Grand-Am KONI Challenge Teams To Trek North of The Border For Round Six at Mosport International Raceway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 13, 2007) -- Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) competitors will travel north...
Grand-Am KONI Challenge Teams To Trek North of The Border For Round Six at Mosport International Raceway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 13, 2007) -- Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) competitors will travel north of the U.S. border this weekend for the first of two Canadian races this season, where championship points leaders from both divisions will look to step onto the top step of the podium for the first time in 2007 at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Joe Foster, driver of the No. 55 Hyper Sport Supercuts Ford Mustang GT, leads the points by 13 over three drivers holding a second-place tie (136-123). Foster not only will be out to extend his lead, he'll also be looking to improve on a pair of second-place finishes he's scored so far this season. But there will be more on the line than just winning and increasing his point margin. Foster is scheduled to be paired with Toronto driver Scott Maxwell, the highest-ranking Canadian in the point standings at seventh. A former series champion, Maxwell has competed in four of the five races this season -- all with Foster -- and is also looking for his first victory of 2007.
No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports USG Sheetrock/Ramset Tools Ford Mustang GT co-driver Tom Nastasi, who won the first three GS races of 2007 to lead the point standings, is now 13 points back and one of the three drivers second in points. Nastasi not only wants to return to the points lead, he also wants that fourth win of the season. And Nastasi will seek that triumph with Toronto native David Empringham, the 2003 Daytona Prototype Rolex 24 At Daytona co-champion, who won the last GS race at Mosport in 2005. Empringham has competed only twice in GS competition this season -- both times with Nastasi -- but also landed the victory in the season opener at Daytona.
Tied with Foster are No. 09 Automatic Racing Fresh >From Florida/Imported Car Store BMW M3 co-drivers Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal, also searching for their first victory of the season. The pair, in one of four Automatic Racing BMWs, has finished in the top-six in four of the five races, with a best finish of third at Iowa Speedway. Automatic Racing scored a pole at Mosport in 2003.
Rounding out the top five in the point standings are No. 37 JBS Motorsports Trumansburg ShurSave Ford Mustang GT drivers James Gue and Bret Seafuse. Like Foster, Segal and Thornton, Gue and Seafuse are also looking for victory number one in 2007 after top-10 finishes in four of the five races, with back-to-back fourth-place finishes at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Iowa. Gue, who co-drove to a third-place finish in 2005 at Mosport, and Seafuse are only 14 points behind Foster for the point lead.
The most recent winners, Chris Gleason and Bill Auberlen, share the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 at Mosport. The pair, running eighth and ninth respectively in points, combined for three podium finishes this season, including a victory at Lime Rock Park last month. Gleason ran at Iowa without Auberlen but finished 28th. The other Turner Motorsport GS team, the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, will see Northeastern U.S. drivers Don Salama and Will Turner behind the wheel. The duo has posted strong runs and two poles this season but bad luck come race time has them with only two top 10s in five starts. They are tied for 10th in points.
While the focus could be squarely on how Maxwell and Empringham perform, other Canadians will seek the accolades of their fellow countrymen this weekend. Nastasi and Empringham's teammates, No. 4 Blackforest Motorsports USG Sheetrock/Ramset Tools Ford Mustang GT co-drivers Valerie Limoges and Travis Walker, are both Canadian. Limoges, now residing in Florida, lists Montreal as her hometown, while Walker is from Mississauga, Ontario.
Sharing the No. 82 BRG/Group 88 Motorsports Performance Drink/Jetalia Porsche 997 are Trois-Rivieres, Quebec brothers Jean-Francois and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin and Toronto-based driver Michael Vong. Vancouver driver Dave Riddle is scheduled to drive the No. 25 Fiorano/C-MAX Racing Porsche 997 with American Kris Wilson. Fraser Wellon of Mississauga will share the No. 88 Ranger Sports Racing Hop-A-Jet Porsche 996 with Floridian Barry Ellis. Frank Rossi of Kleinburg, Ontario will drive the No. 89 Ranger Sports Racing Hop-A-Jet Porsche 997.
In ST action, No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i co-drivers Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows head the point standings, and like their GS counterpart Foster, are also looking for their first victory of the season.
Hopwood and Burrows hold a scant four-point advantage (132-128) over Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson in the No. 76 Kensai Racing Compass360.com/Skunk2 Acura TSX. Hopwood and Burrows scored a season-best second at Homestead-Miami, and have held the point lead on two occasions this season.
Thomson, the highest-ranking Canadian in points at third, and Johnson led the standings earlier this season after winning their second race of the season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. But a disappointing 21st-place result at Lime Rock Park set them back to a third-place tie. Thomson and Johnson also won the ST season-opener at Daytona.
No. 69 SpeedSource Mondial Forwarding/Freedom Harley-Davidson Mazda RX-8 co-drivers Jose Armengol and Dan Allen have quietly found their way into a tie for fifth, but are 24 points behind leaders Hopwood and Burrows. They scored three top 10s to begin the season but have finished 14th and 13th respectively in the last two events.
Guy Cosmo, listed as the only driver in the No. 127 Fountain Motorsports BMW 330i as of Wednesday, holds seventh in the standings, thanks in part to three straight top 10s, anchored by a victory at Iowa Speedway with co-driver David Tuaty. Tuaty could be back in the car after driving in the last four races with the team.
Cosmo's teammate, Sam Schultz, drives the No. 126 Fountain Motorsports Trackmasters BMW 330i, and holds eighth in the standings, with a best finish of fifth at Lime Rock. Schultz is scheduled to share the car again with Seth Thomas, who has co-piloted the car in four of five events.
No. 58 BSI Racing MOMO/Joe Gibbs Mazda MX-5 co-drivers Magnus Karlsson and Justin Hall round out the top 10 in points, as they own a tie for ninth. The Californians scored a season-best fifth at Laguna Seca.
A total of 13 Canadians are entered in ST action. Canadian-based team Kensai Racing has Thomson in one of its three cars, with Matt Pritiko of London, Ontario in the No. 74 Compass360.com/Hawk Brakes Acura RSX-S. Another Canadian team, Georgian Bay Motorsports, won the last ST race in 2005 with Jim and Jamie Holtom. Jamie Holtom will share the No. 01 Scada Pack Chevrolet Cobalt this weekend with multiple-time KONI Challenge race winner Eric Curran.
GS Motorsports and their No. 138 C&P Cross-Border Law Chevrolet Cobalt will see a trio of Canadians behind the wheel, with Steve Kent (Bradford), Gunter Schmidt (Midland) and Andrew Danyliw (Toronto). 89 Racing Team No. 189 Trois-Rivieres Honda/Chem TVR Honda Civic Si has Quebec drivers Jocelyn Hebert (Becancour) and Rejean Vincent (Trois-Rivieres) paired up, while No. 98 Team Cobalt California Chevrolet Cobalt drivers David Shep (Caledon) and Ken MacAlpine (Sarnia) call Ontario home.
Alain Lauziere of Vaudreulil Dorion, Quebec will share the No. 197 RSR Motorsports Cruise Canada, Inc. Mini Cooper S with Arizonan Randy Smalley. Nick Wittmer of Hudson, Quebec, who finished second at Iowa with brother Kuno, is scheduled to drive the No. 31 i-MOTO Racing Cobalt Friction/Alpinestar Acura TSX with Floridian Glenn Bocchino. No. 53 Predator Auto Sport Auto Tech Chevrolet Cobalt driver Tyler Givogue (Embrun) will co-pilot the Cobalt with Kurt Kossmann of Boston.
The GS race on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn track is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Saturday with the ST race at 10:45 a.m. Sunday. Both races are scheduled for a two-and-a-half hour time limit.
Mosport Fast Facts
What: Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport and Street Tuner divisions
Who: KONI Challenge competitors from across the United States and Canada
Where: Mosport International Raceway -- Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
When: Saturday, June 16, 2007 at 1:15 p.m. (GS); Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 10:45 a.m. (ST)