HAND, MARSAL GIVE TURNER MOTORSPORT VICTORY IN SATURDAY'S BOSCH ENGINEERING VIR 200 ST Winners Eversley, Lutz Cross Finish Line On Fumes DANVILLE, Va. (April 24, 2010) - Turner Motorsport's pit strategy worked to perfection in Saturday's...
HAND, MARSAL GIVE TURNER MOTORSPORT VICTORY IN SATURDAY'S BOSCH ENGINEERING VIR 200
ST Winners Eversley, Lutz Cross Finish Line On Fumes
DANVILLE, Va. (April 24, 2010) - Turner Motorsport's pit strategy worked to perfection in Saturday's Bosch Engineering VIR 200 at Virginia International Raceway, while other teams were forced to make late-race pit stops and give up track position.
Joey Hand took the lead with 12 minutes remaining in the two-and-a-half hour race, the fourth round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season, and earned the Grand Sport (GS) victory with co-driver Michael Marsal. It marked the pair's first win of 2010 and third consecutive podium finish in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3.
Hand bested runner-up Jeff Bucknum, who came from 30th starting position, by 2.498 seconds after Bucknum pitted for fuel with 14 minutes remaining. Third-place driver Matt Plumb, who also pitted for fuel while leading with 12 minutes left, finished 4.349 seconds behind.
"Coming off two thirds and now a win, we're streakin,' people," Hand said. "We pitted early and took the right amount of fuel. We had plenty for the finish, running full rich."
Marsal started the car, and his stint proved exciting. Not long after the race began, Marsal spun into one of the tire walls, damaging the car's rear bumper, which was eventually removed. Hand relieved he rookie during the first of two pit stops, and was a podium challenger for the race's final hour.
"I recovered, kept it on the lead lap and started hammering it down the straight," Marsal said of his off-course excursion. "The brakes were really great; I was able to pull through."
Bucknum, who debuted the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro last October at VIR and Saturday led a race-high 14 laps, was the first leader to pit, when he dived in for a splash-and-go. That gave Plumb, whose BMW suffered rear bumper damage of its own after contact, the lead, but he pitted on the next lap. Co-driving the No. 13 RumBum.com BMW M3 with Gian Bacardi, Plumb raced out of the pits a few moments after Hand flashed by.
Not requiring fuel in the No. 97, Hand only needed to keep Bucknum, who co-drove the No. 6 Sunoco Camaro with Matt Bell, in his mirrors. For Marsal, it marked his fifth start and first career win. For Hand, it was his fourth triumph. The pair moved into a second-place tie in points with sixth-place finishers Terry Borcheller and Andrew Hendricks in the No. 45 Stable One Racing BMW M3.
Fourth were Charlie Putman and Charles Espenlaub, who regained the points lead by one (111-110), in the No. 48 Sparco/Battery Tender BMW M3, while polesitter Jack Roush Jr. in the No. 61 ROUSH Performance Products Ford Mustang GT watched as co-driver Billy Johnson finish fifth, weaving back-and-forth to keep fuel to the engine.
In the Street Tuner class, Ryan Eversley and rookie Zach Lutz crossed the finish line with just enough fuel to win their first career race in the No. 75 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si. Eversley radioed to his crew he didn't think he had enough fuel just after taking the white flag, but he took the victory by more than eight seconds over runners-up Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann, whose No. 81 Performance Friction/RAYS Engineering BMW 328i ran out of fuel after taking the checkered flag.
"We saved a little fuel in the second stint, hoping for a yellow or the rain - and neither came," said Eversley, who led a race-high 31 ST laps. "So we had to baby it the whole way."
Kevin Stadtlander and Josh Hurley earned their first podium of the season in the No. 181 APR/BBS Volkswagen GTI, while Lawson Aschenbach, in the No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si, stopped for fuel on the final lap before finishing fourth. Aschenbach and David Thilenius did, however, maintain the points lead over Thomas and Heumann by six points (123-117).
Rounding out the top five were Andy Lally, who earlier in the day won the Rolex Series GT race with TRG, and Nic Jönsson, in the No. 10 Infinity Audio/HD Radio Kia Forte Koup. It was the best ever finish for a Kia in series history.
Four cars were involved in the race's only major incident. Defending race winner Derek Whitis's No. 25 Aventura Technologies Mazda MX-5 made contact with Todd Buras's No. 51 Irish Mike's Racing Volkswagen Jetta GLI, who spun into Chris Prusinski's No. 79 Coastline Imaging BMW M3, forcing retirement for all three cars. Buras was transported to Danville Regional Medical Center and later treated and released. The No. 32 Cybernation MAZDASPEED3 of Taylor Hacquard also made hard contact with Whitis's car but continued on to pit lane.
The 66-lap race, which featured two caution periods for nine laps, was run at an average speed of 85.774 mph.
The next race for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will be Saturday, May 29, at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. It will mark the series' first split-class race weekend of the season.