von Kluge Takes a Step Closer to Title with Dominant Win at Miller Motorsports Park TOOELE, Utah, 11 September - Jason von Kluge is but one race closer to becoming the 2010 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge champion. After taking a one point ...
von Kluge Takes a Step Closer to Title with Dominant Win at Miller Motorsports Park
TOOELE, Utah, 11 September - Jason von Kluge is but one race closer to becoming the 2010 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge champion. After taking a one point advantage this morning over rival Tony Buffomante, von Kluge proceeded to a dominant flag-to-flag win from the pole on Saturday in the penultimate round of the 2010 championship. As such, he goes into the final race tomorrow with a nine point-advantage over Buffomante, who finished third on the day.
Ben Crosland was arguably the star of the race, having been relegated to the last starting position for being one pound underweight in qualifying, the Salt Lake City 12th grader charged through the field to finish in second place.
"I don't know if it's in the fridge, but it's a lot closer. That race couldn't have gone any better and I can't ask for much more going into tomorrow. We were a little concerned with fuel, so I slowed a little in the end, but we were fine," said an ecstatic von Kluge.
Will he take a more conservative approach tomorrow?
"No. I'm going to keep it the same. Go for the pole and the win," von Kluge added.
The 20-strong field took the green flag and immediately fanned across Miller Motorsports Park's wide, long front-straight. Front row starters von Kluge and Buffomante went door-to-door for a distance, but Buffomante missed a shift bogging him down. That allowed not only von Kluge's No. 19 JVK Motorsports Mustang to escape, but also Pratt Cole and Kyle Gimple to get ahead into turn 1. Behind, the rest of field made it cleanly through. Buffomante passed Gimple midway through the lap to claw back to third place.
At the start of lap 2, von Kluge had already opened some daylight and heading into turn 1, Buffomante went around the outside of Cole to reclaim second place. He was now in hot pursuit of von Kluge, but it was as close as he would get. From there von Kluge reeled off a series of fast laps, and by the sixth one, he had established a gap of five seconds over Buffomante.
Meanwhile behind, exciting battles for position were developing throughout the field. The battle for third place was hard fought for a number of laps between Cole and Gimple. Time and again, they would enter turn 1 side-by-side with Cole on the inside and Gimple on the outside. By lap 5 Crosland had worked his way to sixth place while Dan Aweida was keeping a very close eye on the battle for third from his fifth place position.
At the same time, sixth through tenth places were running nose-to-tail. At various times George Winkler, Mike McGovern, Andrew Hendricks, Shootout winner Dean Thomas Sloan Urry, and Richard Golinello had a dog in the fight.
On laps eight through 12, Crosland worked his way past Aweida, Gimple and Cole to secure third place. By now, von Kluge was off in the distance and seemingly so was Buffomante. But, Crosland's No. 25 Interbank F/X RP Motorsports was a fast machine, and Buffomante was now in the crosshairs.
By lap 13, with von Kluge nearly seven seconds up the road, Crosland was riding Buffomante's bumper. At the turn six hairpin, the Buffomante's blue No. 34 and Crosland's white No. 25 were door-to-door with Crosland on the inside. At the exit he made the pass stick and it wasn't long before the blue car was becoming a small speck in Crosland's mirrors.
"Unbelievable. I really wasn't expecting that," said Crosland in victory circle nearly as surprised as everyone else. "I was being pretty forceful at the start and passed around 10 cars on the opening lap. From there, it was hard work, but the race came to me and the car was working great. By the time I got around Buffomante, I set our after von Kluge, but I didn't want to do anything stupid at that point, so I just settled in."
Buffomante was steadily falling prey to Kyle Gimple who closed right up to him for the final three laps. This time, Buffomante was able to maintain his lead over Gimple and Cole to keep his title aspirations alive.
"That wasn't very fun. It's a tough one to take. I blew it at the start, but I settled down pretty quickly and got around Kyle (Gimple) and Pratt (Cole) right away. I think they might have given me a break. Then, I went after Jason (von Kluge) but I had nothing for him. I was just hanging on waiting for Ben (Crosland) to catch me," said a down but definitely not out Buffomante. "Those guys were coming out of the last corner pretty strong, so we have to make some adjustments to our car to be able to generate the same momentum. I've got one more day, and we're going to give it everything we've got."
The battle to get within the top-10 was a furious one right down to the wire. In the end Aweida held on to sixth ahead of McGovern, a continually impressive Thomas, then Hendricks and Golinello rounded out the Top-10.
Brad Adams led the second half of the field home in 11th place. Trailing were Sloan Urry, Michael Zuieback, Jim Click, George Winkler, Kenneth Greenberg, John Scarlett, Roger Miller, Dan Rogers and Pete Crosby.
For their considerable efforts, Golinello won the BF Goodrich "Take Control" Award, McGovern the Green Filters USA "Fast First" Award and Gimple the Sunday Group Management Rookie of the Race Award.
The final Ford Racing Mustang Challenge race will get underway tomorrow, Sunday, at 1:00 PM Mountain time with qualifying set for 10:40 AM Mountain time. Follow all the action live on mustangchallenge.com.