POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (March 13, 2023) – Chris Dyson seized the lead mid-way through the first lap of the 100-mile Trans Am by Pirelli race at NOLA Motorsports Park and led the rest way to the checkered flag, with his CD Racing teammate Matthew Brabham finishing second, 6.271 seconds behind. Justin Marks finished third, trailing the CD Racing duo by nearly a minute. The event, contested in hot and humid New Orleans weather, marked the team’s second consecutive sweep of the top two steps of the podium and for Dyson was a sweet follow-up to the season opener last month at Sebring where an engine problem sidelined him at the halfway point while battling for the race lead.
“It was a hard day, but another 1-2 for the team and I’m back in the fight for the championship,” Dyson said after climbing from his winning #16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang. The two-time defending series champion noted that he’d been well-served by the intense physical conditioning program he has pursued over the winter months. “You just can’t let up in these cars, but you also need to keep the tires and car ready for the last few laps of the race. And as the driver you need to have the physical resources get everything out of the car. But that’s what makes racing Trans Am so rewarding.”
This weekend the character of the race was set before the first lap was completed. As the green flag waved, Brabham, who won at Sebring after Dyson’s car broke and qualified second at NOLA, drove around the outside of pole-sitter Marks in the first turn. Marks locked up his tires under braking at the next corner, hitting the rear of Brabham’s # 20 GYM WEED Ford Mustang. Dyson, following closely, shot past both of them and into a lead he would never surrender.
Half a lap later Marks locked up his front tires again and shot off the track. By the time Marks scrambled back onto the racing surface Dyson and Brabham had established a three-quarter-minute lead.
“It wasn’t as comfortable as it might have looked,” Dyson said. “Justin is an excellent driver with a very fast car. Matty and I knew Justin couldn’t catch us if the track stayed green, but if we had a full-course yellow it would be a fight among the three of us for the win. All bets would be off.”
Brabham’s Slippery Drama
As it turned out, the track stayed green and Dyson was able to maintain a comfortable margin without overextending his car or himself. For Brabham, who emerged with the championship lead, circumstances proved more challenging. Leaking engine oil found its way back into the cockpit as the race approached its finish.
“The floor was covered with oil,” Brabham reported afterwards. “I’m glad we made it to the end.”
Dyson New Orleans Heritage
This past weekend wasn’t the first Dyson triumph in New Orleans. It wasn’t even the first sweep of the top positions of the podium. Or the first Dyson New Orleans win for a Riley chassis. Even the car numbers were the same! In 1995 the Dyson Racing Team scored a memorable 1-2 finish in the running of the Grand Prix du Mardi Gras, held on a downtown street circuit. James Weaver was first under the checkered flag in the team’s Ford-powered #16 Riley & Scott Mk III, with Butch Leitzinger close behind in the team’s #20 car.
“Winning here 28 years later in a Ford-powered Riley car feels really special,” Dyson said. “It’s been said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. I’d say in this case it echoes.”
Next Up: Road Atlanta
The Trans Am series next stop is March 23-26 at Road America. A favorite circuit of Dyson’s over the course of his racing career he won Trans Am races there in 2020 and last year, both times from the pole.
NOLA Rebroadcast Schedule
A 60-minute feature on the NOLA race, produced by Greenlight TV, will be broadcast this 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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