Auberlen And Marks Closing In On Championship PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, Phoenix, AZ - 09/11/2005 - GS: AUBERLEN AND MARKS CONTINUE TO ROLL For the third straight race, the Baker Sox BMW M3 won in the Grand Am Cup GS series with Bill ...
Auberlen And Marks Closing In On Championship
PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, Phoenix, AZ - 09/11/2005 - GS: AUBERLEN AND MARKS CONTINUE TO ROLL
For the third straight race, the Baker Sox BMW M3 won in the Grand Am Cup GS series with Bill Auberlen and Justin Marks behind the wheel. At Phoenix International Raceway in sweltering heat Auberlen and Marks continued their hot streak of wins, which now stands at five for the season.
Marks started from the second row in the #96 M3 and stalked the pole-sitting Porsche until he slipped by and into the lead on lap 8. Despite the 100 degree heat the Turner Motorsport M3 kept its lead even after a pitstop for fuel and tires and a driver change. The consistency and speed of the Baker Sox M3 came from the performance of the H&R Springs, StopTech Brakes, Sunoco Race Fuels, Red Line Oil, B&M Shifters and the support of Piloti Driving Shoes, and Crocs.
Bill Auberlen, #96 Baker Sox/H&R Springs BMW M3:
"The credit for our string of wins has to go to the Turner Motorsport team. Everyone on the team puts in the long hours at the track and back in the shop. They did a flat-out amazing pit stop today to keep us in the lead. Of course, they have built a superb stable of racing cars. All year long the #96 M3 has been a top-notch drive. Our StopTech Brakes were a big reason why we've had such excellent results all season long. And Roland at H&R Springs has been amazing in their support and setup on all of our cars."
Justin Marks took another big bite into the deficit in the overall GS class points. He is now just fifteen points behind David Empringham in first place with a single race remaining.
ST: TMS DRIVERS BATTLE IT OUT IN THE HEAT
In the ST class, Turner Motorsport drivers found themselves in contention for the win but were forced to make late-race pit stops which dropped them from strong finishes. Will Turner and Don Salama had the #95 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW 330i in second place for much of the 99-lap race until the car needed a pit stop for a splash of fuel. It dropped them to a fifth-place finish.
Will Turner, #95 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW 330i:
"The car ran really good all day although the BMWs still can't match the speed of the RX-8. It takes a track like this to really put their speed into perspective. We were up there and the car as good even as the tires wore. But in the end we needed fuel and they didn't. We're looking forward to Virginia but we're going to need a little extra luck to win the battle."
The #97 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW 330i driven by Tim Pappas and Steve Pfeffer also ran quick and consistently with top ten times in each session of the weekend. However, traffic would interrupt their advance to the podium and a late-race penalty dropped them down the order to sixth at the checkered flag.
Heading into this race, Will Turner and Don Salama were only seven points out from first place. The fifth place finish will extend that gap by only a small amount. Steve Pfeffer and Tim Pappas were not far behind in the overall standings.
The SPEED Channel will be broadcasting both races from Phoenix in October. The ST class will be shown on October 15th and the GS race will be on October 30th.
The next, and final, race in 2005 will be at Virginia International Raceway in southern Virginia on October 8. Neither of the championship titles are secured heading into the last round.