Californians Bernheim, Dement Victorious in Eventful Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca MONTEREY, Calif. (May 6, 2006) -- Car owner/driver Steve Bernheim and Dwain Dement shared the No. 03 BernheimLaw.com Porsche 996 in Saturday's ...
Californians Bernheim, Dement Victorious in Eventful Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 6, 2006) -- Car owner/driver Steve Bernheim and Dwain Dement shared the No. 03 BernheimLaw.com Porsche 996 in Saturday's Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with the latter taking the checkered flag to score the first career series win for Bernheim Racing and a win for both drivers in their native California.
Dement, of Laguna Hills, took control of the No. 03 machine from Bernheim during one of the race's seven caution periods, running near the front of the pack throughout most of the final stint. The decisive pass came on Lap 50, when Dement overtook Lonnie Pechnik in the No. 09 Engine Music Studios/Fiske Wheels BMW M3 in Turn 2 and never looked back, finishing 1.596-seconds ahead of Patrick Long in the No. 81 Wheel Enhancement/Synergy Racing Porsche 997.
"The crew gave me a good car and all I had to do was point it and go," said Dement. "We just ran clean, we stayed out of trouble and the yellows helped us. That's how we won the race."
Bernheim, of Beverly Hills, qualified the machine 24th overall, and steadily picked off positions during his stint. In three previous career Grand-Am Cup Series starts, Bernheim's best finish was 10th, coming with Dement in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
"It feels really great to win," said Bernheim. "We're big supporters of this series and Bernheim is a sponsor (Bernheim Improve Your Position Award). I'd like to thank Dwain. He not only brought home the bacon, but he built this car. The strategy was to bring in the car clean and turn it over to Dwain. We were able to do the race on one stop, and Dwain just had to watch his fuel during yellows."
The win catapulted Bernheim and Dement to the top of the championship standings, and the duo now holds a 14-point advantage over James Gue (74-60) after three of 10 races. The race was slowed by seven caution periods, spanning 37 of the race's 74 laps. Long also took control of the No. 81 machine from co-driver Brent Martini during one of the caution periods, and raced from deep in the field to a runner-up finish. It is the best-career Grand-Am Cup Series finish for Long, also a California resident.
Jeff Segal and Joao Barbosa finished third in the No. 90 Engine Studios/Land Air/Base Energy Drink BMW M3, less than half a second ahead of Canadians David Empringham and Valerie Limoges in the No. 4 USG Sheetrock/Ramset Tools/OMP Ford Mustang GT for Blackforest Motorsports. A second Blackforest Mustang finished just behind the No. 4 machine, as Forest Barber and Terry Borcheller co-piloted the No. 2 Feeds The Need Racing Ford Mustang GT to a fifth-place overall result.
CHEVROLET COBALTS GO 1-2 IN STREET TUNER CLASS AT LAGUNA SECA
Eric Curran and Jamie Holtom scored their second-consecutive Grand-Am Cup Series Street Tuner (ST) class victories Saturday afternoon in the No. 01 Clearscada/GM Performance Division Chevrolet Cobalt, lengthening their lead in the point standings, and carrying plenty of momentum heading into next weekend's single-class event at Phoenix International Raceway.
Curran passed Georgian Bay Motorsports teammate--and Jamie's father--Jim Holtom on the penultimate lap and drove to the checkers, clinching the sixth career class victory for himself, and the fourth for 18-year-old Holtom.
"Today was great," said Curran. "Our pit strategy wasn't the best, but the Chevrolet Cobalt SS worked well. It was a bit of work for me today, but the yellows worked out in our favor. I was very hungry to win, and it is great to win a race at Laguna Seca."
"Laguna is definitely one of the tracks where you want to get a win," added Holtom. "It is one of the legendary tracks in all of racing, so to get a win here is incredible. To get two wins in-a-row is wonderful and a great way to start the season."
Holtom qualified the No. 01 machine third and ran near that position during his stint. With the win, Jamie Holtom and Curran now hold a 17-point advantage in the standings over Jim Holtom and his No. 00 Scadapack/GM Performance Division Chevrolet Cobalt co-driver Daniel Colembie. The elder Holtom and Colembie held on for a runner-up finish at Laguna Seca.
David Tuaty and Jason Potter finished third in the No. 12 Performance Motorsports/Racing Dynamics BMW Z4, followed by Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson in the No. 76 Compass360.com/Skunk2/Hondata/Hawk/KHF Acura RSX-S. Don Salama and Will Turner finished fifth in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i.
The Grand-Am Cup Series returns to action next weekend in the Avondale Mazda Twin 200s, a pair of split-class races at Phoenix International Raceway. Both races will take place on Saturday, May 13, with the GS machines taking the green flag at 1:00 p.m. local time, followed by the ST cars at 4:00 p.m.