SCC: VIR: Chris Gleason preview

Gleason to Do Double-Duty at VIR; Sunday's Race Will be Live on SPEED JOHNSTOWN, Pa. April 19 - In a late development, Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. will now compete in both the Rolex Series race on Sunday and the Grand-Am Cup race on Saturday...

Gleason to Do Double-Duty at VIR; Sunday's Race Will be Live on SPEED

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. April 19 - In a late development, Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. will now compete in both the Rolex Series race on Sunday and the Grand-Am Cup race on Saturday at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Va. this weekend.

Sunday's Rolex Series race will be televised live on SPEED at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

Gleason's primary focus this year is the Grand-Am Cup series, where he and his co-driver, Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., are currently tied for second place in the driver point standings. He and Auberlen will share the Turner Motorsport/Gleason Financial BMW M3 No. 96 in that race Saturday afternoon on VIR's picturesque 3.27-mile road course. That race, which features a whopping 91 entries at press time, will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 29. Gleason and Auberlen compete in the Grand Sport (GS) class, which touts 50 cars this weekend. The distance is 200 miles.

Gleason has also just been tabbed to drive the Matt Connolly Motorsports BMW M3 No. 21 in Sunday afternoon's Rolex Series race at VIR. Ironically the No. 21 BMW won this race last year under BMW Team PTG livery with Auberlen and Tom Milner of Leesburg, Va. driving. Auberlen has actually won three of the four Rolex Series GT races held at VIR; two for BMW and one for Ferrari.

This year Auberlen will be in the Sigalsport BMW No. 05 in the Rolex Series race with Matthew Alhadeff of Los Angeles, while Gleason and Jeff Altenburg of Ellicott City, Md. and Joey Hand of Sacramento, Calif. will be in the Matt Connolly Motorsports No. 21 for that race on Sunday. Their entry is sponsored by BMW of Towson, Md. It is one of 20 Grand Touring (GT) class cars which will be joined by 26 Daytona Prototypes in Sunday's 46-car, 400 kilometer race. It will be televised live on SPEED beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern time Sunday.

If that sounds confusing, Gleason's fans just have to remember it's Car 96 with Auberlen in Saturday's Grand-Am Cup race and Car 21 with Altenburg and Hand in Sunday's Rolex Series race, and both cars are BMW M3s. Just Altenburg and Gleason are listed on the official entry list for Sunday's race in the No. 21, but Gleason said that Hand will be helping too. "I don't know exactly who will drive which stints, but Joey knows these cars inside and out and he's part of the team and he should be a big help," he explained. "I think it's a real strong driver line-up."

The big turn-out of cars, prompted primarily because the drivers love racing at this particular course, is going to add to the challenge.

"In the Grand-Am Cup race particularly, with over 90 entries, I'm just afraid it's going to be a demolition derby," Gleason warned. "Half of the race could be run under caution. That affects the team's strategy for pit stops and driver changes. As a team, we'll have to think this through. And as drivers, we'll have to do our best to stay out of trouble."

Gleason added that his new Rolex Series ride may turn into a multi-race arrangement.

In addition to the coverage on SPEED, live timing and scoring and the weekend schedule can be found on the Internet at grandamerican.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Chris Gleason , Jeff Altenburg , Matt Connolly , Matthew Alhadeff
Teams Turner Motorsport