At this weekend’s WeatherTech Raceway Trans Am SpeedFest at Monterey’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Chris Dyson will look to add to his existing bank of good memories from the California road circuit. Currently second in the Trans Am Championship Presented by Pirelli TA-class point standings, Dyson seeks his first race victory of 2019 following second- and fourth-place finishes with his Plaid Mustang in the first two rounds.
It was at the Monterey Peninsula track that Dyson clinched the 2011 American Le Mans Series driver title. “We also won the pole at Laguna that year and in 2010 as well,” Dyson noted. “I’ve always enjoyed racing there and our team has done well. We’ve learned a lot from the first two races so I’m optimistic about this weekend. Burtin Racing has won the first two races, but I think we have an excellent shot to win this one.”
According to Dyson, success at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn hilly circuit requires that both driver and race engineer answer the riddle of how to make the car go fast for a lap and still be able to keep the tires working for the full 45 laps of the 100-mile race. The engineer and driver need to find the chassis balance required for a circuit that is technical in nature but also features some long corners.
“Tire wear is a big issue at Laguna,” Dyson said. “But you need a good front end. The track surface tends to be generally very low-grip and with more than 800 horsepower and big torque available it takes discipline to keep the tires under the car so you’ve got a strong car for the last laps of the race.”
Dyson noted that qualifying will be more important at WeatherTech Raceway than at some other tracks on the schedule.
“There are really just a couple spots for passing,” he said. “But if they want to, at Laguna the driver ahead of you can make it very difficult to pass. At the end of the race you’d much rather be leading than following. We’re going to do our best to qualify in the first two rows.”
A big month of May for CD Racing
Hard on the heels of Dyson’s top-10 performance last Sunday in the USAC Silver Crown series Rollie Beale Classic at Toledo Speedway, Dyson heads into the month of May with two more Silver Crown Champ Car Series events and the Lime Rock Park Trans Am race. The week leading up to Memorial Day will be particularly busy for Dyson. He will be competing in the CD Racing dirt Silver Crown car at the one-mile Indiana State Fairgrounds on Thursday evening, in the team’s pavement Silver Crown car at the two-thirds mile Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis on Friday evening, doing Trans Am practice the next day at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park and then qualifying and racing there on Monday.
“That’s going to be a really full week for both our road racing and open-wheel operations,” Dyson said. “Both shops are fully prepared, and I am really stoked for how many events we have this month. But racing is about taking it one day at a time and staying in the moment. So while Lime Rock is our home track, my focus this weekend will be fully on racing at Laguna and I won’t turn my attention to Lime Rock until I get out of the Silver Crown car Friday night.”
“Still, there’s something special about the Month of May as a racer,” Dyson continued. “I always find myself getting more focused and determined this time of year, especially when Indy is involved. Throw in a return to my home track at Lime Rock for Trans Am, with all our family history there on Memorial Day, and it’s all happening. It is hard to contain the excitement. I am so grateful for these opportunities.”