Dempsey and Foster Finish 6th in GTC Class at Long Beach
ALMS - Long Beach, CA
The No. 27 Tully's Porsche's finish matched the team’s performance in last month’s season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring where Dempsey, Foster and Andy Lally finished one spot ahead of Dempsey Del Piero’s sister No. 10 Tully’s Coffee Porsche 911 GT3. Lead driver Michael Avenatti and teammate Bob Faieta were at the wheel of the No. 10 Tully’s Porsche this weekend at Long Beach but never had a chance to race to the checkered flag after being taken out in an early contact incident. The early exit did little to dampen Del Piero’s enthusiasm for his new team and first American Le Mans Series (ALMS) experience.
“It was a typically challenging but certainly, at times, rewarding ALMS GTC race, particularly on a punishing track like Long Beach, but it was good for Alessandro to see what this is all about,” said Dempsey, the popular actor/race car driver who welcomed his new team partner Del Piero to a race for the first time. “It would have been great if the No. 10 could have finished, that’s Alessandro’s number, but I don’t think the ups and downs of a sports car race are too far removed from what he experiences in soccer. We loved having him here, it was great watching him get a feel for it and we can’t wait to see him at a race again.”
Dempsey started the No. 27 Tully’s Porsche in the two-hour sprint race and dashed into the pits during an early yellow flag. The team immediately checked on what felt to Dempsey like failed rear axle bolts, but some quick pit work and a speedy follow up safety-check stop kept the No. 27 Tully’s Porsche in the race.
“We kind of lucked out,” Foster said. “When the first yellow came out, Patrick was at the end of the longest line, so it meant we could work on the car without losing any position. The guys took their time to make sure everything was done properly, sent him out for a lap to check, looked at it again, and we really didn't lose anything in the process. Patrick drove a great race from there on before I got in.”
Dempsey pitted for the final time to hand off the No. 27 Tully’s Porsche to Foster at the race’s 55 minute mark.
“We were actually very lucky when the issue with the rear happened,” Dempsey said. “It could have been catastrophic, but when the yellow came out I was on the back straight, so I just ducked in and we were able to look at it. The pace was good all day, and with our team’s great strategy, managed to get our lap back, and the rest of the day was fairly solid." Foster’s closing stint was “clean and green” and he successfully defended the No. 27 Tully’s Porsche team’s hard-earned track position.
“When my stint began, we were about a half-lap down from the leaders, and when the race ended an hour and five minutes later, we were in the same position,” Foster said. “We managed to gain solid points and keep the car in one piece.”
Like Foster, Avenatti was making his Long Beach debut but the No. 10 Tully’s Porsche had its shot of making it to the finish taken away early. Faieta never even had the chance to drive.
"Pretty frustrating day,” said Avenatti, a key partner in the new Dempsey Del Piero Racing collaboration. “We got punted in the middle of a corner after five laps. I haven't had a chance to talk to the other driver. I'm not certain what happened, but needless to say I'm not happy about it. We'd moved up from eighth to fifth, and I think we could have had a podium finish today, but it's racing and I understand that. It's still frustrating nonetheless."
Next up for the American Le Mans Series and Dempsey Del Piero Racing is the American Le Mans Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, May 9 – 11, 2013.
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