Bell, Auberlen Hoping to Give Turner Motorsport Third KONI Challenge Victory at Lime Rock Park Auberlen has two wins in three starts at KONI Challenge's shortest track DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 20, 2009) - Turner Motorsport knows a thing or two...
Bell, Auberlen Hoping to Give Turner Motorsport Third KONI Challenge Victory at Lime Rock Park
Auberlen has two wins in three starts at KONI Challenge's shortest track
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 20, 2009) - Turner Motorsport knows a thing or two about winning in Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge competition at Lime Rock Park. And coming off a solid weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Amesbury, Mass., team is seeking another win at the 1.53-mile, seven-turn Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.
Street Tuner (ST) competitors race at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, with Grand Sport (GS) competitors racing at 2 p.m. Monday. Both races will last two-and-a-half hours, and will be KONI Challenge's fourth visit to Lime Rock.
Matt Bell and Bill Auberlen return to the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 in search of their second victory of 2009. The duo won the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, and Bell has picked up the pole position in each of the last three races, a GS record. Auberlen also owns two victories in three starts at the track, both with Chris Gleason. Bell sits 10th in driver points; Auberlen 17th.
Meanwhile, Gleason is teaming with Joey Hand in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. While Turner Motorsport - which calls Lime Rock its home track - is aiming for three victories in four races at LRP, the team is looking to extend its records in overall and GS victories (14), overall poles (19), class poles (28) and GS poles (15).
"We have very promising performances when we do things right, and Lime Rock has been a place where a lot of 'right' is done," Bell said. "It's a friendly track for us, and I really like the track. I'm looking forward to going there and having Bill back as my co-driver."
BMWs have taken all three victories in KONI Challenge GS races at Lime Rock Park. The defending race-winning team, Automatic Racing, is bringing two cars, with Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman in the No. 91 Sparco/Imported Car Store BMW M3 and Mark Hillestad and Barry Waddell in the No. 99 H&S Tool/Imported Car Store BMW M3. Last season, 2007 series champions Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal gave Automatic its first and to-date only series victory.
Ford drivers will look to end BMW's Lime Rock streak and make it two straight this season after Ken Wilden and Dean Martin won last Saturday at Mazda Raceway. Wilden, sharing the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT with Martin, increased his point lead to 12 (118-106) over James Gue and Bret Seafuse, drivers of the No. 37 Trumansburg ShurSave Ford Mustang GT from the two-car JBS Motorsports camp.
Connecticut native Todd Snyder (Canaan), a track record holder and instructor at the Skip Barber Racing School at LRP, is entered in the No. 17 ACKCO Inc. Consulting Group Ford Mustang GT from CMA Motorsports with Mark Ackley. Another Connecticut driver is Tom Nastasi (Stamford), who is teaming with Ian James as the two continue to develop the No. 5 TPN Racing Dodge Challenger for Blackforest Motorsports.
In addition to Turner Motorsport and Rehagen Racing, Motorsport Technology Group and TRG will also field race-winning cars in 2009 - MTG the No. 18 Porsche 997 for Billy Johnson and Peter Ludwig and TRG the No. 39 DigiTrust Group/Adams Polishes Porsche 997 for Spencer Pumpelly and Duncan Ende. Andy Lally and John Potter will drive a second TRG entry, the No. 41 Magnus Racing Porsche 997.
Kinetic Motorsports will bring two BMW M3s, while Horsepower Ranch and Maxwell Paper Racing will each field one car.
Two Georgian Bay Cars Searching For Third Lime Rock Win
Like Turner Motorsport - which earned an ST win at Mazda Raceway with Will Turner and Don Salama in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 328i - Georgian Bay Motorsports knows how to win at Lime Rock Park. The car has won twice at Lime Rock - both times with Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran. With solid runs this season, the team is in good position for to defend its 2008 triumph.
Lawson Aschenbach and Pat Iannucci have finished eighth or better in every race this season and currently trail point leader Christian Miller by six points (115-109). Aschenbach and Iannucci are again entered in the No. 00 T.T.L. Chevrolet Cobalt SS.
Meanwhile, Holtom will replace Spencer drive the remainder of the season in the No. 01 T.T.L. Chevrolet Cobalt SS, driving with Ashley McCalmont. The No. 01 sits fourth in team points and McCalmont fourth in driver points after three top 10s in four starts. In addition to 2008, Holtom also won at Lime Rock in 2006.
"I'm ecstatic to be competing for the remainder of 2009 with my old team Georgian Bay," Holtom said. "I got off to a slow start this season, with Laguna Seca being my first race of the year, but I was able to come up to speed quickly and deliver solid results. I'm hoping we can start where we left off and compete for wins. I have to thank Kirk, the McCalmonts, and the rest of the crew for making this possible."
Miller leads the three-car Compass360 Racing squad, and will compete in the No. 74 034 Motorsport/Skunk2 Honda Civic Si with co-driver Randy Pobst, who missed the last race at Mazda Raceway. The team has also split up two regulars up, with Travis Walker moving to the No. 75 Skunk2/K&N Honda Civic Si to be co-piloted by debutant John Kuitwaard. Matt Pritiko will stay in the No. 76 Skunk2/C360R.com Honda Civic Si, with Glenn Bocchino returning to the ST class for the first time in 2009.
The only other KONI Challenge team with a win at LRP is Subaru Road Racing Team, with Kristian Skavnes and Andrew Aquilante driving the No. 111 Subaru of America Subaru Legacy. Skavnes gave Subaru its first KONI Challenge victory in 2007 at Lime Rock Park, and he and Aquilante are looking for their first win together since being paired up in late 2008.
Two former champions - both Connecticut residents - are entered for different teams. Bob Beede (Greenwich) is driving the No. 29 Honda Certified Used Cars Honda Civic Si with Newport, R.I., driver Matt Plumb for Bill Fenton Motorsports, which is also bringing the No. 27 Southern Auto Auction/Honda of Keene Honda Civic Si.
Adam Burrows (Canton) drives with Trevor Hopwood in the No. 198 Cruise America/Fischer Skis Mini Cooper S, one of three cars in the RSR Motorsports stable. RSR's shop is located in Oxford, Conn.
Making his first KONI Challenge start this season is Bob Newman of Roxbury, Conn., teaming with Squeak Kennedy in the Next Generation Motorsports No. 128 Hawk Brakes/Marren Fuel Injection BMW 330i. Three cars are entered from NGM.
Freedom Autosport's Tom Long and Derek Whitis have two second-place finishes this season and are looking for their first career victory in the No. 145 Freedom Autosport/Mazda Mazda MX-5. Long and Rhett O'Doski - now sharing the No. 146 Freedom Autosport/Mazda Mazda MX-5 with Andrew Carbonell - were second a season ago at Lime Rock.
APR Motorsport has Ian Baas and Josh Hurley entered in the No. 171 APR Tuning/BBS Volkswagen GTI, and Mike Sweeney and Dion von Moltke in the No. 181 APR Tuning/BBS Volkswagen GTI.
Other teams entered include Maxwell Paper Racing, Flatout Motorsports, Istook's Motorsports and GS Motorsports - all with one-car efforts. Will Turner is driving with Paul Dalla Lana in search of the No. 95 BMW 328i's second straight win.
Practice begins at 10 a.m. ET Friday, with qualifying at 11:25 a.m. ET Saturday. ST competitors will take the green flag at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday, while GS drivers will see the green flag at 2 p.m. ET Monday. Live timing and scoring, notes and results will be available on www.grand-am.com, with regular weekend updates also posted on www.twitter.com/KONI_Challenge.