TOOELE, Utah (September 21, 2007) -- The ...
TOOELE, Utah (September 21, 2007) -- The #76 Acura TSX of Billy Johnson and Karl Thomson sitting solidly in second place, just four points behind the first-placed #95 Turner Motorsports BMW looked to gain some ground on the points lead going into Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
Karl Thomson qualified the #76 TSX in a strong 5th place of a 30-plus car field and did a great job avoiding some opening-lap carnage. Unfortunately 3 laps into the race the ABS failed on the #76 TSX resulting in two flat- spotted front tires. After a yellow-flag came out at around the 38 minute mark, Karl came into the pits with the #95 BMW right behind him for a driver change and two new front tires.
Billy Johnson gained controls of the TSX and was out on the track, unfortunately now a few cars behind the #95 BMW. Even without ABS, Johnson moved through the field until he was hit by another car knocking out the rear alignment. Even with no ABS, and a knocked out alignment, Billy was able to nurse the car into the top 10 battling back and forth with the #95 BMW. "My goal was to just keep the car together, prevent any early-lap flat-spots and try to get the car to turn" said Johnson "We had the car handling very well around these long, high speed sweeping corners here at Miller, but once that alignment was knocked out, the car was a handful".
In the closing laps, both the 76 TSX and the 95 BMW pitted for splashes of fuel, the Turner car getting out a few seconds ahead of the Acura. Johnson was able to make up a few more positions but just could not overtake the 95 car. At the checkered flag, it was Hopwood in sixth place and Johnson in seventh.
A mere five points separates the two championship-contenders: the #95 Turner BMW and the #76 Kensai Acura. Six-hours is a long time and at VIR, anything can happen. It all comes down to the last race.