Lexington, OH -There were mixed emotions in the Fall-Line camp over the course of the 2.5-hour Diamond Cellar Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course today as the three Fall-Line BMWs competed in the GS class of the GRAND-AM Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge series.
There were highs and lows for all three cars, with a nail biter of a finish. Bryan Sellers brought home the #46 in 4th place, just narrowly missing the podium. Charles Espenlaub finished 11th in the #48 and Al Carter in the #45 came in 16th.
#46 Trim-Tex Drywall Products/ Fall-Line Motorsports BMW: Finished P4, Fastest Lap 1:30:630.
Sellers took the lead of the race on lap 43 and drove brilliantly as he eased away from the field. With an unusually high amount of yellow laps, the standard strategy quickly become the alternate strategy forcing the #46 to make a 2nd pit stop.
Bryan again drove marvelously as he carved the gap down to the leaders but ran out of laps; a full-course caution came out with eight minutes to go. This late caution allowed the top-3 cars to make it to the end on fuel. There were two laps of green at the end of the race and Sellers gave it all he had, just falling short of the podium.
After being the fastest car in practice and taking the lead midway through the race, it was a somewhat disappointing finish for Sellers and Boden in the #46. Sellers had the 2nd fastest race lap, less than one-tenth over what the #96 Turner Motorsports car did.
Mark Boden: "The car was great, the team was great, Bryan was awesome. Now I must say, GO BLACKHAWKS!"
#48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW: Finished P11, Fastest Lap 1:31:057
Charlie Putman started out in the #48 car in 12th position and moved up two positions to pass over the reigns to co-driver Charles Espenlaub. In an extremely tight field of GS cars, Espenlaub made his way up to 5th before his final pit stop near the end of the race.
As things worked out this became a fuel strategy race and although the Fall-Line BMW's were exceptionally quick we did not anticipate the "yellow fest." Espenlaub drove a hard, but clean race and took the checkered in 11th after battling all race long.
Charlie Putman: "The Fall Line team did not finish as well today as we would have liked to have. Everyone from drivers to crew to engineers/strategists had great execution. With 1/2 hour to go in the race I would have said that Bryan in the #46 was headed for a podium finish, and my co-driver Charles was headed for a top five finish.
Unfortunately two unforeseeable caution periods late in the race enabled a good part of the field to complete the race without their expected pit stops for fuel, while we had already stopped for fuel enough for the end of the race. Our great strategy calls were undone by fate, and the final results did not reflect the fine performances of the entire team."
Charles Espenlaub: "Everyone at Fall-Line did a great job this weekend. Obviously we would have liked to have all of our BMW's in the top-5 but in the ultra competitive Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series that is never an easy task. We will go back to work, sharpen the pencils and head for Watkins Glen."
#45 Eagle/ B+ Foundation/ Fall-Line Motorsports BMW: Finished P16, Fastest Lap 1:31:376
Hugh Plumb drove the first stint in the #45 car today. Hugh started in 4th and drove a fantastic race in the early stages, staying with the leaders and pitting in 3rd place when Al Carter got in the car. This is when the luck for the #45 shifted. Firstly, the driver-side door wouldn't latch because the lines to Carter's cool suit were stuck in the door and not allowing it to close properly.
He had to make an extra pit stop to adjust the line and latch the door properly, but this did not end his day. There was more trouble, as he received a stop and hold for 60 seconds penalty for failing to acknowledge the red light at the exit of pit lane.
This penalty set him a lap down but with some creative strategy the Fall-Line engineers got Al his lap back. Unfortunately, Carter had to spend the remainder of the race conserving fuel, but his determination did not wane, and he passed cars right up until the end of the race. He finished 16th.
Michael Harvey, Team Manager: "I am so proud of our team and drivers. We had fast cars and 'could have, should have' but ultimately we did not bank on so many yellows which I believe cost us a win today. The cars ran perfectly all weekend and so we know focus on Watkins Glen."