Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Competitors to Go Short-Track Racing Sunday at 1.3-Mile Iowa Speedway Sunday's race is first of three KONI Challenge race weekends in August DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 7, 2008) - Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series ...
Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Competitors to Go Short-Track Racing Sunday at 1.3-Mile Iowa Speedway
Sunday's race is first of three KONI Challenge race weekends in August
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 7, 2008) - Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) competitors will compete on the shortest track on the schedule at 5 p.m. CT Sunday when they take the green flag for the two-and-a-half hour or 250-mile race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
Forty-four cars are expected to compete in the combined race, the first time both classes will compete simultaneously since July 5 at Watkins Glen International. Drivers will also look to keep out of trouble on the smallest track - 1.3 miles - on the circuit, as this is the first of three race weekends in August.
Defending series co-champions Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal - driving the No. 09 Automatic Racing Imported Car Store/Land Air BMW M3 - lead the GS class to Iowa and are the only competitors to start the season with five top-five finishes. Their 20-point advantage (145-125) over Joe Foster and Scott Maxwell includes a victory at another small track - Connecticut's Lime Rock Park (1.53 miles) - in May. Automatic Racing's No. 91 Imported Car Store/Land Air BMW M3 of Charles Espenlaub and Charles Putman and No. 99 Mobil-Shop/Make-A-Wish BMW M3 of Steve Cameron and Rob Finlay are also entered.
Meanwhile Foster and Maxwell have pulled out two victories of their own in the No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT, including the most recent Barber 250 at Barber Motorsports Park. They'll look to last year's race at Iowa as motivation, as the winning GS car was also a Mustang.
Bret Seafuse and James Gue sit only 25 points in arrears of Thornton and Segal after taking the No. 37 JBS Motorsports Ford Mustang GT to second at Barber. The Rehagen Racing team will bring four Mustangs, highlighted by the No. 60 Sunset Hills Vineyard of Mike Canney and Hugh Plumb and No. 59 of Dean Martin and Jack Roush Jr. Team owner Larry Rehagen and Ray Mason will share the No. 52 Columbus Truck and Equipment Ford Mustang GT.
Craig Stanton, the Fresh From Florida 200 co-winner, will share the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Weeden Consultants/Performance Drink Porsche 997 with Jon Miller. TRG, which won here in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 GT competition in 2007, brings two cars to the track. Andy Lally, who won with TRG last season at Iowa, will pair with Scott Schroeder in the No. 41 Carlsen Porsche/DigiTrust Group Porsche 997. The team's sister car, the No. 39 TRG Carlsen Porsche/Fox River Coffee Porsche 997, will see Spencer Pumpelly and Duncan Ende behind the wheel.
The two-car Maxwell Paper Racing team features the No. 77 Porsche 996 with drivers Bryan Sellers and Ross Smith, and the No. 78 Porsche 997 with Andrew Davis and Kendall Smith.
Turner Motorsport and Playboy Racing/Fall-Line Motorsports will field the remaining four cars, all BMW M3s. Bill Auberlen and Matthew Alhadeff will share the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, while Don Salama and Bryan Ortiz will drive the No. 97 BMW M3. Mark Boden and Steve Jenkins will drive the No. 28 Playboy/Verve BMW M3 and Mike Borkowski and Tommy Constantine will drive the No. 46 Playboy/Taser BMW M3.
West Des Moines driver Hemmingson leads ST class to Iowa
ST point co-leader Chuck Hemmingson won't have to travel far for this weekend's race at Iowa Speedway. Hemmingson lives in West Des Moines, less than an hour's drive from the track. He shares the No. 111 ICY/Phoenix Racing Subaru Legacy with Kristian Skavnes, and the pair hold a nine-point advantage (139-130) over Kuno Wittmer. Hemmingson and Skavnes won their third race together at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The team is also fielding the No. 141 ICY/Phoenix Racing Subaru Legacy for team co-owner David Rosenblum and rookie Andrew Aquilante.
Wittmer is running the No. 32 i-MOTO Racing Cybernation Broadband Solutions/Alpine Star Acura TSX with Rookie of the Year leading candidate Peter Cunningham, who has 125 points. The team's No. 31 i-MOTO Racing Cybernation Broadband Solutions/Alpine Star Acura TSX will be driven by Nick Wittmer and team owner Glenn Bocchino, who won at Daytona in January.
Eric Curran and Jamie Holtom are also part of a two-car team, as they drive the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS. The pair has two race victories this season and are 19 points out of the lead after axle problems at Watkins Glen resulted in a 37th-place finish and kept them from scoring any points. Their teammates are No. 00 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS drivers Ashley McCalmont and Kirk Spencer.
Despite missing the season opener, Bob Beede has three podiums in four starts and looks for his first victory of the season in the No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Honda Certified Used Cars/Southern Auto Auction Honda Civic Si.
Defending series champions Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood won their first career KONI Challenge race at Watkins Glen and lead a three-car Compass360 Racing team to Iowa in their No. 74 Skunk2/Sunday Group Management Acura TSX. Canadians Ken Wilden and Jeremy Willard share the No. 75 Pure Hair and Body Care/Skunk2 Acura TSX, while Christian Miller and Benoit Theetge will drive the No. 76 Skunk2/K&N Acura RSX.
Several other three-car teams will see action in ST. Freedom Autosport, which earned a podium at Watkins Glen with Tom Long and Rhett O'Doski, is bringing three Mazda MX-5s, while APR Motorsport has three Volkswagen GTIs ready to race. Both teams had cars start on the front row at The Glen in June.
Defending team race winner Fountain Motorsports and driver Guy Cosmo reunite, with Cosmo sharing the No. 128 Hawk Brakes/Marren Fuel Injection BMW 330i with Shane Lewis. Kevin York and Marko Radisic will drive the No. 127 Hawk Brakes/Rogue Engineering BMW 330i. Classic BMW-Plano's Toby Grahovec and Pierre Kleinubing, sharing the No. 86 BMW Z4, own a one-point advantage over teammates Al Lamb and Leo Maia, in the No. 85 BMW Z4.
Single car efforts will come from V-Pack Motorsport, Brass Mitchell Racing (which earned a podium at Mid-Ohio), Predator Auto Sport, Turner Motorsport, Istook's Motorsports and GS Motorsports.