Curran and Holtom Extend Street Tuner Points Lead with Grand-Am Cup Race Victory at Lime Rock LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 27, 2006) -- Eric Curran and Jamie Holtom scored their class-leading third victory--and fifth top-four finish--of the 2006...
Curran and Holtom Extend Street Tuner Points Lead with Grand-Am Cup Race Victory at Lime Rock
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 27, 2006) -- Eric Curran and Jamie Holtom scored their class-leading third victory--and fifth top-four finish--of the 2006 season Saturday, scoring the Street Tuner race victory in Round 5 of the 2006 Grand-Am Cup Series at historic Lime Rock Park in the No. 01 Clearscada/GM Performance Division Chevrolet Cobalt.
Curran took control from Holtom during a green flag pit stop near the race's midpoint, and after the field completed their stops in the subsequent laps, the No. 01 machine came out in the lead. The Massachusetts native led the rest of the way, holding off a hard-charging Will Turner in the polesitting No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i.
"It's been a good year," Curran said. "This GM Performance Cobalt was awesome today. What it really came down to was an extremely fast pit stop. The handling in this Cobalt was unbelievable. We didn't quite have the power we needed for here, but the handling was great. These guys are just awesome. We're leading the championship, we've won three races, Lime Rock Park is my home track, it just couldn't get any better."
Holtom qualified the No. 01 Cobalt eighth on the grid earlier in the day, but quickly picked off positions during his opening stint in the stand alone ST race, eventually leading a lap before heading down pit road. With the win, Holtom and Curran extended their lead in the Street Tuner point standings, and now lead by 27 points over Turner and teammate Don Salama (163-136).
"I can't say enough for my team," Holtom said. "Georgian Bay Motorsports has done an awesome job with help from GM Performance Division. The car has been awesome all year and the strategy was perfect today. It's been a great year. I had a great start and went from eighth to fourth in the first corner. We were able to make a train and battle really hard and clean. Once cars started falling off a little bit, we were able to maintain our pace. We won this race in the pits."
The No. 01 duo has not finished lower than fourth in five races in 2006, winning back-to-back races in Round 2 at Virginia International Raceway and Round 3 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The tandem scored a fourth-place class finish in the season-opening race at Daytona International Raceway and finished third two weeks ago in the Avondale Mazda ST 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
With the runner-up finish, Turner and Salama scored their second podium finish of the year. The No. 95 machine finished third in Round 1 at Daytona and has not finished lower than 11th this year. Polesitter Salama led throughout his opening stint, giving way to Turner just before the race's second--and last--full-course caution period. The No. 95 machine made its stop one lap before the No. 01 machine, and when each stop was complete, the No. 01 Cobalt came out just in front of the Turner machine.
"Normally, when we come back to Lime Rock, we have a 'home track' advantage, but unfortunately there were a lot of guys with a home track advantage here," Turner said. "Turner Motorsport is good here and it all came down to the last 20 laps. It was a great race and it's how it should always be. This track is extremely hard to pass on if cars are equal. Over a lap, our cars were pretty equal. The BMW was faster in some places and the Cobalt was faster in other places. To make a pass here with cars that are pretty equal often involves contact going into Turn 1, and Grand-Am is kind of stepping away from contact these days."
"As predicted, the BMW was very strong here in the early part of the race but slowed down as the tires went off," added Salama. The Cobalt is about 400 pounds lighter than our car and that makes a huge difference. It was a good race and really good result for us."
Brothers Hugh and Matt Plumb scored their second-straight podium finishes with a third place result at Lime Rock in the No. 27 Southern Auto Auction Acura RSX-S for Bill Fenton Motorsports. Hugh Plumb started the machine third, but an incident on the first lap left the machine off-course and off the pace. The team rebounded, however, and the duo fought back to a hard-earned third place result. The duo finished second at Phoenix last time out.
Scott Schlesinger and Ken Dobson charged from a 19th place starting position to finish fourth in the No. 68 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8, and teammates Sylvain Tremblay and defending ST champion David Haskell rounded out the top five in the No. 70 SpeedSource RX-8.
SNYDER SECURES POLE FOR GRAND-AM CUP GS 200
Todd Snyder turned a lap at 58.954 seconds (93.429 mph) in the No. 90 Automatic Racing BMW M3 to claim the pole position for Monday's Grand-Am Cup Grand Sport (GS) 200 at Lime Rock Park. Snyder, a former Barber Dodge Pro Series champion with considerable knowledge of Lime Rock Park, is sharing the No. 90 machine this weekend at Jeff Segal.
"The first few races of the season it seemed that the Porsche package had the advantage," said Snyder. "But at a short track with fast corners like Lime Rock, these BMWs are great. With 45 cars out there, it was tough to get a clean lap, but I was fortunate to find one early. When I was asked if I could make the race, I knew that this BMW would be a great car on this track, so I'm definitely looking forward to Monday."
"These split races call for a completely different strategy," Segal added. "There's a good chance that I will be getting in the car under green flag conditions, which emphasizes pit strategy. It's going to be a tough race out there because of the strong field, but Todd put us in a good position."
Jeff McMillin put the No. 14 Martinelli Motorsports BMW M3 on the outside of the front row with a lap at 59.200 sec. (93.014 mph). McMillin is co-driving with local favorite Jason Martinelli from Woodbury, Conn., and the duo heads into Monday's race looking for their first victory of the season.
"The car is fantastic," McMillin said. "After our incident at Virginia, we weren't sure when we could get it back on track, but it has come back nicely. Even though we may be a little heavier than some of the cars out there, the handling on this car is great. The BMWs should be real good out there, and hopefully we can hold off those quick Porsches."
GS points co-leader Andy Lally qualified third in the No. 49 Marcus Motorsports Porsche 997 with a lap at 59.252 sec. (92.959 mph). Lally shares the car and the points lead with Spencer Pumpelly.
Stu Hayner put the No. 51 Stealth Racing Ford Mustang GT that he shares with Mike Miller and Pete Halsmer on the outside of Row 2 with a best qualifying lap of 59.332 sec. (92.834 mph). Mark Plummer, who started from the pole position for each of the last two races, rounded out the top five with a lap at 59.437 sec. (92.670 mph) in the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Carrera. Plummer's co-driver is Craig Stanton.