A home race for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will see the team start on pole position. Klaus Graf was the fastest qualifier for the American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón on Friday with a lap of 1:13.573 (109.508 mph) in his Honda Performance Development ARX-03a prototype.
He and Lucas Luhr will try to deliver Muscle Milk its first victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Graf out-qualified Dyson Racing's Guy Smith by 1.785 seconds. It was a welcomed sight for the team based out of Benecia, Calif., less than three hours to the north of Monterey.
"We have not been on pole here as a team, but the HPD cars have always done well here," Graf said. "We've improved the car in each session. That is the goal no matter if there are two cars or 10 cars in the class. We have also worked with Michelin in testing to bring our street soft tire from Long Beach (a Muscle Milk victory) and make it work here. It says a lot about how well they make tires."
The Muscle Milk and Dyson squads enter the race tied for the P1 championship lead; Dyson won at Sebring and Muscle Milk last month in Long Beach. For the Mazda Raceway round, the teams are taking different approaches when it comes to the driving lineup.
While Graf and Luhr go at it alone, Smith is set to team with Chris Dyson and Johnny Mowlem in the Dyson Lola-Mazda coupe.
"Greg (Pickett, team owner) gave us the chance to drive with two drivers. It gives us maximum track time to dial in the car. Certainly it's physically demanding, but we've done it before. The pace will be close and we're going to be pushing the whole time. You don't want to get out of the rhythm, but you can beat yourself here with all the cars in different classes.