BRABHAM, SHARP RETURN TO VICTORY CIRCLE AT ROAD AMERICA

Clcik on image to view event slideshowBrabham and Sharp won for the second straight season at Road America. They were LMP2 class winners last season by 0.867 seconds. It was just as - if not more - tense Sunday.

The de Ferran and Patrón Highcroft Acuras swapped the lead four times in the first 55 laps, mostly on pit strategies. But the final one with seven minutes remaining set up the duel between close friends and even closer competitors.

In LMP2, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing’s Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz won for the sixth time in seven races in their Acura ARX-01b with a 6.742-second victory over Dyson Racing’s Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti. The Lowe’s Fernandez crew elected not to change tires on its final pit stop with approximately 30 minutes left.

The strategy worked Sunday just like it did in Utah and last week at Mid-Ohio. The call for tires came at the same time Leitzinger’s crew put four fresh Michelins on the Lola-Mazda thinking the decision and new rubber would allow Leitzinger to run down the Acura.

BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team scored its first victory in its first year of a partnership that saw Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen lead a 1-2 GT2 finish for the new BMW M3. Auberlen and Hand gained nearly a full lap on the rest of the field on an early-race wave-by when John Baker in one of ORBIT Racing’s Challenge class Porsches went off at Turn 12.

That was all they needed for BMW’s first victory in the American Le Mans Series since Petit Le Mans in 2001.

Dirk Mueller and Tommy Milner placed second in their BMW M3, and the Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen placed third in their Corvette C6.R. The E85-powered car also won the GT portion of the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge for the second straight event.

But the weekend belonged to BMW. The M3s were quickest in all four testing and practice sessions, qualified on pole and posted the fastest GT2 race lap.

Martin and Melanie Snow scored their second straight Challenge class victory and third in four races with their Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry. They beat the Gruppe Orange Porsche of Nick Parker and Donald Pickering by one lap.

The race wasn’t that easy though. Just as it did in other classes, the yellow flag stops and a long opening stint by Pickering put Melanie Snow on the attack throughout her stint.

Pickering finally pitted just shy of the two-hour mark for a driver change, and Martin Snow gained the lap advantage in that period. One of the bigger challenges for Snow in his final stint was watching for the faster cars in the braking zones while yet being nearly as quick in a straightline as the GT2 runners.

The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 30. The race will air live on SPEED. American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche and Living Timing & Scoring will be available at Racehub on americanlemans.com. Live coverage also can be heard on Sirius 126 and XM 242.