WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 29, 2014) – Paul Miller Racing drivers Bryce Miller and Christopher Haase endured a grueling Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday to finish eighth in the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS, the fifth round of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona (GTD) class at Watkins Glen International.
“Today wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for, but we have a clean car and we’re really hitting our marks as a team,” Bryce Miller said. “Everything was very well prepared, and with each session we’re really clicking and understanding what the car needs. We’re fifth in the points and that’s a great place for the second half of the season, however we really need to work hard to catch the championship leaders.”
A pre-race decision to change tires moved the No. 48 to the back of the starting field, but opening driver Miller quickly improved several positions, gaining immediate ground on the leaders. With Miller and Haase trading driving duties throughout the six-hour race, the emphasis during the early stages was to carefully close the gap on the field in front while preserving the Audi for the end.
An unusual amount of green flag laps in the opening hours had the team gamble to run fuel stints for as long as possible. But a yellow flag near the two-hour mark caught the team off guard and the Paul Miller Racing entry ran out of fuel. After stalling on track, the No. 48 team lost several laps to the leaders and, as is often the case at Watkins Glen, never really had an opportunity to make them up in the second half of the race.
With the team needing a series of caution periods to try and gain ground while working a comeback strategy, a long green-flag stretch at the race’s midpoint made the rebound difficult. The team still managed a top-10 finish despite the challenges, crossing the finish line in eighth place, five laps down from the leaders.
“We were really hoping for more yellows in the race, but they never came,” Miller said. “It could have been a lot worse, and we really need a clean car for Mosport, so we’ll take what we’ve learned and be ready.”
Paul Miller Racing came to Watkins Glen on the heels of consecutive podium finishes of second and third in the last two TUDOR Championship races at Laguna Seca and Belle Isle Detroit, respectively.
Haase was an important part of that success and managed to continue the top results at last weekend’s 24 Hours of Nurburgring. He won the race overall for the second time in three years in a Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS. Among his co-drivers was Rene Rast who also raced with Haase, Bryce Miller and British driver Matt Bell in the No. 48 at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“For sure, I have enjoyed this success a lot but you have to stay calm and focus yourself on each race weekend like new,” Haase said. “As a driver, I need a great team which I have with Paul Miller Racing and Phoenix Racing in Europe. On the other hand, I love the Audi R8 LMS and the will of iron to win races for Audi Sport Customer Racing as well for the teams.”
With two weeks until the next event, Paul Miller Racing will turn the Audi R8 LMS around quickly for the upcoming race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. As a tricky, 2.46-mile course with sweeping elevation changes, the team has high hopes that the course configuration will suit the needs of the Audi.
Practice will begin Friday, July 11, with the race being broadcast Sunday, July 13, at 2 p.m. EDT live on FOX Sports 1.
– While The Glen was an all-new experience for Haase, it is practically a home track for the New Jersey-based Millers. Team owner Paul Miller, Bryce Miller’s father, was born in the Rochester, New York community of Pittsford and first attended a Watkins Glen event in 1951 at the age of six. He and his brother, Kenper Miller, went on to become regular and competitive sports car drivers in IMSA and Trans-Am, and Paul Miller has made countless starts on the 3.4-mile Glen road course. A young Bryce Miller was there for many of his father’s races. “The Glen is a little bit of a stomping ground for us,” Bryce Miller said. “Our family always made it up to the Glen to watch my Dad’s races years ago. When I was racing formula cars, The Glen was always part of our circuit as well. The track and that area are familiar to our family and it brings back a lot of memories and nostalgia.”