After a season filled with poles, podiums and wins in 2011. The first half of 2012 has proved to be quite character building for the young race driver. It’s now just past the halfway point in the American Le Mans Series Championship and although Kyle Marcelli has continued his proven speedy pace behind the wheel, he had not seen the podium until this past weekend’s Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio’s Sports Car Couse. Marcelli and co-driver Anthony Downs secured a well-deserved third place finish for the newly formed Merchant Services Racing #8 LMPC.
“It feels like some weight has been lifted off my shoulders”. Said Marcelli. “I understand many drivers and even manufactures go through dry periods but this one was tough for me. I want to win! We have been so fast and so close to victory multiple times this year yet silly things would happen. I’m very happy for myself and the team to finally be back on the podium”.
The #8 Merchant Services Racing LMPC entry has been in winning position many times this season but trivial things have went wrong. Dating back to Laguna Seca, with only fifteen-minutes remaining, the team had a thirty-plus second lead over second place after six-hours. A late race caution bunched up the filed and with only one lap to go, contact from another class competitor took Marcelli out of contention. Then, the lone stop north of the boarder at Mosport International Raceway, Marcelli had driven a dominant race but with about twenty-minutes remaining, suffered a catastrophic tire failure. Unsure what caused this rare failure but leaning towards debris. Nonetheless, another victory was missed. To be back on the podium at Mid-Ohio was certainly over due for Marcelli and the Merchant Services Racing team.
“If you look at our historical data thru the course of the season, the numbers tell the story. We’ve had fast laps, qualified on the pole, but have had first places finishes ripped out of our hands,” said Brian Alder, Team Manager and Principal. Our team has developed a very good working relationship, I’m very proud of the hard work each member has put in and it’s nice to finally reward them with a result.”