Muscle Milk Squad Back On Top

Klaus Graf established an all-time track record at Virginia Int'l Raceway during American Le Mans Series qualifying Friday. (ALMS Photo)

ALTON, Va. – Muscle Milk Pickett Racing returned to its winning ways Saturday in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, the same day where three class driver championship battles ended at Virginia Int’l Raceway.

It marked a magical day for the ALMS in its debut at VIR.

Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr teamed for a three-lap victory in the four-hour race in Muscle Milk’s Honda Performance Development ARX-03a.

The day also belonged to Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, who clinched the GT title with a class victory; and Alex Job Racing’s Cooper MacNeil, who clinched the GT Challenge championship thanks to a class win with Leh Keen.

CORE Autosport’s Alex Popow wrapped up the Prototype Challenge title with a third-place class finish in the No. 06 ORECA FLM09 as CORE teammates Colin Braun and Jon Bennett won in the No. 05 entry.

The P1 and P2 championships will go down the season’s final race – Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta. Level 5 Motorsports’ Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker won in P2 in a back-and-forth affair with Conquest Racing’s David Heinemeier-Hansson and Martin Plowman.

After two races with electrical and mechanical issues, the Muscle Milk HPD ran faultless for the entire weekend. Graf took pole position and set an all-time VIR lap record for the 17-turn, 3.27-mile layout. Luhr recorded the fastest lap of the race and also went quicker than the previous record.

In GT, Gavin and Milner led twice for more than 3h 15m and took the lead for good at the 1h 14m mark. Gavin made his 100tth ALMS start a memorable one by clinching his fourth class championship. Milner won his first to go along with a class victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2011.

Their victory Saturday also sewed up the team championship for Corvette Racing and manufacturer title for Chevrolet.

MacNeil and Keen looked destined for a runner-up finish in GTC but took the lead on the next-to-last lap when JDX Racing’s Michael Valiante stopped for a late splash of fuel. Keen held off NGT Motorsport’s Jeroen Bleekemolen by .423 second.

The victory was the second of the year for Keen – icing on the cake for his rookie campaign.

Popow finished on the PC podium for the eighth time in as many races to win his first ALMS championship. He has four wins in his rookie season.