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This Week: Petit Le Mans ready to run at Road Atlanta on Saturday
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Some of the best sports car team in North America and Europe will be part of the Petit Le Mans endurance race at on Saturday at Road Atlanta in Braselton. The 15th annual running of one of the American Le Mans Series’ biggest events meshes endurance and speed as drivers participate in the 1,000 mile/10-hour race in the P1, P2 and GT classifications at the track in South Hall.

In the P1 and P2 prototype classes, each features a winner-take-all chase for the championship.

In P1, Muscle Milk Pickett Race must finish first to carry the crown. The current points leaders must complete at least 70 percent of the class winning car’s distance to beat defending champion Dyson Racing, and claim this season’s title.

In P2, Level 5 Motorsports needs to hold off Conquest Endurance, in order to collect its second consecutive P2 crown.

In GT, Corvette Racing’s Team of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin claimed the title last month at Virginia International Raceway.

Corvette’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen hold a slim lead for second over Flying Lizard Motorsports Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long.

Three-time Indy 500 winner and four-time IndyCar Series Champion Dario Franchitti will race for Level 5 Motorsports and reigning IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will drive for SRT Motorsports. Neither are American Le Mans Series drivers.

Petit Le Mans will mark the first professional race at Road Atlanta for actor Patrick Dempsey. The star of the show Grey’s Anatomy is the co-owner and co-driver of Dempsey Racing’s Lola-Judd coupe in the P2 classification.

Petit Le Mans is annually a big boost to the local economy. The state Department of Economic Development estimates Road Atlanta puts nearly $200 million annually back into the state, according to press release from the American Le Mans Series. The Lake Lanier Convention and Visitor’s Bureau says that $53.5 million, 27 percent of annual tourism economic impact — comes from Road Atlanta.

HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL: Fresh off of winning the Area 8-AAAA volleyball title, Johnson (27-13) opens the state tournament against Northwest Whitfield on Wednesday in Oakwood.

In Class AAAAA, second-seed Gainesville (34-9) opens the postseason at home Thursday against an opponent still to be determined, while No. 3 seed Flowery Branch goes on the road for a first-round matchup. Chestatee visits Dalton in a first-round matchup in Class AAAA.

In Class AA, Jefferson opens with a first-round playoff match against Calhoun at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Calhoun. In Class A, Lakeview Academy visits Holy Innocents in the opening round of state on Thursday in Atlanta.

HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: In Class AAA, Buford continues its pursuit of a sixth-straight state championship, hosting Franklin County in the best-of-three, second-round playoff series this week. The Lady Wolves will host the Lady Lions in a doubleheader on Wednesday, and Game 3 on Thursday in necessary.

Also in Class AAA, Jackson County plays host to Fannin County starting on Wednesday, while Dawson County visits Region 5-AAA champion Ringgold.

In Class AAAA, Lumpkin County visits Marist for a second-round series in Atlanta. In the opening round, the Lady Indians swept Alexander in two games.

In Class AA, Jefferson plays host to Dade County in a best-of-three series.

The second-round winner’s head to the state championships this weekend at the South Commons in Columbus.

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