Photo by John Thawley It came down to the last two laps of tonight's 100-minute sprint race at Long Beach, to see Highcroft Racing's race strategy pay off in spades and catapult the #9 Acura ARX-01a to the front of the Acura trio. Finishing fourth overall and in class, team owner Duncan Dayton called the last minutes of the race "a real cliffhanger. We were hoping we had enough fuel to get home, which we did. Unfortunately, the other two Acuras didn't. We're very happy to be the lead Acura and pleased that David and Stefan did a good job - David had a tough time going out on cold tires after the yellow and did a spin - but thankfully it didn't impact the end result."

With a full course yellow in the early stages of the race, due to Rahal Letterman's Porsche clipping the wall, Johansson slowed accordingly, timing his pit stop precisely at the 30-minute mark, allowing Brabham to finish the remaining 110 minutes of the race. Team Manager, Robin Hill explained that the team "had talked about the nature of a short sprint race including the uncertainty of the timing of the yellow and balancing minimum and maximum driving times. Pre-race, we discussed the possibility of a yellow around the half-hour mark, the first permissible driver change, and fortunately, that's exactly what happened. We stayed plugged in with conserving fuel because we knew that was going to be issue and it paid out for us. At the end, the car was low on fuel but not out."

Brabham himself was surprised with the result he saw at the end. "I had no idea when I crossed the finish line - I remember seeing P6, then I saw P4 and said 'what happened there?' I tried to conserve fuel in the last 10 laps because we might have been caught out as well but we managed to get to the end and finish fourth. The team really did a fantastic job and it's a great result for Acura." Commenting on his first race at Long Beach, Brabham noted that "the car was struggling a bit with the grip on the front" and in trying to find the limit he kept overshooting it, but then "the front started to come in and I started to do some good, quick laps."

This young team has had a strong early season record, finishing in the top four in class in the first three races. Highcroft Racing travels to Texas next week for the Lone Star Grand Prix on April 21, another road race through the streets of the Houston. The team, whose schedule has been relentless since January -- with two winter tests and three races run so far -- will be able to take a step back after Houston and assess where the car is headed for the rest of the season.

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