SCC: Laguna Seca: Chris Gleason race notes

Gleason and Auberlen's BMW Is Involved in an Accident in Saturday's Grand-Am Cup Race at Laguna Seca MONTEREY, Calif., May 6 - A racing accident knocked the team of Chris Gleason and Bill Auberlen out of Saturday's Grand-Am Cup race at Mazda ...

Gleason and Auberlen's BMW Is Involved in an Accident in Saturday's Grand-Am Cup Race at Laguna Seca

MONTEREY, Calif., May 6 - A racing accident knocked the team of Chris Gleason and Bill Auberlen out of Saturday's Grand-Am Cup race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca about a third of the way through the race.

Luckily Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, Calif., wasn't hurt, but the pair's Turner Motorsports/Gleason Financial/H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3 No. 96 received extensive right-front damage.

He and Gleason, of Johnstown, Pa., ended up 35th, completing 22 of the 74 laps run in the two-and-a-half-hour contest.

Gleason qualified 16th and drove for the first 24 minutes of the race. He had quickly settled into 14th place in his stint, running consistently good laps, sandwiched between the Automatic Racing BMW M3 No. 91 and the Team Sahlen Porsche 996 No. 44.

Gleason turned the BMW over to Auberlen in good shape when he pitted under a full-course yellow on lap 12.

The trouble struck 11 laps later when the Blackforest Motorsports Mustang GT No. 77 of Jim Bosler and James Gue spun in Turn 4, right in Auberlen's path, and there was no way for him to miss it.

"It was just a racing accident," Gleason said after the race. "It was disappointing for all of us.

"The car was fine when I was in it," he continued. "My times were good, and I was comfortable. Nobody was pressing me; everything went fine during my stint.

"I guess what happened was the Mustang went off right in front of Bill between Turn 4 and 5, then shot back across the track and they collided," he added. "It was just one of those things.

"There's dirt off to the side of that turn and I bet there was a big cloud of dust kicked up and Bill probably couldn't see very well either," he added.

Prior to the race Gleason qualified the car 16th in the 71-car field on Friday afternoon, running his best lap on lap seven of eight circuits of the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course in 1:40.604 for an average speed of 80.084 miles per hour. That was only 1.465 seconds off Andy Lally's pole-winning time.

Gleason and Auberlen will race again next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

"I'm looking forward to Phoenix," Gleason said. "I'm going to stay out here and play some golf at Pebble Beach tomorrow before I go to Phoenix, and I'm looking forward to that too."

Saturday's race at Laguna Seca will be shown on SPEED next Saturday, May 13, at 1 p.m. Eastern time, the same day that Gleason will be racing at Phoenix International Raceway in the Avondale Mazda Twin 200s. He gets the green flag in that 200-mile/133-lap/two-hour race at 1 p.m. local time that day.

The Phoenix race will be broadcast on Sunday, May 14, at 1 p.m. Eastern time on SPEED.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Andy Lally , James Gue , Chris Gleason , Jim Bosler
Teams Turner Motorsport , Team Sahlen , Automatic Racing