Dean Martin and Ken Wilden won Saturday's Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after starting in fourth. Martin and Wilden were able to keep their No. 52 Mustang FR500C towards the front of the field for most of the race.
Dean Martin and Ken Wilden won Saturday's Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after starting in fourth. Martin and Wilden were able to keep their No. 52 Mustang FR500C towards the front of the field for most of the race. Good pit stops and smart racing helped put the Rehagen Racing team on top of the podium. Martin pulled double-duty this weekend running in both the No. 52 and No. 59 Mustangs.
* This is the fifth win for Ford Racing this season in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series.
* This is the first overall win for Dean Martin; he previously had a class win in GSII in 2003.
DEAN MARTIN--52-- Piloti Mustang FR500C (Finished 1st)
"I'm a little tired and a little sore but I'm so excited that we won. We fell back a little bit but were able to get back up. We were great in the pits and the crew was great. I can't believe a Mustang won here at Mid-Ohio -- yeah Mustang!"
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN A THIS TRACK AT MID OHIO? 'This is great. When we came in after the first day we saw how strong the M3s were and then in qualifying it showed, I think there were eight M3s in the top 10 and two Mustangs. We were just going to go out and run as hard as we could and see where it played out. We had a great pit stop and that's what put us out in front and I think it put the pressure on the guys from the back that there were going to drive real hard to catch up to us. The car was strong, it was good on the brakes and it stayed under me the whole time where at Mosport we lost the rear end on the last little bit there and this weekend it stayed right under us so I'm really happy for the team."
THIS IS YOUR FIRST OVERALL WIN. "This is my fulltime job, I'm running the Rehagen team as a manager, janitor, truck driver, fabricator, whatever needs to be done. This is great, it's great to drive with Kenny and I was pulling double duty and I was hoping to get two top 10 finishes but I guess finishing first is pretty good for us. I'm pretty happy about it."
KEN WILDEN--52-- Piloti Mustang FR500C (Finished 1st)
"I'm so happy about this win. The car was good during the race, we took care of the car in each of our stints. I'm just so happy right now and excited for this win. It's nice to get our Mustang and our team into Victory Lane. This was just a great day for me, for Dean and for the entire team."
QUESTION ON TRACK CONDITIONS. "I'm not used to running these Mustangs, but I got a huge amount of rubber built up on the yellows and you just heard it flying up on the car. That was my concern, just getting the rubber off before the green and not start sliding around the first couple of corners, it was more rubber than I've seen on a race track in a long time."
Hyper Sport co-drivers Joe Foster and Scott Maxwell started Saturday's Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series in 12th place, and were able to make up ground and move up to second at one point. Contact towards the end of the race with Maxwell in the car caused damage to their No. 55 Mustang FR500C and the team ended up finishing in 14th. Foster, the series points leader by 18 going into the race, was able to hang on to the points lead, but now only leads by five points.
JOE FOSTER--55-- Hyper Sport Engineering Mustang FR500C (Finished 14th)
YOUR CAR WAS RUNNING UP FRONT AND THEN YOU GUYS FELL BACK. WHAT HAPPENED? "The No. 09 BMW that we're racing in the championship with drilled Scott and pushed him off the track. Our paint is on the front of their car and their paint is on the back of our car."
BEFORE THAT, HOW WERE THE CORNERS HERE? "We seemed to be okay setup-wise, we didn't have anything for the win. We could have maintained our position in the points, but unfortunately Scott was pushed off the road."
SCOTT MAXWELL--55-- Hyper Sport Engineering Mustang FR500C (Finished 14th)
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE ON THE TRACK? "Well, we lost our power steering at one point so we were just hanging on. Then the BMW that we're battling with in the championship with punted me in the back straight, I think in corner three just straight up the back. Everything with the car was good, but I think we missed a little bit on the setup. I think if our power steering didn't go, we probably had a top-three car, but then after getting hit, we probably could have had a top 10 with power steering. It's just frustrating."
Brothers Steve and Phil Mahre co-drove their No. 17 Mustang FR500C to a ninth-place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series. The two brothers have had some trouble working on getting the right setups for races, but today's was right on.
STEVE MAHRE--17-- Team Centurion Mustang FR500C (Finished 9th)
"I got in second and then we had too many cautions and we got all bunched up during the restarts and some of the guys kind of got ahead of themselves. It's a whole lot easier when your single file or have some room and you can run your line and get some distance. But when you go down the back on the restarts, it's just really hard to protect the car. Today was a lot of fun and it was a great day for the team and the Mustang was good and I'm really happy for that."
WAS BRAKE MANAGEMENT A HUGE CONCERN TODAY? "Not today. We were good on the brakes, you just have to learn how to use them a lot here at Mid-Ohio."
PHIL MAHRE--17-- Team Centurion Mustang FR500C (Finished 9th)
"The biggest thing here in the corners is, you can kind of stop the car and whoever is behind you can't really go until you go. So if you can get a good launch coming out of the turn and then run well in the straightaway, you were good. The biggest thing is to be able to get around the other cars. The BMWs and Porsche can stop so quick compared to us, but the brakes were great. We had kind of a push in the car; we weren't as free as we'd like to have been. The first stint was almost 40 laps on the green and I was able to start to click off some good laps and get by cars one at a time. You go down that first turn two and three wide and that's a struggle. This is a great finish for this team. We've had some problems whether it be accidents or something else. We've struggled all year and today was great with great pit strategy but our Mustang was great and it was a great finish for us today."
Ian James and co-driver Tom Nastasi started Saturday's Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series GS race in 11th place, but were able to charge through the field and up to fifth. While James was in the car during the middle of the race, contact from another car caused damage to the front right side of their No. 5 Mustang FR500C and forced the team to the garage.
IAN JAMES--5-- USG Sheetrock/Ramset Tools Mustang FR500C (Finished 27th)
"Apparently one of the cars got into us, I couldn't really see who and it caused some front end damage. There were a bunch of cars going on the restart and he came through the apex of the turn and hit me. We replaced the wheel and it worked for a couple laps, but it caused some damage to the suspension and it isn't anything that we can fix to get back into the race. Just bad luck today."
-credit: ford racing