TURNER BMWs ADVANCE IN GRAND-AM CHAMPIONSHIPS Twin Second Place Finishes Propel Turner Motorsport To Championship Lead HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY, Homestead, Florida (April 17, 2007) -- Turner Motorsport BMWs scored twin second place finishes in...
TURNER BMWs ADVANCE IN GRAND-AM CHAMPIONSHIPS
Twin Second Place Finishes Propel Turner Motorsport To Championship Lead
HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY, Homestead, Florida (April 17, 2007) -- Turner Motorsport BMWs scored twin second place finishes in this past weekend's KONI Challenge races at Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida. Both the #96 StopTech Brakes/H&R Springs BMW M3 and the #95 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW 330i scored podiums in their respective classes. Bill Auberlen and Chris Gleason now lead the Grand Sport Driver's Championship heading into the third round of the season. The #97 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW M3, piloted by Will Turner and Don Salama scored their second-straight top ten finish. Ironically, the winners in both classes were penalized for technical infractions but were allowed to keep their race wins.
Sunday's first race was for the Street Tuner class where the #95 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW 330i of Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood started from the front row in a 35-car field. The Burrows/Hopwood team stayed near the top of the field through the entire 2.5 hour race, never letting the leaders get too far out of sight. Hopwood made a challenge for the lead late in the race after running conservatively for much of his stint to save tires and fuel. The duo scored their first podium in only their second KONI Challenge event and second-straight top ten finish.
Adam Burrows, #95 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW 330i: "I would certainly be the first to say that I would have never imagined that we'd be standing in the second spot on the podium this early in the season. Certainly, it's a testament to the awesome job that Turner does. Those cars are prepared so well and their strategy is spot-on. I can't say enough about the drive that Trevor had in the second part of the race. It felt good to qualify like we did, and it feels even better to back it up in the race like we were able to today."
The race-winning Honda was penalized points and prize money after Grand-Am officials found a technical infraction during the post-race inspection. The win is still credited to the Honda team but the Turner Motorsport team claimed the points victory this weekend.
The second 400k race was a wild 2.5 hour event with nine lead changes and five cautions. Rain fell hard near the end of the race which impacted the results. Bill Auberlen led the race before pitting for rain tires on lap 78 but had to pull into the pits just a few minutes later after being tagged in the back bumper. The TMS crew removed the rear bumper and sent him back out into the fray. Auberlen clawed his way back up after the extra pit stop to finish in second place. Were it not for the race ending in a caution period, Auberlen and co-driver Chris Gleason might have scored the win.
Bill Auberlen, #96 StopTech Brakes/H&R Springs BMW M3: "The rain was the ultimate determining factor today. Although we had a beautiful car - was very well-balanced in the corners and under braking - rain made me think twice about pushing too hard at the end. It was one of those moments when you have to decide if we should charge ahead and gamble a podium finish or sit back and come away with a strong result. The points from second place may come in handy later in the season. It turns out that I made the right choice."
Auberlen is referring to the post-race technical inspection which found that the race-winning Mustang had too much front negative camber. Grand-Am officials deducted points from the #5 car which elevated Auberlen and Gleason to first in the overall Grand Sport Championship.
Will Turner and Don Salama scored their second-straight top ten finish of 2007. The #97 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW M3 led them to tenth place in the 41-car field to score 21 more points in the championship.
Will Turner, #97 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW M3: "We had a great car among a field of great cars today. H&R, StopTech, Motul, Borla, Pagid, and Piloti all combined to give us great cars in both classes. The balance and handling of the M3 is the class of the field. But it's not the fastest car at these oval-based tracks where sheer horsepower on the straights can't be overcome through the corners. But we're setting ourselves up well for the rest of the season. If we can earn points in every race then we remain contenders for the championship."
The Turner Motorsport team won't have long to wait for the next round. The KONI Challenge series heads to the 1.3 mile road course at Iowa Speedway near Des Moines this weekend.