Gleason Has a Tough Race Saturday at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 23 - Chris Gleason put the Turner Motorsport BMW M3 No. 96 eighth on the grid in a solid field of 40 KONI Challenge GS cars competing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this ...
Gleason Has a Tough Race Saturday at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 23 - Chris Gleason put the Turner Motorsport BMW M3 No. 96 eighth on the grid in a solid field of 40 KONI Challenge GS cars competing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend, but problems struck the Johnstown, Pa.-based driver during Saturday afternoon's race and he finished 29th.
Hopes were high after Gleason's sizzling qualifying lap of 1:34.846, averaging 85.705 miles per hour for the 2.258-mile road course. He had a good start in the car, which is sponsored in part by Gleason Financial, and remained in eighth place until he was hit in the rear by another competitor around lap 12.
Grand-Am officials made him pit to replace his dangling bumper, which pushed him back to 32nd spot. He soldiered on, setting his fastest lap of the race on lap 21 with a 1:35.078 (85.496 mph).
He was posting smooth and consistent laps, but then the car's oil pressure warning lights flashed repeatedly. At one point the engine totally quit very unexpectedly, and a tow truck with a tow rope had to be used to bring the car back to the pits. After the crew examined the car and the engine cooled down Gleason was able to restart and continue on. More warning lights followed, however, and after losing several laps due to the earlier problems, Gleason called it a day with 58 of 83 laps complete. His co-driver, Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., didn't even get in the car during this particular race.
The entry's official finishing position was 29th.
Gleason's post-race quote follows:
"We didn't have a good day. I got hit in the rear and the bumper was dragging, so I had to come in for that. They topped me up with fuel and sent me back out, because the plan was for me to stay in the car as much as possible today. Bill has a Daytona Prototype race later this afternoon, so we wanted to try to limit his time in the car so he would be tired for that event.
"Anyway, things were going OK and then the oil pressure warning lights came on. We blew an engine at the last race at Mosport, so that was in the back of my mind. The warning lights came on four separate times, and then the engine just shut down completely and I had to get towed into the pits. I sat there awhile and I guess it cooled off, because it started up OK, and back out I went.
"I think I was in there for about two hours anyway, which was OK, no problem. But then the warning lights came back on. I didn't think it was worth blowing the engine; we were down a lot of laps and there was nothing to gain. We also have another race in two weeks, so I pulled the plug on the deal. We'll live again to fight another day."
-credit: restart communications