Buffomante Is Hometown Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Victor in HARRAH's Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda JOLIET, IL--26 July 09-- Tony Buffomante wanted this win badly for a No. of reasons. He lives 20 miles from the track. It was his ...
Buffomante Is Hometown Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Victor in HARRAH's Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda
JOLIET, IL--26 July 09-- Tony Buffomante wanted this win badly for a No. of reasons. He lives 20 miles from the track. It was his last appearance for the season in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge. And, above all, he wanted to take a hometown win to reward his dad and crew for all their labor in preparing his Ford Mustang FR500S.
Starting from second position for the HARRAH'S Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda, Buffomante grabbed the lead in turn 1 of the 3.506-mile, 18-turn circuit, and never looked back over the course of the 13-lap race. Buffomante, piloting the No. 34 Team BRE entry, led championship contenders Ted Anthony, Jr, and Andrew Caddell across the stripe for his second Mustang Challenge win of the season.
For the second consecutive season, the Mustang Challenge championship title battle will once again go down to the Miller Motorsports Park finale in September with Caddell holding a 47-point advantage over Anthony, Jr.
"Awesome! That was awesome!" exclaimed a jubilant Buffomante, 36, of Napier, Illinois in victory circle. "My dad--huge! My crew-- huge! I've got a ton a people supporting me here so this is a really special win. The start was a little hairy, but we made it through, and from there the car was just perfect so all I had to do was keep it on the track. Hopefully I can come back next year and run a complete season."
From the drop of the green flag, Buffomante, Anthony, Jr and Caddell quickly established their advantage, having gapped the field by the exit of turn-2. It was to be short lived when the yellow flags flew signaling a caution period as the result of cars 16, driven by Gunter Schaldach, and 17, driven by Ben Crosland, tangling in turn 2.
When the green flew once more to begin lap 4, it was as if Buffomante, Anthony, Jr and Caddell simply hit the replay button. Once again they gapped the field and from there the gap only grew with each succeeding lap. Anthony, Jr kept his No. 09 TC Motorsports Mustang just within striking distance, but no closer.
Meanwhile, Caddell settled into third place having correctly judged that there was no catching Buffomante on this day, and settled in for a points run with an eye on the securing his second Mustang Challenge championship.
"I was hoping for a win, but it turned into a sprint race, and Tony (Buffomante) was really hooked up today. TC Motorsports gave me a great race car, as always, and we'll take all the points we can get," said polesitter Anthony, Jr, 26 of Kirkland, Washington.
Title-leader Caddell took his third place in stride since he has eyes on a bigger prize.
"It was a good day," said the driver of the No.1 Kaufmann Racing entry. "I didn't quite have the pace for those other two (Buffomante and Anthony, Jr). I just thought about the championship and now we'll go to Miller and do some testing there in advance of the last race and see if we can win the championship in style with another race win!"
Once again, it wasn't just the battle up front that the fans were watching, as the Mustang Challenge race was competitive all through the field.
Behind the leading trio, a wonderful battle for 4th place developed among the No. 19 of Jason von Kluge, the No. 17 of Dan Aweida and the No. 42 of Brandon Davis. Together, this trio ran in close quarters with each looking for an edge until lap 10 when Davis managed to get around Aweida in turn 1.
Their battle allowed von Kluge to finally put some daylight between himself and his pursuers. von Kluge held on to his fourth position overall ahead of Davis and Aweida at the stripe as the championship standings continued to tighten in advance of the final round at the series home track at Miller Motorsports Park.
Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Special Awards:
The "Go Pro, Be a Hero" Award went to Pete Crosby in the No. 64 Capaldi Racing Mustang for his sportsmanship and dedication to the Mustang Challenge Series.
James Burke started the No. 44 SpeedWorks R&D Mustang from the back of the grid, and raced his way to 13th at the finish to lock up the BFGoodrich "Take Control" Award.
The final round of the 2009 Mustang Challenge takes place at Miller Motorsports Park outside of Salt Lake City, Utah on September 19.
Thank you from the Mustang Challenge drivers and staff to the corner workers and staff at AutoBahn.