Team Ohlins / Langston Motorsports / KTM Season Best at IndyMonday, March 19, 2012 | 9:00 PM
The team was at full strength this weekend with the return of Taylor Futrell (#86) who has been recovering from a collarbone injury. Les Smith (#46) and AJ Catanzaro (#93) both made the night show with 11th and 17th place qualifying times respectively. Taylor encountered some unfortunate mechanical issues in the first free practice that prevented him from participating in the first timed session. He made the second timed session but a lingering mechanical issue forced him to miss the night show.
AJ was in the second heat race and came off the gate with a mid-pack start. He worked his way into a qualifying position where he remained until an untimely mistake on the last lap put him into the LCQ. AJ did not get a good start in the LCQ and was unable to work himself into a transfer position.
“I rode well enough in my heat race to qualify but did not finish the job,” said AJ. “I am somewhat frustrated right now because I know I am capable of so much more but can’t seem to make it happen at race time.”
Les Smith had the best night of his season. He too was in the second heat race and came off the gate with a top ten start. Les made some key passes early on and worked his way up to a season best 5th place finish moving him straight to the main event. In the main event, Les had a mid-pack start and was on the move getting into 10th position when during the 5th lap the race was red flagged. There was a staggered green flag GNCC style re-start to continue the main. Les was able to maintain his 10th position off the start taking 9th place around the mid-way point. Les finished in 9th giving him his best overall finish for the season.
“Even though I did take a nasty spill in the whoop section during free practice, I felt really good on the bike and the track all night,” said Les. “Man, seeing the smile on my mechanic Nick Burns’ face every lap made it even more fun. Our team is really coming together and I have a lot more work to put in so we can keep improving,” he said.
Grant Langston, Team Manager, said “I am so happy for Les, he’s such a good kid and really earned this result. I knew it was only a matter of time before he would be in the top ten and I know he will now only work harder to continue improving,” he said. “It feels especially good knowing we were the top KTM Lites team of the evening. Now we just have to find the right changes to make in AJ’s program so he can start living up to his potential,” Langston said.
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