SCC: Birmingham: Series race report

Martin, Michaelian Win Barber 200 Saturday For Rehagen Racing At Barber Motorsports Park Long, Whitis Take Second Consecutive Street Tuner Victory BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 10, 2010) - Dean Martin held off a charging Billy Johnson over the ...

Martin, Michaelian Win Barber 200 Saturday For Rehagen Racing At Barber Motorsports Park

Long, Whitis Take Second Consecutive Street Tuner Victory

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 10, 2010) - Dean Martin held off a charging Billy Johnson over the final half-hour of Saturday's Barber 200, the third round of the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, at Barber Motorsports Park, to win with co-driver Bob Michaelian in the No. 52 Rehagen Racing Products/bizrate.com Ford Mustang GT.

Martin led the final 29 laps in the 76-lap event on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn track, as Fords won for the third consecutive time in the race. Johnson, with co-driver Jack Roush Jr. in the No. 61 ROUSH Performance Products Ford Mustang GT, took second, as the race ended under caution after an accident with eight minutes remaining in the two-and-a-half hour race.

In the Street Tuner (ST) class, Tom Long made a late-race pass of 2007 race co-winner Jamie Holtom to win his second consecutive class event with Derek Whitis in the No. 25 Aventura Technologies/Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5.

Martin, who did not expect to participate in the race, took over for Michaelian and went to work. Two-thirds into the race, Martin had moved to the front, and it was him versus Johnson during the last 30 minutes.

Johnson tried to make the winning pass several times, but an accident involving Scott Panzer in the No. 11 Strategic Occupancy Solutions Ford Mustang GT with eight minutes left brought out the final of seven caution periods. Martin crossed the finish line with his fifth career victory, while Michaelian celebrated his first.

"I was just trying to keep the car in one piece and turn it over to Dean," Michaelian said. "He did a great job. He got it out in front and kept it there. I appreciate all the help from Rehagen Racing. It was set up perfectly."

Johnson never led the race, but he and Roush were always in the hunt.

"Unfortunately, it ended under yellow, but if I was in first when it came out I'd be happy like Dean is," Johnson said. "Definitely a great run for the Roush Mustang, it handled awesome. We're trying to climb back up the points ladder. Second place is definitely helping us do that."

Breaking up a potential podium sweep by Ford were Joey Hand and Michael Marsal in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. Fourth were Terry Borcheller and Andrew Hendricks, who picked up the Grand Sport (GS) points lead by two (85-83) in the No. 45 Stable One Racing BMW M3, while Turner Motorsport co-drivers Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana garnered fifth in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3.

Martin and Michaelian's teammates, Ken Wilden and Ryan Winchester, were near the front of the race before a broken ball joint cost the team seven laps. It ended a 19-race streak of top 10s for the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Products Ford Mustang GT, dating back to the Barber race in 2008.

Fords essentially dominated the day, leading all 76 laps. Joe Foster, the 2008 race winner, led the opening 44 laps in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports/Bayshore Recycling Ford Mustang Boss 302R, but he and Scott Maxwell finished eighth. Defending race winners James Gue and Bret Seafuse in the No. 37 Trumansburg ShurSave Ford Mustang Boss 302R were seventh.

Long and Whitis triumphed again thanks to Long's late-race heroics. Holtom, in the No. 21 Sick Kids Foundation/C&P Cross Border Law Chevrolet Cobalt, had held the lead for seven laps before Long made the winning pass. Moments later, the yellow was displayed.

"We were close to pulling this one off a long time ago," Long said. "The (No.) 21 car got around us, but the Performance Friction Brakes enabled us to get back by him. I got him in Turn 5 - I was able to slide by and keep on going, two laps before the last caution."

For Holtom's teammate Andrew Danyliw and the GS Motorsports team, one of several teams based in Canada, it was a career-best finish.

"It seemed like Tom Long had me everywhere, I was pushing so hard," Holtom said. "I was trying to capitalize on the one spot where I seemed to be faster, but the Mazda was just too fast for us. We had awesome strategy. They got us in the lead, it was ours to hold, but unfortunately he got us near the end."

Taking third were Ryan Eversley and Zach Lutz, also taking career-best finishes in Compass360 Racing's No. 75 Skunk2/Honda HPD Honda Civic Si.

Fourth were points leaders Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius in Compass360's No. 74 Skunk2/Honda HPD Honda Civic Si, while polesitter David White and BimmerWorld/GearWrench team owner James Clay finished fifth in the No. 80 Performance Friction/RAYS Engineering BMW 328i.

Aschenbach and Thilenius now lead by 10 points (95-85) over Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann, sixth in the ST race, in the No. 81 Performance Friction/RAYS Engineering BMW 328i.

The next Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race will be the two-and-a-half hour race April 24 at Virginia International Raceway.

-source: grand-am

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Lawson Aschenbach , James Gue , James Clay , Ken Wilden , Tom Long , Ryan Eversley , David Thilenius , Seth Thomas , David White , Dean Martin , Joe Foster , Bob Michaelian , Andrew Danyliw , Derek Whitis , Paul Dalla Lana , Scott Panzer , Andrew Hendricks , Bill Heumann , Ryan Winchester , Jack Roush Jr. , Zach Lutz
Teams Rehagen Racing , Turner Motorsport , Compass360 Racing , Freedom Autosport