Homestead II: Chris Gleason preview

Gleason to Race in Miami 250 at Homestead, Fla. This Weekend JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Sept. 15 o Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. is off to Homestead, Fla. to compete in the Miami 250 Rolex series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. The race is...

Gleason to Race in Miami 250 at Homestead, Fla. This Weekend

JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Sept. 15 o Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. is off to Homestead, Fla. to compete in the Miami 250 Rolex series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.

The race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and will be broadcast live on SPEED.

The event was postponed last weekend due to Hurricane Frances. With Hurricane Ivan taking a different tack, Gleason and the rest of the drivers involved hope to sandwich their event in between Hurricane Ivan and Tropical Storm Jeanne and then leave Florida to get ready for the last three races of the season, which will all take place in October.

The postponement created a timetable which shows that a full third of the season, or four races, will now be contested within just six weeks.

Those six weeks will be crucial for Gleason and his teammates, Ian James of Kissimmee, Fla. and R.J. Valentine of Hingham, Mass., since theyire tied for third in the national GT driversi point standings. Theyive finished fourth or better in each of their last six races.

They finished fourth in their class at the last race, which was held at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. on Aug. 13. Part of that race was held in a downpour which caused several accidents, including one that involved a team Raceris Group Porsche, the number 67. Their Racers Group Porsche GT3 RS is also bright blue but carries the number 66 and is sponsored by The Gleason Group, F1 Boston, Monster Cable and Adobe Road Winery.

"After the carnage at Watkins Glen we were very happy to get out of there with our car in one piece and fourth-place points," Gleason said.

"I like Homestead for a ëroval,i" he added, referring to the combined road course/oval track heill compete on this weekend. "The banking on turns three and four is very difficult, as it is not quite flat out."

Professional race car drivers Bill Auberlen (253 points) and Boris Said (249 points) are first and second, respectively in the driver point standings. They both drive BMWs. Gleason, James and Valentine are third with 225 points going into the Homestead race.

Gleason thinks the BMWs will be hard to beat at Homestead, but that doesnit mean he and his teammates wonit be trying hard to do just that.

"The BMWs are tough there, as evidence by their win earlier in the season," he pointed out. "As they continue to develop the car and have factory drivers, I would expect them to be very tough. Their reliability record has also been excellent.

"Our goal continues to be the championship, but we'll need some good fortune besides good driving and reliability to achieve it," he added. "Homestead begins the final stretch in the championship."

After the race at Homestead on Sunday, the series travels to Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. Oct. 1-3; Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Oct. 8-10 and California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Oct. 28-31. All the races are broadcast on SPEED.

There will be very little time to work on set-ups at Homestead, as the weekend schedule has been condensed due to the weather concerns. Saturday will be practice sessions only; no qualifying is planned and the grid will be established by points. Gleasonis car is expected to be on the track at 9:25 a.m., 9:50 a.m. and 1 p.m.

On Sunday there is a short warm-up session at 9 a.m. prior to the race beginning at 11 a.m. Its distance is scheduled for 250 miles, 109 laps or two hours and 45 minutes.

Storms are in the weather forecast all weekend but that should play into Gleason's favor, as his ability to drive in the rain is well-known.

For more information see: www.gleasonagency.com, www.theracersgroup.com, www.grandamerican.com and www.restartcommunications.com.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Ian James , Chris Gleason , R.J. Valentine