STRONG FINISHES FOR ALL THREE KENSAI/COMPASS360 ACURAS AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK THOMSON AND JOHNSON SEVENTH AFTER DIFFICULT WEEKEND Birmingham, Alabama -- Billy Johnson and Karl Thomson had another strong run in their ...
STRONG FINISHES FOR ALL THREE KENSAI/COMPASS360 ACURAS AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
THOMSON AND JOHNSON SEVENTH AFTER DIFFICULT WEEKEND
Birmingham, Alabama -- Billy Johnson and Karl Thomson had another strong run in their #76 Kensai Racing with Compass360 Acura TSX at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend. Leading the driver's championship going into the race (just two points ahead of the Turner Motorsports team) Johnson and Thomson finished seventh, dropping to second place, six points back and still very much in contention (Thomson/Johnson have 223 points versus the 230 points of Turner's Burrows/Hopwood).
Thomson tagged the wall during practice on Thursday, and the ensuing repairs meant that #76 didn't make the next two sessions. "That put us behind on our set-up," noted Thomson. "The car came off the trailer in great form and was running up front, but we lost valuable time on Thursday afternoon which meant the other guys got faster while we were busy swapping body panels!"
With very little time to work on suspension tuning, Thomson qualified 13th, moved up to 11th, handing the car to Johnson at the one-hour mark. Billy put his head down and managed to move through the field, despite the continuous green-flag conditions. "Normally we would see a yellow flag at some point in the race," remarked Crew Chief Ray Lee. "But this year, the race went green from start to finish." That meant that Billy had to work extra hard to keep up with the front of the pack, and he did, turning laps that were a over a second faster than the leaders throughout his stint.
Johnson fought to seventh place, and was on the tail of Tyler Givogue's yellow Chevy Cobalt on the last lap, fighting for sixth, but simply ran out of time. It's the sixth top-ten result for the #76 duo this year, including a series-leading four wins. The two hope to add to that total at the next race at Trois Rivieres, Quebec in August.
The team was also cheering for Billy in his first GS-class start in the #154 Jim Click Mustang on Sunday. Billy and co-driver Jamie Sloan had a great race, starting from 15th position, and finishing a solid sixth.
TUATY AND PRITIKO FINISH 12TH AFTER SOLID RUN UP FRONT
Matt Pritiko continued to impress in his Rookie year in Grand Am KONI competition, qualifying the #74 Kensai/Compass360 Acura RSX-S in tenth position, ahead of the team's TSXs. Solidly holding his own throughout his stint, he battled into a remarkable third before handing the Acura to long-time KONI competitor David Tuaty. After the pit stops had been cycled through, Tuaty did great work to keep his Acura in the top ten, battling with Seth Thomas and Guy Cosmo in their Fountain BMWs along the way.
The result continues the great finishes for both drivers, with Tuaty in 11th position in the driver's championship (with 155 points), and Pritiko in 14th (with 153). The competition is very tight here, as 10th place Justin Hall and Maguns Karlsson in their Mazda MX-5 have 156 points!
BUISSON AND COLUMBIE BRING 75 TO 2ND TOP-10 FINISH
Beau Buisson marked his second top-ten finish this season, bringing the #75 Kensai/Compass360 TSX home in ninth position. He'd finished in fifth at Mosport. "The car is great and so is the team," said Buissson. "We need more of these results to round out the season! The car worked well today and I'm happy to finish the race -- my family was here to cheer me on and it was great to have them as part of the big crowd we saw."
"Running three cars, you hope to have all finish well," commented Lee. "So this race went pretty good. We didn't have quite as much time to work on set-up as we'd like, but the drivers all did their best, and brought their cars home clean. We're still in the hunt and will be ready for Trois Rivieres in a few weeks!"
The team returns to their Toronto, Canada home base to repair the cars before the next race in Quebec. Having won the Mosport event, the team hopes to have each of their three Acuras in strong finishing positions in the other Canadian KONI event this season.