Auberlen/Gleason Take Over GS Lead; Turner/Salama Gain Ground In ST BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK, Birmingham, AL, USA - 07/31/2006 - Turner Motorsports BMWs were poised for success at the Grand Am Cup races at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama this...
Auberlen/Gleason Take Over GS Lead; Turner/Salama Gain Ground In ST
BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK, Birmingham, AL, USA - 07/31/2006 - Turner Motorsports BMWs were poised for success at the Grand Am Cup races at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama this past weekend. Only the weather that stopped the race with 30 minutes remaining spoiled the team's chances.
The day was not a total wash-out, however, with all three Turner Motorsport BMWs finishing in the top five in their respective classes and firming up their places in the overall championship standings.
In the Grand Sport class, Bill Auberlen and Chris Gleason took over the lead in the championship thanks to a fourth-place finish in their #96 H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes/Gleason Financial BMW M3. The consistency of the BMW M3 has worked in their favor all year as the duo have finished out of the top four only twice in seven races.
Anders Hainer and Boris Said in the #97 H&R Springs/Under Armour BMW M3 scored another solid result to keep them near the top of the overall standings. Hainer, the championship-leader heading into the weekend came out 1 point behind his teammates in the #96 M3. Said, who missed a race to fulfill Nextel Cup commitments, is in fifth place overall. Hainer and Said teamed back up again this weekend and came away with their usual top-five result.
In Saturday's 55-lap event the #96 and #97 cars made their final pit stops for fuel and tires with about 1 hour left in the race. With the leaders still needing to pit, the Turner Motorsport BMWs were poised to inherit the lead and perhaps take the win until heavy rain and thunderstorms brought out a red flag and an end to the race.
Bill Auberlen, #96 H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes/Gleason Financial BMW M3:
"Our cars were very well balanced around this track and we had a great opportunity to score points. Our StopTech Brakes, were especially effective making our way through traffic here. About the only thing we couldn't plan for was the weather and that's what literally ended our race. We were in a near-perfect position to charge to the front thanks to the strategy that Turner Motorsport worked out."
In the Street Tuner class, Will Turner and Don Salama had a good chance to finish up front flag when the rain ended the race. Turner started the race from the front row in his H&R Springs BMW 330i and led the whole race during his 1.5-hour stint. After their flawless pit stop under a green flag, Don Salama took the reigns but was not out on the track for very long before the weather kicked in and the race was ended. Still, the fourth place finish, combined with trouble for their main competition, has put them within ten points of the series lead.
Will Turner, team owner and pilot, #95 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport BMW 330i:
"Our team has really come through for us this year with great strategies and excellent pit work. It has really been a blessing having these guys because n ST the competition is fierce, one mistake in the pits can cost you a bunch of positions The fact that this was our sixth top-five finish of the year and we've had no mechanical problems is a testament to the great job our guys do for each race. We just have to stay this way and we'll finish strong."
The SPEED Channel will begin broadcasting this race on this coming Saturday, August 5 at 1:00pm ET.
The next round of the Grand Am Cup series is also this coming weekend, at the street circuit of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.