SCC: Daytona: Turner Motorsport race report

TURNER MOTORSPORT STARTS PROMISING, YET BAD LUCK PREVAILED AT DAYTONA DAYTONA, FL - Turner Motorsport BMWs had a tough opening to the 2008 season at Daytona Speedway in Florida. Even though the Turner BMWs showed competitive speed in practice, a...

TURNER MOTORSPORT STARTS PROMISING, YET BAD LUCK PREVAILED AT DAYTONA

DAYTONA, FL - Turner Motorsport BMWs had a tough opening to the 2008 season at Daytona Speedway in Florida. Even though the Turner BMWs showed competitive speed in practice, a great sign for the forthcoming season, bad luck affected 2 of the 3 BMWs during the race.

In the ST class, VJ Mirzayan and Matt Bell gave impressive performances from behind the wheel of the #95 H&R Springs/Borla Exhaust BMW 330i. Bell and Mirzayan were well into the top ten at several points in the race but their two pit stops, compared to one stop for some other less thirsty ST cars, cost them crucial track position. They finished fifteenth out of a huge field of fifty-one cars.

After a rain squall mixed up the qualifying session, both of the Turner BMW M3s, including the #96 car that finished on the podium last year, started the race in mid-pack. An electrical problem would delay the progress of the #97 Turner Motorsport/Nova Derm/OCG BMW M3 with Don Salama and Bryan Ortiz at the wheel. The problem for the #97 car would put them ten laps down. Despite quick lap times from the drivers, even on battered tires, they finished in thirty-third place in the GS class.

A stand-out in the race was Bryan Ortiz from Puerto Rico. He drove the #97 Turner motorsport M3 for most of the race -- over 2.5 hours -- without a tire change. Ortiz and the Turner crew were focused on gaining back positions lost to the electrical problem and elected to only fuel the car during its one pit stop. Ortiz's pace gave the rest of the field notice that the young driver will be a serious contender.

The sister #96 H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3 driven by Bill Auberlen and Matt Alhadeff was forced to retire from the race with an oil pressure problem after only nine laps. Debris from a first-turn incident punctured an oil line, causing a steady loss of oil.

Team Owner Will Turner:

"We had great handling cars and really quick drivers, these things happen in racing. Sometimes it can bite you and sometimes you come away winners. I think our speed and talent is certainly there. We've demonstrated in past years that what you do at the first race has little to do with the rest of the season so we're just going to put this race behind us and gear up for round 2 at Lime Rock in May -- our home event that we have won in 2006 and 2007."

-credit: tm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Will Turner , Bryan Ortiz , Matt Bell
Teams Turner Motorsport