to change to rain tires.

Because the 900-horsepower TA-class cars aren’t permitted to use driver aids like traction control or antilock brakes there’s a premium on driver skill. In the rain that premium is doubled.

Dyson continued to extend his lead by a second per lap through the first third of the race, but misfortune struck when he got caught out by a faulty gear shift at Turn 1, running wide onto the wet grass before stoutly hitting the tire barrier. Dyson carefully avoided the gravel trap and eased the banged up but mechanically intact car back onto the pavement to complete the lap and then pitted so the crew could remove the damaged hood, which was blocking his forward view.

"My engineers and I just spent the last half hour trying to figure out from the data what happened there," a subdued Dyson said after emerging from the team's hauler. "I didn't do anything different or 'wrong' on the corner entry, which makes it more difficult to swallow what happened on the shift. Up to then and even afterwards, the car was flying. I was managing my pace and I was very comfortable out front. The conditions were so tricky but we had a really usable balance and I was feeling really confident."

Quick work by the crew meant that the GYM WEED Mustang got back onto the circuit without going a lap down. A combination of faster laps by Dyson than race leader Menard and his competitors' misfortunes brought Dyson back to second place, less than 10 seconds behind race-winner Menard when the race was called nine laps short of the scheduled 45 due to the series’ 75-minute race time limit.

“It’s disappointing not to come away from Mid-Ohio with a win, when we had a winning car and a winning race strategy,” Dyson said. “But we were fortunate not to have hurt the car badly when I went off and to be able to rally back to second place. Now it’s on to Road America, which is one of my favorite tracks and another place where the team has deep history.”

Next Up: Road America
In six Trans Am starts Dyson has scored two wins (2020 and 2021) and finished on the podium in all four of his most recent Trans Am starts at the classic Wisconsin circuit. He has captured the pole three times. In only one race, when he won in 2021, did he fail to start on the front row. Runner-up in last year, Dyson is optimistic for his chances this weekend.

“I love everything about Road America,” Dyson said. “In addition to being such a beautiful natural circuit with enthusiastic fans and amazing heritage, it’s a very fast track where TA cars can stretch their legs. But the elevation changes and blind corners make it a real driver’s and engineers' challenge.  We have to work on optimizing braking and traction, and trimming out the car for the long straights."

The Dyson Racing Team has fielded entries at Road America since the early 1980s. The team scored IMSA wins there in 1985, 1987 and 2003, including the closest-ever victory in American Le Mans Series history in 2012. Chris Dyson won the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge event.

For more on Chris Dyson Racing.

Mid-Ohio Rebroadcast Schedule
In addition to the livestream, 60-minute feature produced by Greenlight TV will be broadcast the following Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET to MAVTV’s 22 million North American linear households and 175 million connected devices.

Road America Schedule
Qualifying takes place Saturday, June 29, 3:40 – 3:55 PM CT - 3:55 PM (4:40 – 4:55 PM ET)

The 100-mile race takes the green flag Sunday, June 30, at 1:05 PM CT (2:05 PM ET)

Road America Broadcast Schedule
The Road America race will be live-streamed on both the Trans Am and SpeedTour’s YouTube channels.

Additional Broadcast Coverage On MAVTV

In addition to the livestream, highlights of the race will be broadcast the following Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET to MAVTV’s 22 million North American linear households and 175 million connected devices. 



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