Out of Luck in Baltimore

September 04, 2011

Patrick Long and the Flying Lizard team had a very eventful weekend at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, in Baltimore, MD, qualifying 3rd but being penalized to the back of the field, then experiencing a sheared driveshaft on lap one of the race. Long caused a minor sensation in the ALMS paddock during qualifying, when he made contact with two of his competitors’ GT cars during the 15-minute session, including an incident with the #62 Ferrari after its driver Jamie Melo pulled onto the racing line during his cool-down lap, balking Patrick on his last flying qualifying lap. As a result of the contact, both Long and Melo were judged by the stewards to have contravened the rules, and were sent to the back of the grid, negating Patrick’s excellent p3 qualifying effort.

Patrick said, “I had such a great start. I was P7 and just biding my time, letting the traffic work its way out. The car was solid and fast. I was talking to the guys on the radio when suddenly I knew I had a big problem. I was just past the pits at that point so I had to go slowly for a full circuit before I could get back in.” In the pits, the crew replaced the rear drive shaft and the left rear upright. The lengthy repair pushed Patrick far back in the field: more than 15 laps down on the GT leader.

Long continued, “Once I got back on track, I was really happy with the car setup but I was so far back that there wasn’t much I could do with only 90 minutes left in the race. It was fun to run in tandem with the 44: they did a great job today. That’s the thing about racing there are so many things out of your control: we had the car today, but not the luck.”

By all accounts, the inaugural race in Baltimore has been judged a success. Despite lengthy delays on Friday for completion of the track itself and massive lines of fans looking to move around the circuit, the entirety of downtown Baltimore was packed with race fans, and the car corrals full of Porsches, BMWs, Corvettes, Ferraris, Aston Martins and Lamborghinis.

Patrick and Flying Lizard race next at the ALMS 6 Hours of Laguna Seca, in Monterey, CA, on Sep. 15-17. Live streaming of qualifying and the race can be viewed at https://www.espn3.com.