Race For The Championship Gets Tighter MID OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE, Lexington, OH - 08/29/2005 - Turner Motorsport scored another victory in the Grand Am Cup series race held yesterday at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course. Justin Marks and Bill Auberlen...
Race For The Championship Gets Tighter
MID OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE, Lexington, OH - 08/29/2005 - Turner Motorsport scored another victory in the Grand Am Cup series race held yesterday at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course. Justin Marks and Bill Auberlen teamed up again in the #96 H&R Springs/Baker Sox BMW M3 for their fourth win of 2005. In the ST class, Will Turner and Don Salama almost made it a clean sweep with another second-place finish. In both classes, TMS pilots closed the gap on first place in the overall championship.
Turner Motorsport has a string of successes stretching back five races to Watkins Glen in June. The win for the #96 M3 was the second in a row after taking victory in Trois-Rivieres earlier this month and third since the Watkins Glen round. The #95 330i has two second-place finishes in a row amid the six podium finishes of the season. Not to be outdone, the #97 330i has four top five finishes after yesterday's fourth-place result.
Justin Marks started the M3 from the pole position yesterday and swapped the lead several times during the first stages of the race. Eventually he was able to pull ahead and stake out a lead that he held until pitting for fuel, tires, and to let Bill Auberlen take over the reigns. Once all of the teams had made their pitstops the #96 M3 was back in the lead. Even from the early stages it was clear that the M3 was going to tough to beat and in Auberlen's hands it was invincible.
Bill Auberlen, #96 H&R Springs/Baker Sox BMW M3:
"This was absolutely the most flawless race we've run. We couldn't have done our pit stops at a better time, and the car did pretty much whatever we wanted all day and we owe much of that to Roland Graef at H&R Springs - H&R has really stepped up their involvement with us this year and it shows. Turner builds an awesome car; you see it in both classes. These cars are like rocket ships."
In the ST class it was looking like Turner Motorsport would finish in first place as well until late race traffic played a role in dropping the #95 H&R Springs/Red Line Oil BMW 330i from the lead. Will Turner started from the pole again and was never outside the top three positions during the race. When he handed the car over to Don Salama halfway through the 81-lap race, the H&R Springs 330i was back in the lead. Lapped traffic in the 70+ car field slowed the 330i as the race wound down and the number 00 Chevrolet was able to sneak by.
Steve Pfeffer continued his charge up the ST class points standings with another top five result. Pfeffer and Mike Fitzgerald (substituting for Tim Pappas) started from fourth on the grid and narrowly missed a podium finish in the #97 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW 330i.
The victory closes the gap to first place for Justin Marks in the overall GS standings - 262 to 242. In the ST class, Turner and Salama are seven points away from leading the championship. Two races remain in the season, Phoenix Raceway on September 10 and Virginia International Raceway on October 8.
The SPEED Channel will broadcast the Mid Ohio round on September 17 at 12:00pm ET.