SCC: Watkins Glen: Sport Touring race notes

TC Kline Racing grabs first BMW Z4 victory at The Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 20, 2003) -- Most people do not like driving a convertible in the rain, but Don Salama and Steve Pfeffer were all smiles after three hours of racing around Watkins...

TC Kline Racing grabs first BMW Z4 victory at The Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 20, 2003) -- Most people do not like driving a convertible in the rain, but Don Salama and Steve Pfeffer were all smiles after three hours of racing around Watkins Glen International in a steady rain at the wheel of the TC Kline Racing #12 BMW Z4. The duo captured the first-ever Grand-Am Cup Series BMW Z4 victory in The Glen Sport Touring 250 on Friday evening.

The wet weather made for slippery conditions throughout the entire race and resulted in nine full-course cautions for 21 laps during 58-lap race. What was designed as an endurance race became more a series of sprint races between the yellows as no one was able to build up a very large lead before the cautions bunched the field back up.

Salama was at the wheel of the leading #12 BMW Z4 when the course returned green for the final five laps of the race, resulting in a four-car shootout to the checkered flag. Sylvain Tremblay in the SpeedSource #68 Porsche Boxster, Pete Halsmer in the Honda of America Racing Team #00 Acura RSX-S and Ian James in the Team Lexus #2 IS300 filled Salama's rearview mirror as they jockeyed for position on the closing laps.

Although the #68 Porsche and #00 Acura were both able to make their way around the leading #12 BMW in the final five laps, neither could hold onto the lead as Salama maneuvered the BMW back to the front before the finish line. Despite going wide into a turn on the final lap of the race and brushing the guardrail in his pursuit of the leader, Halsmer was able to bring the #00 Acura home in second place followed by the #68 Porsche.

The Sport Touring II battle was just as close in the closing laps of the race as Wayne Nonnamaker in the HRPworld.com #42 Acura Integra LS fought to hold onto his lead with Eric Curran in the Bill Fenton Motorsports #29 Acura Integra LS right on his tail. Although Curran made several attempts to overtake the #42 Acura, he could not make it around Nonnamaker before the checkered flag flew, giving the father-son duo of Wayne and Joe Nonnamaker, which typically race in the Grand Sport II class, their first Sport Touring II win of the season.

The #29 Acura took second-place honors in the class followed by the other Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura - the points leading #27 car - in third place.

The Grand-Am Cup Series will hold the second of The Glen Twin 250s on Saturday with the Grand Sport cars taking to the racetrack at 2:45 p.m. The Glen Sport Touring 250 will be broadcast on SPEED Channel on Saturday, July 5 at 4:30 p.m.

Sport Touring Driver Quotes

DON SALAMA (No. 12 TC Kline Racing BMW Z4) -- First Place Overall --

"It was the most incredible race I've ever been in my life -- professional or amateur. We took it to the front at the beginning and I battled with every top race car driver in North America between Tremblay, James, Lally, Halsmer -- they were incredible. It was good fortune that I ended in the top spot because it could have ended in any way."

PETE HALSMER (No. 00 Honda of America Racing Team Acura RSX -- S) -- Second Place Overall --

"It was a battle the whole time out there. John did a good job in the first stint, working away. You never quite knew where things were going to end up out there because things kept changing. We're pretty pleased with second; you can only do one better. I've been coming here for a lot of years, and I really enjoy the track because it's got a lot of history and a lot of memories for me. I first came here when the Formula One guys were running and I was the crew chief for the Super G team back in the early 70's. It's a neat track"

SYLVAIN TREMBLAY (No. 68 SpeedSource Porsche Boxster) -- Third Place Overall --

"It was very exciting. We led a little bit near the end -- about 50 feet -- but the 12 and 00 cars were a little better in a couple spots. My hat's off to T.C. Kline and the HART teams. Ian (James) gave me a little nudge, but I motioned 'no, no' and we raced clean the rest of the way. Third was the best I could do today. It just wasn't good enough."

SCOTT SCHLESINGER (No. 68 SpeedSource Porsche Boxster) -- Third Place Overall --

"No two laps were the same today. It was wet and slick, with terrible visibility. I kept it on the track. All I wanted to do was keep it out of the Armco and wait for 'Sylvain in the Rain'."

WAYNE NONNAMAKER (No. 42 HRPworld.com Acura Integra LS) -- First Place ST II Class --

That was an exciting battle between yourself and the 29 and 43 cars "It was really aggressive and really fun. I'm not in the championship in this class so my dad and I can take all the risks we want. Here at The Glen, in the rain, with the walls right next to you -- that's what it takes and Will got great points for the team. I'm really excited!"

ERIC CURRAN (No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura Integra LS) -- Second Place ST II Class --

"We had a great battle with those guys (the 42 and 43). It was a lot of fun racing neck and neck with those guys. I get by them they get by me, and the yellows played a roll in it, as well as the STI cars. We had a great race. The only downside was when the 44 car, which was a lap down, got in the mix of our race. I thought we were having a great race. We didn't need a car that was a lap down mixing it up with us two. Those guys drove a great race and I'm happy. Bill Fenton Motorsports did a great job putting this car together."

BOB BEEDE (No. 27 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura Integra LS) -- Third Place ST II Class --

"I was playing it pretty conservatively near the end, because the other cars are in the points battle. I got by to take third in traffic. With the rain, there was the usual slipping and sliding. Bill Fenton led the whole time he was out there, I couldn't get it back in the lead."

ANDY LALLY (No. 0 Team Lexus IS300) --

"I pitted in the lead to top it off so we could go the distance. I got it back up to fourth, and it was just a battle from there on out. Late in the race I went in to the heel of the Boot and the rear brakes locked up. I tried to modulate it to avoid hitting the car in front of me. Then I tried the escape route, but it was too late, and I got hung up on the gravel, I couldn't do anything about it. It was fun while it lasted. It was hard to see, my car was fogging up. The Rain-X worked well, but the Fog-X didn't."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Pete Halsmer , Wayne Nonnamaker , Ian James , Sylvain Tremblay , Eric Curran , Steve Pfeffer , T.C. Kline , Don Salama , Bill Fenton
Teams HART , SpeedSource