James, Gleason and Auberlen's BMW Qualifies Third for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic Rolex Series Race at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 26 - The No. 22 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 of Ian James of Paradise Valley, Ariz.; Chris Gleason of ...
James, Gleason and Auberlen's BMW Qualifies Third for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic Rolex Series Race at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 26 - The No. 22 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 of Ian James of Paradise Valley, Ariz.; Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. and Bill Auberlen of Santa Monica, Calif. qualified third Friday for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic Rolex series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The race will be televised on a tape-delayed basis Sunday at noon ET on SPEED. Its distance is 250.638 miles, 111 laps or two hours and 45 minutes.
James' qualifying time was 1:28.538, which works out to an average speed of 91.811 miles per hour for the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.
The plan is for James to start the race, Gleason to drive the middle stint and Auberlen to be in the car at the end of the race.
One of the No. 22's sister cars, the No. 16 BMW, got the pole with a 1:28.359 (91.997 mph).
Following Saturday's race there are only four Rolex series events left for the 2005 season: Sept. 8-10 at Phoenix International Raceway; Sept. 22-24 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International with the Indy Racing League; Oct. 7-9 at Virginia International Raceway and Dec. 2-4 at Mexico City, Mexico.
Gleason's No. 22 is sixth in the national point standings going into Saturday's race, while one of its sister cars, the No. 16, is second; the No. 21 is ninth and the No. 17 is 12th. BMW is currently second in the GT manufacturer point standings with five of 14 races remaining.
Gleason noted that he'll have an additional sponsor on the sides of the No. 22 for the Phoenix event: the insurance provider Highmark. The company will also entertain approximately 20 people at the track that weekend.
"We're trying to show them that racing is a great tool for marketing, for business-to-business activity and to spread enthusiasm and excitement among employees," Gleason said.
The Daytona Protype and GT classes will race in separate events at Phoenix instead of together in one race. The GT race is on Friday, Sept. 9 and the DP event is on Saturday, Sept. 10. In addition to being represented on Gleason's car for Friday night's race, Highmark will also be represented on a Daytona Prototype in Saturday night's race.
"That way they'll have cars in both races to cheer for," Gleason noted.
Gleason also has a busy weekend planned for the Labor Day holiday, as he'll be one of the drivers representing BMW at the Rolex Vintage Festival presented by BMW Sept. 2-5 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.
BMW will be celebrating five generations of 3 Series cars that weekend. The festivities will include a display of BMW road cars and rides around the race track in various BMWs for the company's VIPs. Gleason will be pressed into service as a driver for the latter, and he also may be a judge of a car show there on Sunday. A roast of Carroll Shelby and numerous other parties are also on the holiday weekend schedule.
More information can be found on the team's Web site at ptgracing.com; at Gleason Inc.'s site at gleasoninc.com; at grandamerican.com; speedtv.com and restartcommunications.com.