Four Different Driving Duos Chase Grand Sport Title In GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
* Espenlaub, Putman Hold 10-Point Grand Sport Class Lead
* Thomas, Heumann Lead Street Tuner Class By 19 Points
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 2, 2010) - Before 2010, Fall-Line Motorsports and BimmerWorld/GearWrench had never won races in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Now, both teams are on the verge of winning titles and fielding cars for driving champions.
Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman (No. 48 Sparco/Fall-Line BMW M3) hold a 10-point advantage (254-244) in the Grand Sport (GS) class, while Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann (No. 81 Performance Friction/Rays Engineering BMW 328i) lead the Street Tuner (ST) class by 19 points (263-244) with the season finale, the Salt Lake City 200, set for Saturday, Sept. 11, at the 3.048-mile Miller Motorsports Park course near Salt Lake City, Utah.
Espenlaub and Putman joined the Fall-Line team this year, earning their sole victory in June at Watkins Glen International and have finished eighth or better in all nine races this year. Their closest rivals, Joey Hand and Michael Marsal (No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3), however, hold the tiebreak in victories - two versus one. Hand and rookie Marsal's Turner Motorsport team has won three of four GS races at Miller since 2006.
There are others eligible for the title. Like Hand and Marsal, Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. (No. 61 ROUSH Performance Products Ford Mustang GT) have two victories, and the pair looks to overcome a 14-point deficit to Espenlaub and Putman. A mechanical issue kept Johnson and Roush from earning points in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, but the duo has rallied for eight consecutive top-five results.
Another Fall-Line pair, Terry Borcheller and rookie Andrew Hendricks (No. 45 Stable One Motorsports BMW M3), are 28 points behind Espenlaub and Putman. The most points any drivers can obtain at Miller is 35, for winning the race.
The ST championship pits BimmerWorld drivers Thomas and Heumann, another series rookie, against Compass360 Racing drivers Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius (No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si). Thomas and Heumann's second victory of the season in June at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course launched them into the points lead by a single point. In that race, Aschenbach and Thilenius - also two-time race winners this season and points co-leaders after the first six races - finished 10th.
Thomas and Heumann have since earned two more top-fives, while Aschenbach and Thilenius have finished 17th and 12th. The Compass360 Racing team won the 2009 team title.
Practice for the Salt Lake City 200 begins at 8:30 a.m. MT Friday, Sept. 10, with GS qualifying at 8:55 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, and ST qualifications to follow. The two-and-a-half hour race is scheduled to start at 4:45 p.m. Sept. 11. It will be televised at 9 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 18, on SPEED.