SCC: Watkins Glen: Turner Motorsport race notes

TURNER PUTS TWO BMWs ON THE PODIUM AT WATKINS GLEN Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY (June 8, 2009) -- The podium streak continues for Turner Motorsport, after the Turner Motorsport BMW M3s took 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, at ...

TURNER PUTS TWO BMWs ON THE PODIUM AT WATKINS GLEN

Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY (June 8, 2009) -- The podium streak continues for Turner Motorsport, after the Turner Motorsport BMW M3s took 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, at Friday's race at Watkins Glen. This race marked round six of the Grand-Am KONI Challenge series, and was perhaps one of the most exciting races so far this season. With constantly changing track conditions, wet-to-dry, dry-to-wet, many close calls and truly hair-raising moments, this was a stellar race. And one you won't want to miss on SPEED TV this coming Sunday.

Friday's racing action began with strong practice and qualifying sessions. Matt Bell returned to his pole-winning form, piloting the #96 Stoptech Brakes / MOTUL Lubricants BMW M3 to the lead position with a fast lap of 2:04:576, breaking the previous track record of 2:05:134 set two seasons ago. This pole position is the fourth of the season for Bell, who has qualified 3rd or better in every race so far this year as he continues to make an impressive debut campaign, co-driving with Bill Auberlen in the # 96 H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3.

Meanwhile in the sister #97 Turner Motorsport/H&R Springs BMW M3, fellow Turner teammate Chris Gleason managed a respectable qualifying of 7th, ensuring that both Turner BMWs would start in the thick of the action at race start.

From his P1 start, Matt Bell led the first 5 laps of the race, and held on to P2 until the first caution period. Teammate Chris Gleason would also hold his place in P7 until the same first caution period. Under the yellow flag, both drivers would pit out and hand their BMWs over to their respective co-drivers. Bill Auberlen would hop into the #96 Turner BMW M3 with fresh fuel and tires, as would Joey Hand in the #97 Turner BMW M3.

Both Auberlen and Hand lapped close to each other for the rest of the race, executing amazing passing maneuvers (often against each other) through heavy traffic and perpetually changing track conditions. Close contact and unbelievable driving heroics would allow the Turner M3's to move through the field and into the front pack. Hand and Auberlen sliced and diced their way up to positions 2 and 3, where they would continue to pursue the Porsche in P1, as well as compete with each other for the 2nd place position. Auberlen managed to get around Hand and nab the Second Place finish, while Hand finished just behind him in Third Place to join him on the podium. The Porsche would be the victor this time out.

In the ST class, the #95 Turner Motorsport BMW E90 328i, having recently been rebuilt from a crash, was not quite ready in time to make qualifying laps, and was forced to start the race from the back of the pack. Driver Paul Dalla Lana worked his way up several positions before handing the car over to co-driver and team owner Will Turner. Dalla Lana and Turner were able to muster a very respectable 8th place finish, despite their having to start from the back row.

This is the 5th podium finish of the 6 races of the 2009 season, as well as the second time the Turner team has put two pairs of drivers simultaneously on the podium this year. In round five at Lime Rock Park, just 2 weeks earlier, Turner Motorsport drivers finished 1st and 3rd. This strong finish further solidifies the Turner Motorsport BMWs as exceptional and consistent competitors, race after race.

Broadcast reminder: The Speed Channel's broadcast of this race is on this upcoming Sunday, June 14, at 2:00pm ET. Don't miss it -- Set your DVR or TiVO today!

-credit: tm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Will Turner , Chris Gleason , Paul Dalla Lana , Matt Bell
Teams Turner Motorsport