Gleason sixth in Homestead GT race

HOMESTEAD, Fla., March 3 ­ Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. and Marc Bunting of Tinomium, Md., left Homestead-Miami Speedway as the sixth-place finishers in the Grand Touring (GT) class after Saturday's Nextel 250 Rolex Series Grand-Am...

HOMESTEAD, Fla., March 3 ­ Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. and Marc Bunting of Tinomium, Md., left Homestead-Miami Speedway as the sixth-place finishers in the Grand Touring (GT) class after Saturday's Nextel 250 Rolex Series Grand-Am race. They co-drove Genesis Racing's BMW M3 #7, which crossed the line 22nd overall.

The event was broadcast live on Speedvision.

The team had a radio problem at the mid-point of the 104-lap race around the track's 2.4-mile road course, and when Gleason pitted to allow Bunting to take over the steering wheel, the team's lead car was still in the pits being serviced. Gleason had to wait until the other car exited the pits before his car's pit stop could be completed.

He had been fourth in class when he pitted and he had a podium finish in sight, so the delay was costly.

It ended up not being as crucial as one might think though, because the team got back up to fourth in class near the end. At the very end they dropped back two more spots to finish in the same class position that they had started.

"Overall it was a good finish, but not as good as I had hoped," Gleason said later. "When you can go for the victory it's really great, and today we couldn't go for the win. That's just the way it is sometimes. We finished and we got points; that's what's important.

"I was frustrated with myself because of the radio malfunction; I thought that problem was solved after Daytona. I had problems with my radio there too.

"The car ran well. The ABS brakes were soft to begin with, although I don't know why. The track got greasy too. I had to try to cool the brakes as much as I could, and that's not good when you want to be aggressive and really race. But we had to save the car and try to finish, and we did do that.

"The slower cars would really slow you up in the infield, but we did the best we could. The BMW engine and transmission were sound, and so were our Yokohama tires. It's easy to get the tires too hot on a day like today, but they held up well."

The other two Genesis Racing cars finished 11th and 12th in class. The #9 of Emil Assentato and Nick Loghi had transmission problems and the team's lead car, the #10 National Paintball Supply/Yokohama BMW M3 of Rick Fairbanks of Greenville, S.C. and Chuck Goldsborough of Baltimore, had some problems with its rear brakes.

At the suggestion of Miami's Center for Independent Living, Gleason had invited two handicapped women to the track on Saturday to be Genesis Racing's guests and enjoy a special behind-the-scenes look at the sport.

Theresa Cobb, who is wheelchair-bound due to cerebal palsy, and Brenda Rosari, who is deaf, said they enjoyed their first auto race ever, and Gleason wants to thank the Homestead-Miami Speedway, the Grand-American Road Racing Association and Genesis Racing itself for the role they played in making the visit happen.

"I really want to thank Homestead-Miami Speedway and their staff, especially J.J. O'Malley, and also Christie Hyde of Grand-Am for helping to arrange things for our special handicapped guests," Gleason said. "Two of them ended up coming instead of three, but they seemed to enjoy their day. This is a beautiful facility and it was nice to be able to do that for them; they were very nice too. This was their first auto race ever, and they seemed to be very impressed with everything."

-Linda Mansfield

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Emil Assentato , Chuck Goldsborough , Chris Gleason