Foster Enters KONI Challenge Series Weekend at Lime Rock With Grand Sport Points Lead DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 23, 2007) -- Joe Foster will look to keep his Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) points lead in this weekend's Round 5 on...
Foster Enters KONI Challenge Series Weekend at Lime Rock With Grand Sport Points Lead
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 23, 2007) -- Joe Foster will look to keep his Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) points lead in this weekend's Round 5 on the 1.53-mile, seven-turn Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., and in the process, claim his first series victory of the 2007 season in GS competition (SPEED, tape delay, 3 p.m. June 10).
Having finished in the top 10 in all four races this season, Foster, of Lawrenceville, Ga. will try to improve on a pair of second-place finishes after taking the points lead (113-105) from Tom Nastasi last weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Foster stole the lead after finishing fourth, while Nastasi was relegated to 16th on the final rundown, the first race of the season he came away from a track without holding the checkered flag.
The two drivers are part of a field which includes 39 GS entries and 31 Street Tuner cars. The GS race is scheduled for Monday, while the ST race is scheduled for Saturday. No on-track activity is scheduled for Sunday.
Prior to this season, Foster had never finished higher than fifth in 20 GS starts, but he's already claimed three finishes higher than that. Included was a second in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway and the series' debut at Iowa Speedway, and the aforementioned fourth at MRLS after starting third. In order to boost his point lead, Foster, sharing the No. 55 Supercuts/Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT with Canadian Scott Maxwell, will need to keep Nastasi and co-driver Terry Borcheller at bay. Maxwell is positioned eighth in the GS standings after missing Round 3 at Iowa. He competed in the other three events.
Nastasi, car owner and co-driver of the No. 5 USG Sheetrock/Ramset Tools Ford Mustang GT, entered last weekend's race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca undefeated in the first three events, two of those coming with co-driver Ian James, and the Daytona opener with Canadian David Empringham. This weekend, Nastasi, of Stamford, Conn. and the only driver from host state, and the Blackforest Motorsports team welcomes Borcheller, the 2003 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Daytona Prototype champion as the co-driver. Borcheller also owns two other Rolex Series titles and last won a KONI Challenge GS race in 2004, when he scored four victories.
No. 37 JBS Motorsports Trumansburg ShurSave Mustang GT co-drivers James Gue and Bret Seafuse also are hoping for their first victory of the season and a jump in the point standings, as they are tied for third. With three straight top 10s, the drivers are coming off a seventh-place finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
No. 09 Automatic Racing Fresh From Florida/Imported Car Stone BMW M3 drivers Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal ran among the leaders at MRLS and were rewarded with a fifth-place finish, their third top five in four races this season. Thornton and Segal, who each call Florida home, are tied for fifth in the standings.
Holding sole possession of seventh, eighth and ninth are three drivers from three different teams. Craig Stanton, who nearly won the GT class race at Laguna Seca before a late pit stop put him out of contention for the win, is seventh in the GS standings with 81 points. He is the only confirmed entry thus far for the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Performance Drink Nissan 350Z.
Maxwell is one point behind Stanton in eighth, and is seven ahead of ninth-place James. While Maxwell is entered to drive with Foster, James, who did not drive at Daytona, was not entered to drive at Lime Rock Park.
Holding a share of 10th in the driver standings are Don Salama and Will Turner in the other Turner Motorsport car. The pair has co-driven the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW3 to a pair of top-10 finishes, with a season-best eighth at Iowa, and started on the pole at Laguna Seca before dropping out of contention for the win and finishing 26th.
The most recent race winners, Spencer Pumpelly and Peter Ludwig, are entered in the No. 49 Marcus Motorsports MAH 720 Property Management/ EVOMS Porsche 997. While Pumpelly has won several Grand-Am races before, it was the first for Ludwig, in his very first KONI Challenge Series race. Increasing Ludwig's chances of going two-for-two is his knowledge for Lime Rock, which he considers a hometown track, as he calls New Paltz, N.Y. home.
The KONI Challenge Street Tuner (ST) class is also scheduled to compete this weekend in a separate event on Saturday, similar to last year's race at Lime Rock Park. Leading the charge are Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson, who own a seven-point margin (118-111) over previous points leaders Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood.
Thomson and Johnson are coming off their second victory of the season Saturday at Laguna Seca, as Johnson led a race-high 32 laps, including the final 27. Thomson kept the No. 76 Kensai Racing compass360.com/Skunk2 Acura TSX out of trouble during his stint, and relied on Johnson to bring the car home in first. The pair also visited Victory Lane in the season opener at Daytona.
Burrows and Hopwood, who co-drive the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i, are tied for third in the current point standings and started on the outside of the front row at Laguna Seca. They also ran among the leaders early before dropping out of the top five in the waning laps. The pair is still looking for its first victory after two podiums and finishes in all four of the contested races this season.
Jose Armengal and Dan Allen--co-driving the No. 69 SpeedSource Mondial Forwarding/Freedom Harley-Davidson Mazda MX-8--are quietly positioned tied for fifth in the standings with 90 points after a 14th-place finish at Laguna Seca. Their best finish was fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March.
Filling out the remainder of the top 11 in the points are Nick Wittmer, who is seventh in the standings, with No. 31 i-MOTO Racing Acura/Cobalt Friction co-driver Glenn Bocchino, who sits in a three-way tie for ninth in the standings. Eighth is No. 127 Fountain Motorsports BMW 330i co-driver Guy Cosmo, who is sharing the cockpit this weekend with David Tuaty. No. 58 BSI Racing MOMO/Joe Gibbs Mazda MX-5 co-drivers Justin Hall and Magnus Karlsson are also tied for ninth with Bocchino.
Practice for the KONI Challenge Series gets underway at 10:45 a.m. ET on Friday for the ST series, whereas the GS takes to the track at 11:45 a.m. Qualifying for the ST series is scheduled for noon Saturday, following the GS Series qualifying session at 11:15 a.m. The 163-lap, two-and-a-half hour ST race kicks off at 2:15 p.m. Saturday, and the 163-lap, two-and-a-half hour GS race is slated for a 10 a.m. start Monday.
SPEED will provide television coverage for a GS race at Lime Rock Park on tape delay, set to air at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 10. Live coverage from throughout the weekend, including audio webcasts and Live Timing & Scoring is also available on the official web site of Grand-Am, www.grand-am.com.