Gleason and Auberlen Have Mechanical Difficulties In Grand-Am Cup Race Sunday At Trois-Rivieres, Quebec TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Aug. 6 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. and his co-driver, Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., were third about...
Gleason and Auberlen Have Mechanical Difficulties In Grand-Am Cup Race Sunday At Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Aug. 6 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. and his co-driver, Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., were third about three-quarters of the way through Sunday's Grand-Am Cup GS race at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres when their car developed brake problems and they had to retire it from the competition.
Their Turner Motorsports BMW M3 No. 96, which is sponsored in part by Gleason Financial, ended up 22nd in a field of 31 in the final rundown for the 150-mile/99-lap/two-hour race on the city's 1.521-mile street circuit.
The pair was leading the series' point standings going into this event and they certainly did not want a DNF, but as Gleason pointed out, "Anything can happen in racing, so we'll just have to wait and see." Patrick Long and Brent Martini won Sunday's race and now they hold the point lead with two races remaining, but Gleason and Auberlen are still prime contenders for the championship.
Gleason qualified tenth with a lap in 1:13.011, just nine-tenths of a second off the pole. The start was rough for some drivers and several penalties were bestowed, but Gleason drove cleanly. He moved up to fifth place pretty quickly, both by passing some cars and due to some attrition.
Following the team's strategy, he pitted on lap seven under the first caution flag, which was caused by two Mustangs and a Nissan making contact in turn three. Auberlen got in at that point, and he posted the car's fastest lap of the race when he was clocked in 1:13.150 on lap 15.
Auberlen continued their quest after pitting for fuel and fresh Hoosier tires on lap 55. A podium finish was definitely in sight, but then the brake problem got worse with about a half-hour to go and Auberlen had to bring the car into the pits and call it a day.
Their entry finished 71 laps to the winners' 91.
Sunday's race was the series' only event this year in Canada.
Only two more Grand-Am Cup events remain in 2006: the one at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Aug. 31-Sept. 2, and the season finale at VIRginia International Raceway Oct. 6-8.
For more information please see grandamerican.com.
Gleason's post-race comments follow:
"We got 22nd; we DNF'd. We lost our brakes with about 30 minutes to go. We were in third place at the time.
"We were pretty confident going into this event because Billy won this race last year, but it wasn't to be this time.
"I qualified tenth, less than a second off the pole. My job is to set the table for Billy and let him bring it home after the first caution. I passed some cars and there was some attrition, and we were in fifth when I turned the car over to him.
"Our fuel strategy was great and the team performed well, but the brakes had been getting worse all along and about 75 percent of the way through the race we blew a brake line and so we finished 22nd.
"We got a few points, anyway.
"It makes it difficult for us in the point battle, but in racing you never know what's going to happen. That's racing. It is my passion; my hobby; my avocation; whatever you want to call it, but it is not my livelihood like it is Billy's, so I have to keep it all in perspective.
"Our next race is at a new track near Salt Lake City on Sept. 1. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm looking forward to it."