SCC: Mid-Ohio: Sport Touring race notes

LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 28, 2003) -- Columbus-based TC Kline Racing dominated the Grand-Am Cup Series Sport Touring race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this afternoon, leading every lap of the 82-lap race. Steve Pfeffer started the team's ...

LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 28, 2003) -- Columbus-based TC Kline Racing dominated the Grand-Am Cup Series Sport Touring race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this afternoon, leading every lap of the 82-lap race. Steve Pfeffer started the team's #12 BMW Z4 in the pole position and pulled out to a strong lead before handing the reigns over to Don Salama, who brought it home for the team's second-straight win of the season.

"The car was great. I just tried to stay tidy. More than anything, I wanted to be consistent. It worked out great. I was able to turn the car over in good shape to Don, and he brought it home," said Pfeffer.

The key to the team's success was the conservation of its tires throughout the race. While most teams took on fresh tires when they pitted for their driver changes, the #12 BMW Z4 only took on fuel, saving the team an extra 30 seconds in the pits.

"(Pfeffer) saved the tires. My rules to him were, 'do not use your tires, do not use your brakes and go as fast as you can go under those circumstances.' If we were going to do it, we were not going to change them. When we got to the end of his stint I said we don't need them. Everybody else has already stopped and put four tires on. We knew we had 30 seconds on them by not going to tires, so we took the shot and it paid off," said team owner TC Kline. "It's a picture perfect weekend. We were wonderful every practice. The cars just kept getting better. Everything we tried worked."

Ian James and Tim Gaffney picked up second place honors in the Team Lexus #2 Lexus IS300. "I'm not sure we had anything for the BMWs today. They were really quick. They had great brakes. The Lexus handles really well and was quick, but I'm not sure that we could have really duked it out with them," said Gaffney, who was part of a door-banging four-car battle for second place following a 10-lap full course caution that was brought out on the opening lap.

Another Ohio-based team, Honda of America Racing Team, rounded out the overall podium with the third-place finish of the #00 Acura RSX-S of Pete Halsmer and John Schmitt.

The HRPworld.com team of Canton, Ohio, controlled the Sport Touring II class for the entire race. The team's #43 Acura Integra LS started at the front of the field. Each of the team's other Acuras took their turns making runs at the front of the class, but when the checkered flag fell it was the #43 Acura back in front for the class win.

"We were very fortunate on that first yellow when the Mini and Audi got together. It was kind of crazy down there. On the restart, I really got a great jump and was able to get past the two other ST I Minis, and that gave me a cushion between us and the #27 Bill Fenton Acura," said HRPworld.com driver Howie Liebengood, whose victory with co-driver Wayne Nonnamaker moves the duo to within one-point of the points-leading #27 Acura Integra LS of Bill Fenton Motorsports, which finished third. The HRPworld.com #43 Acura Integra LS finished second in the ST II class.

The second of the Mid-Ohio Twin 200s will be held at noon on Sunday. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is located approximately halfway between Columbus and Cleveland, off Interstate 71. For event information and tickets, call 1-800-MID-OHIO or visit www.midohio.com.

For more information about the Grand-Am Cup Series, visit www.grandamerican.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ian James , John Schmitt , Don Salama , Tim Gaffney , Howie Liebengood , Bill Fenton